I took the bus to Notts’ Sutton Bonington campus to find out what was really there

Honestly, it wasn’t worth the visit


In a hidden enclave on the Leicestershire border lies an unexplored universe. Shrouded in mystery, it’s a 420 hectares site that houses the most forgotten students of the University of Nottingham community. They call it Sutton Bonington.

Known as SB by those who have heard of the place, Sutton Bonington can be accessed by students via a free hopper bus from Uni Park. But what is really there and is it worth visiting? I went there to find out and here’s what I found:

They have a rainbow cow statue

On the parched Sunday afternoon of April 3rd, I decided to embark on a journey of a lifetime to Sutton Bonington. After a 40 minute ride, the quiet bus from Uni Park arrived in a solemn B&Q-esque car park.

For my first stop, I decided to canter to the closest thing to modern civilisation that I could see on campus: a big brick building with even bigger windows. Apparently, they call it ‘The Barn’.

Upon entry, you’re greeted by a ton of steps and a long corridor. At the top of these steps, behind a mystic door, a rainbow cow statue sits inside a big hall.

Basically no one was there

Either everyone was intimidated by my ravishing presence and hid, or no one was about. The sheer size of the accommodation blocks seem rather excessive for the obvious lack of people there.

A collection of bikes dotted around campus serve as a reminder that people actually do live and study here, though I have no idea where they were.

You can’t feed the horses

Famously, Sutton Bonington is full of animals and round the back of the accommodation I found a luxury getaway with a couple of jazzy horses. Why are they kept here of all places? I have no idea.

But one bold green sign exclaimed that you shouldn’t feed them, so I submissively followed its instruction and went on to find some sheep nearby. It’s a bit disappointing to say the least.

The main building on campus is called ‘Main Building’

What a creative name for a building, I had to pay a visit. Inside, I stumbled into an empty mini-theatre. I guess they put on plays?

On one desk lied two half-drunk cups of orange squash. There really wasn’t much to see.

There’s an empty café

My “pride to be local” and desire to enter a café were reignited when I came across a wonderful building with a Costcutter sign on it. But as I walked through the automatic doors, I realised I was the only person in there apart from the server at the till. It was a far cry from the exciting hustle and bustle of Portland Coffee.

So, would I recommend a trip to Sutton Bonington to others? Frankly, no. But if you’re bored on a random afternoon then why not take a spontaneous visit to the middle of nowhere. Maybe rainbow-coloured animals are your cup of tea. Or yet, you could fuel your quirky fascination with real animals, and see clusters of empty and unused things everywhere you look.

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