10 Things you need to know before moving to Smithdown

A guide to making the most out of living in Liverpool’s best student area

It’s the time of year where us old final-year students start seeing fresh faces walking around Smithdown. Younger, more optimistic, definitely healthier (give it a year) and you just think aww. These fresh-faces probably don’t know the do’s and don’ts of living in Smithdown, so we’ve grouped together the top things you should know before you venture around this magestical location.

Smithdown is notorious for its iconic pubs, lively student atmosphere and the infamous, annual Smithdown Road Festival, but there are definitely a few things to remember if you want to make the most out of living as a student on Smithdown.

Aldi is way cheaper than Asda 

Living in Smithdown means that you have the option of doing your weekly shop at either, Tesco, ASDA, or Aldi. You’re a student, trust me when I tell you not to blow your money on a weekly shop at ASDA. The likelihood is that you’re not a Fresher,  so you should’ve learnt from your cash-burning mistakes by now! Save yourself the regret of spending £60 on one shop, when you can get all you need and some boss deals on alcohol, across the road in the holy land that is Aldi. I won’t even mention Tesco, don’t even think about it.

Treat yourself to breakfast at The Tavern

The Tavern is located a little further along Smithdown, towards Allerton Road and Penny Lane, but absolutely worth the walk to burn off all the calories you will inevitably consume eating their to-die-for pancakes and their full English. It’s a staple to Liverpool and you have to go at least once, whether it be for the perfect brunch first date, a house group breakfast, or a cute brunch trip, and it’s the perfect Insta spot for you and the girls. I recommend their American breakfast, or just keep it simple and go for a full English.  Avoid Sunday if you don’t want to wait too long for a table, and if you pick a midweek day you’ll almost certainly get seated right away. Don’t be tempted if you see it on UberEats or Deliveroo! It’s way more yummy in person.

Get to the Brookhouse for a Monday quiz

There’s nothing better than the Monday quiz at arguably Liverpool’s best student pub. It’s lively, cheap to enter, decent priced drinks and a great night out if you want to do something a little more low-key and quiet with your house. With COVID -19 restrictions, you can only go in groups of six and will unfortunately have to be out by 10 pm, but that could change. If you want a table, book in advance or get there way earlier than the start time of the quiz, otherwise you won’t be getting in.

The 86 isn’t the only bus

Chances are, your closest bus route will be the 86 or the 699.  However, if you live a little closer to the Picton Road end of Smithdown, then you can also take nearly any of the buses that go along Picton Road such as, the 79 or 7. These buses will take you just as close to uni, and stop right outside the Harold Cohen library. If you live anywhere along Wellington Road, you can also get the 204 to Liverpool One, but it doesn’t stop anywhere near uni and only comes once per hour, not your best bet!

Don’t be alarmed by the birds (not girls)

You might notice that when you’re walking along to a bus stop one morning, there’s a horror movie-like amount of birds flying around and circling the skies above the Wavertree area. Don’t be scared, you haven’t woken up in a Hitchcock film, it’s okay. There’s a little old woman off of one of the streets on Welly Road who for some reason likes to feed the birds. She comes out every morning and attracts HUNDREDS of them, and I’m not being OTT here. It’s pretty scary, and if you disturb the birds, drive near them or her, she’ll be sure to send a shake of her fist and a royal telling off your way.

Alpha taxies are cheaper than Uber

Uber is great, we all use it, but chances are living a little further outside of the city centre now, you’ll be using a lot more taxis than you did as a Fresher. I highly recommend installing the Alpha app. First of all, Alpha is cheaper; there are no surge charges, less fees, and generally cheaper than Uber. Second, you’re an honorary Scouser now, so support local. Alpha is a Liverpool cab company and has been going for years. Third, there’s way more Alpha’s in the Wavertree area than there are Uber’s, and you can still do all of the things that you do with Uber, like tracking your driver, paying by card (although cash is available too), and getting a description, rating and name of your driver before you get into the car.

Don’t miss Smithdown Road Festival

It is really touch and go if Smithdown Fest will go ahead because of COVID, but if it does, it’s nothing something you want to stay in bed and miss. Local music, food stalls, little shops that sell handmade goods including jewellery and prints. It’s an adorable market and festival, the whole road is usually closed off for it and it’s just such an incredible staple event for the area. It’s a chance to be neighbourly, support local business and who knows? Really cute place to meet the love of your life.

Your new best friend

There’s a homeless dude who sits outside of Tesco, ASDA, and Aldi. He’s super sweet, very friendly, and has some funny stories. He’ll be your new best mate, so don’t ignore him, and after student loan day, pass him over a quid or two. You’re in Liverpool now guys, we like charitable giving, and we talk to people instead of ignoring them. Not just this guy either, he’s one of many people along Smithdown that you might label as ‘weird’, but a smile and a hello can go a long way, don’t be freaked out by the sketchy reputation of Smithdown, most people are super friendly.

Expect drama

Smithdown, whilst mostly a great place, is no stranger to sirens. This year alone we’ve had the streets and roads outside of our house taped off to catch a dude running around trying to hide his gun from his missus. On another day we saw fire engines and ambulances when a rookie student left a candle burning in her room and set her student house alight. There’s always something going on, always sirens going off and blue lights blaring, so do yourselves a favour and invest in some ear plugs and an eye mask if you’re used to a quiet night’s sleep.

Name your rats

No, I’m not talking about your snakey mates or the housemate who leaves their dishes out for 2 days. I’m talking about the real-life rats. You live in a city now, you will see them. Try not to freak out, they won’t bite your head off. Name them, let them out of your back gate if they get stuck and if they’re that much of a problem, keep your bins closed and don’t leave any food outside. 

So there it is, shop cheap, eat pancakes and name your rats. Smithdown Road is never a boring place to live. It’s hilarious, unexpected and full of opportunities for you to live your best student life. So wear a mask, wash your hands, have a pint at the Brookie, and enjoy the best years of your life!

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