I went on a night out at almost every single uni in the country and this is what I have discovered
Discovery number one: Falmouth isn’t boring!!!
There's always a lot of bullshit circling as to which uni city has the best nightlife. Some claim it's Liverpool, some say it's Manchester. Other will tell you "mate, hands down it's Bristol!!!"
But question: Has anyone actually taken the liberty to go and find the answer to this age-old question as to which uni city has the best nightlife?
Well that person is me. In my own time, I went from city to city, across UK boarders from the depths of Cornwall to the heights of St Andrews, in the quest for the best sesh. Over a duration of 34 days, multiple tequila slammers were drank, hours of my life wasted in club queues, and precious time gone chatting to uni boys in smoking areas.
But that's okay – it was worth it – because I can now relay back to the British public which one of our fine cities hosts the best night life.
Day 1: Cambridge
Unless you want to be in bed by 1am and have the names of 10 post-romantic popes under your belt before you can say chips cheese and gravy, I wouldn’t bother.
Day 3: Royal Holloway
Going out in Egham isn't so much of a night out, but instead a lovely evening in a pub. Good food, nice people and pretty reasonably priced drinks – you can’t complain. These students may not have the most exciting time, but they love getting pissed, having some shisha and talking the night away. You might even bump into the Humans vs Zombies society if you’re lucky.
Day 5: Nottingham
Nottingham’s reputation for being middle of the road reaches you before you get there and follows you after you’ve left. Perhaps that’s because a spontaneous night out in Notts is nigh-on impossible. With the council cracking down on house parties and tickets needing to be arranged months before the actual night out, a night at the pub is no bad thing, but sometimes involuntary.
Day 7: Glasgow
If you enjoy the smell of B.O. and want to hear Calvin Harris’ discography in full, then a night out in Glasgow is for you! Expect to get so shitfaced off Dragon Soop, you won’t realise you’ve heard 'Bounce' twice. Luckily everyone here is up for the craic, so even if you pour a full pint of Strawberry and Lime Soop over someone whilst moshing to 'We Found Love', it’s all fun and games.
Day 8: St Andrews
It’s not all balls and princes at St Andrews. Once in a blue moon, the Saints become Sinners and the SU becomes the playground for literally everyone in this town. Sink a few pablos before you crawl into the main room donning an exclusive wristband and you then find yourself in a glorified school disco.
But the strange thing is, everyone is just really, really happy to be here, so it’s hard to not join in. There are large screens on the walls showing a PowerPoint loop of about 10 photos of the sports teams. The pride at uni is unprecedented.
Day 9: Edinburgh
The people in Edinburgh are like a collection of all the ‘cool’ people from your school all piled into one city. They’re all slightly self-aware, gazing around the room for another BNOC which fits the bill of their clique.
That’s until they’ve downed the free bottles of vodka (house, not the expensive stuff), down their wee gullets and they’re all over shop with limbs flying everywhere. Their mask of mystery goes and they come back down a few notches to your standard uni night out – still with a minor sprinkling of pretentiousness.
Day 10: Liverpool
A night out in Liverpool is a true delight. Everyone's dressed up in River Island and Missguided dresses and heels, everyone's tanned, has had their hair done especially for the night because who knows who you're going to see in Level. Drinking cocktails in Concert Square genuinely feels like being in a piazza in Rome – when actually you're in Merseyside in sub arctic temperatures. But matters not, because the electric heaters radiate off everyone's already tanned faces, making it feel like you're on your holibobs.
Day 12: Southampton
Booth at Ocies? Don’t mind if I do! Soton students know how to get down and boogie. I had to tap out a lot earlier than the rest when the free vodka was a bit too much, but not for the real troopers. How they all manage to find their way around this giant maze of a club when pissed is totally beyond me.
Day 13: Cardiff
The long and short of a typical Cardiff night out is as follows: Do a big Lidl shop then go to a night with £1 VK. These are things Cardiff gets mocked for, but you know what? Everyone was having a bloody great time, and that’s about all there is to say.
Day 16: London
Going out in London is difficult, there’s too much choice and it’s all too expensive. But if you're with the right people, they'll know the best (and cheapest).The Knight’s Templar – a Spoons – was the chosen drinking hole for the night. It had toilets like the ones at Hogwarts and a round of shots didn’t bankrupt me. Then we hit up a club called Roxy, where the drinks were outrageously cheap and the tunes were spot on. Going out in central London has never been such good value.
Day 17: Bournemouth
Bournemouth resonates images of retired 65-year-olds going on a coach trip to the sunny seaside, tucking in to Harry Ramsden’s before getting their head down.
But people who only see Bournemouth as being this clearly haven’t set foot in Revs. There are drink price drops advertised on the screens, leading to a scene of similar to a herd of wildebeests sprinting across the Serengeti. But in Revs they’re not running for the water, but for cheap, discounted double voddies and VK. Alongside this, there is a kinda smorgasbord with about 100 different shots on which is paraded around, and if you limbo underneath the shot-stick you take a free shot – pure genius.
Day 19: Brighton
Sussex students start their day drinking weird spirits like Chartreuse in a campus bar, with everyone complaining about how much they’ll miss East Slope (a halls of residence) when it gets knocked down. Stockholm Syndrome if ever it was.
A Brighton pub crawl will lead you to some interesting establishments, such as one giving a free beer in exchange for a lemon, and a basement in a bar called Casablancas where a band played cheesy classics with added brass.
As sure as every night starts the same way, so they must end the same way: Trying to endure the sea breeze as chips are wolfed down, then battling to stay awake on the bus back.
Day 21: Durham
Everyone slates Durham as a boring uni. Yes, I did go to a pub where you could get kicked out for swearing (it's a Sammy Smith's), but more importantly, I rarely went above the £2.50 mark for a pint.
In a place where there are no big nights, every night becomes a big night, trotting between college bars. I had a drink called, I think, Watergate? Canongate? Funnily enough, I can’t remember what it was called, but it was just a red VK and some vodka so that probably stands to reason.
Day 22: Leeds
Ask anyone from Leeds what a night out there is like and they’ll tell you it's super edgy, super vibes, super cool. Trust them, they’re cool and have loads of cool fun.
Which might be true. But there’s plenty of cheese to go round, and it’s obvious Leeds students go as hard in Popworld and Pryzm as they do anywhere else. All this, despite insisting nobody ever goes out before 1am.
Day 23: Sheffield
Going out in Sheffield is basically the same as going to a Year 6 school disco, except everyone’s pissed and necking each other. Even the drinks sound like their catered for an 11-year-old's party: Choco Milko, Mangotastic, Choccy Biccy Shot – these Blue Peter drinks genuinely have alcohol in, and taste delicious! Like a child’s party, you don’t go home empty handed. Instead of a goodie bag, you leave with a belly full of curry thanks to an Indian restaurant called Balti King being open until 5am – the pièce de résistance to a clean, fun night out.
Day 25: Bristol
There’s a clear 50/50 split between the two rival universities on a night out in Bristol. On one side, you have someone smoking a cigar saying “God I wish these were Cubans”, and the other side someone’s licking left-over tobacco off the table to rescue their rollie.
But matters not, because when this hybrid of cultures come together it’s a dream match of awkward nerds and mental students who care more about where they're getting their next key from rather than their degree. Exclusively playing disco and house music in Briz, everyone’s a bit off it and wearing the glitter and flares to match. If you’re not in a fleece or dirty Air Max, you’ll feel a little left out.
Day 26: Norwich
Being in the arse-end of nowhere, expectations for a BNO in Norwich were sub-par. Known for little more than Alan Partridge and being a boring flat landscape, surprisingly Norwich pulled it out the bag as being an underdog of a proper British night out. Everyone’s got a slight screw loose – I mean you would have to to genuinely want to study in Norfolk – and dresses slightly strangely, but somehow you wake up with a steaming hangover which could slay a walrus.
Day 27: Exeter
Timepiece – need I say more? It is full at 9.30pm, when most normal clubs aren’t even open yet. Everyone’s sinking VK and singing 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' in the smoking area like the posh Tory English folk they all are.
Most are in some form of costume, a few are even in their sports kit from their match that day. Hygiene leaves little to be desired. With three floors of all-nightlong bangers, and the best smoking area I’ve ever seen, this is not a night to be missed.
Day 29: Manchester
A night out in Manchester's student area, Fallowfield, consisted of: going to a bar called Squirrels for pints under £2, a place called Cubo for a proper boogie, then travelling from house party to house party. No one wants to stop the fun. Ever.
There’s always another party to be going to, another balloon, another key. People basically only give up and go home when they’ve run out of coke, and this can often be once the sun is very much up.
Day 30: Oxford Brookes
If it’s a bread and butter #unaaaay night out you’re looking for, go no further north than junction 8 on the M40, as an Oxford Brookes night out – not to be confused with a Uni of night out – ticks all the boxes. Chanting, people being fingered on the dancefloor, projectile vomiting and VK are all present here. Bonus points for also having the most impressive smoking area at Bridge nightclub.
Day 32: Falmouth
"Falmouth is so boring", they said. "You’ll never have a good night out in Cornwall", they said. Well you know what? They were wrong. Falmouth is fucking classic. The one club in the town wasn’t actually open when I was there, but who needs that when you can head to a place called Games Room for some ping pong and then another bar called Toast after! Toast was the best bar I’ve ever been to, mainly for all the ABBA and meeting a bartended who is Judy Murray’s doppelganger.
But the night won’t end here, Falmouth students never say no to a good time. You’ll end up back at someone’s house chatting shit until sunrise, and you’ll never want to leave.
Day 34: Newcastle
Okay so rumour had it everyone in Newcastle was genetically made in a petri-dish where they were synthetically created to have perfect genes, blonde hair and nice winter jackets. On entry to a bar called Osbornes (where you press a buzzer to get a discount off your drink!!) the rumours became fact.
Other rumours flying around also suggested Newcastle was the best night out in the UK – another Chinese whisper which turned out to be completely true. Not only is everyone fit, but a bloody good laugh. They know the exact remedy for a perfect night out: pres, trebles bar, club. Most people are on something, and there’s the odd knobhead who still doesn’t know how much MD to take, but overall you leave Newcastle with a smile on your face and a palpitating heart – perfection.