Everything you need to know before coming to UoN that the prospectus won’t tell you

An honest insight into life as a Notts student

When deciding on your future university, it is important to have all the information possible available- this choice will affect where you will be living your life for the next 3 to 5 years, so it is not something to take lightly.

Unfortunately, there are matters that our university prospectus seems to either gloss over or miss out altogether. This is a guide to help fill in those gaps.


Most students will live in catered accommodation in first year and the food is… interesting. Honestly, it can be a bit hit and miss, however, knowing you’ve got hot food waiting at the end of the day, makes your rude lecturer and loud block feel easier to deal with.

The formals throughout the year are actually pretty fun and usually come with free wine. Although, there’s no stranger feeling than taking a good couple hours to get ready, getting your dress/heels/suit on, only to walk maybe 30 seconds to the hall where you have dinner every other night anyway. Usually people use the formals as a posher pres; you’ll often see people running off after dinner to down a homemade pink gin and lemonade and get changed before rushing to get to the club for free entry (because Lord knows no one is going to brave Rock City in a floor-length dress and heels).

Aside from accommodation, University Park is also home to the Portland Building, which serves as ‘Student Mecca’, especially for first years. Not only is it home to the HQ of Student Services, it’s also where everyone gets their lunches, books and coffee-so pretty important. The trick is to, as much as possible, avoid the SPAR meal deal; I’ve never seen it do anyone any good, so stick with Boots.

Portland is also home to Mooch, which is the on campus bar. Normally, this is predominantly populated by first years as it’s a 5 minute walk from their home, and I  don’t blame them. The burgers are good and the pub quizzes even better, so don’t be afraid to use what’s close.

Mooch Bar, found on the ground floor of Portland

‘Student Experience’

Perhaps the biggest omission in the UoN prospectus is that of Nottingham’s nightlife. There are clubs and bars for everyone’s taste. Some of the most popular clubs for students are Ink, Rock City, Bodega, Pryzm and Shapes.

Pryzm is a classic and most people will have been to one in their hometown. The Nottingham one is definitely a fun night and has multiple floors and rooms to cover the basic music types. Ink has a similar vibe to Pryzm (but slightly more flair) in that it has far too many floors, all categorised by what music is played. Ink is grottier than Pryzm, and I say that as the highest of compliments; by being independent, it actually has it’s own personality and attitude, something that a chain like Pryzm can lack.

Bodega is indie central for Nottingham. It has a cool little attic and patio smoking area, perfect staging for hipsters and their self-rolled ciggies to talk about how they’re only playing the ‘boring Smiths songs’.

Safe to say, Rock City has the most popular night out for UoN students. The ‘Crisis’ nights (every Wednesday) are beloved and the tickets usually sell out in minutes, especially for their Halloween/Christmas events. You’re ensured to see pretty much everyone you know at Crisis, which makes it a BNOC’s holy grail.


And you’ll find all sorts at Shapes; the music is eclectic but you’ll always find something to boogie to. Also they often do city-wide events, booking out a few venues, for specific holidays and those are always a laugh as you can hop from place to place.

The cocktail bars are something else. There’s such a huge variety, going from classic, rooftop bar Alto to underground, mysterious Coco Tang and even to just buckets of wings and booze at Bunk. Basically, there’s something for everyone and every occasion in Nottingham’s nightlife, so you’ll have to get cracking ASAP.

However, due to most students living on campus in their first year, it’s likely you won’t get to know the city outside of stumbling towards your Uber at 3 am until second year. First year can definitely feel very centred around time on campus- either in Portland, lectures or just your room, so don’t feel like you’re missing out; you’ll have at least a couple more years to spend time around town.