From nightlife to natural beauty: This is what Notts students love most about the city

It’s not just the nightlife that Notts has to offer

Nottingham is a home from home for thousands of students at both UoN and Trent but, beyond the legend of Robin Hood, many haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the charm of this historic city. Both current and former alumni have their own personal opinions on what makes the city thrive and why it is so endearing.

We reached out to the students of Nottingham, past and present, to find out what they love most about the city that we call home. So, after gathering their insights on the City of Caves, here are some of the things that they cherish most about this midlands gem.


When first arriving in Nottingham, it’s safe to say that you are bombarded with an endless number of establishments where you can spend your evenings and early mornings. With a vast array of nightclubs, pubs, and bars, there is something for everyone. Guilty of loving a DnB remix of Firework by Katy Perry? Head to a Crisis Wednesday. Or if you want to dress up as a ketchup bottle and sing your heart out to ABBA, join a bar crawl and slowly trundle down to Ocean Friday.

For those who went to Boomtown in summer and now think Bru-C is the epitome of underground music, Stealth provides that much needed oontz oontz music to distract you from that 2,000 word coursework that’s due on Monday. Whatever your preference, Notts provides plenty of great options for students wanting to let their hair down and nothing proves it more than the unending McDonald’s queue at 5am.

Gigs and concerts

Legends and popular artists of today have all had the limelight in Nottingham’s greatest venues. With Rock City historically securing some of the largest names in the rock music genre such as David Bowie, Oasis, and Iron Maiden, it’s no surprise why so many music lovers flock to Nottingham. Similar to the nightlife, there is great diversity in who and what’s being played across the city. Other spots include the Motorpoint Arena, hosting the likes of Ice Cube and Ed Sheeran. Students gather in their thousands, highlighting Nottingham’s vibrant live music scene though it largely remains underrated by those living outside the city. Notts students love it, and with big names like these, it’s not hard to understand why.

Sporting calibre

UoN and NTU both excel in individual and team events, with the UoN named Sports University of the Year by the Sunday Times in 2024. However, it is not just the universities that provide sporting entertainment. It might be fun to watch your mate concede five while in goal for Ancaster Hall FC, but nothing compares to what the rest of Notts has to offer.

You could be 20 metres away from Pep Guardiola, or Chris Wood, as you eagerly observe Nottingham Forest FC’s attempts at staying in the Premier League. Walk 100 metres towards Meadow Lane, and watch the oldest football club in the world, Notts County. If football is not your thing and you prefer sports from across the pond, the Motorpoint Arena is the home of the Nottingham Panthers, one of the largest ice hockey teams in the country. Whatever swings your racket, it’s clear that Nottingham has firmly entrenched itself as a sporting city.

Surrounding beauty

Every student in Nottingham should be aware of the city’s fantastic natural features. It’s always nice to touch grass, especially when living in a concrete jungle like Notts. Firm favourites include Wollaton Park, where keen observers will notice the grand manor house situated on the estate once featured in a relatively underground arthouse film called “The Dark Knight Rises”. Additionally, it’s a top date spot, perfect for a picnic and watching deer frolic in the grass.

Alternatively, if you fancy a day trip, pack the car up and head to the Peak District. Yes, it’s closer to Manchester, but it’s still a popular destination for Notts students and it’s well worth the drive, boasting spectacular views and a well-earned respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Notts is also home to the largest network of caves in the UK, earning it the fitting nickname: the ‘City of Caves’. There are 800 of them hidden under the streets, so if you’re looking to hide from the Tinder match you ghosted, there’s a decent shout. Although not widely recognised as an area of outstanding beauty, those who have lived here know why Notts is adored for its scenery.


Boring, but essential. Those who lived in halls like Dagfa, Broadgate, and Cavendish will have experienced the ecstasy of boarding the tram following pres or the convenience if you want to nip to the big Tesco. At a quarter of the price of an Uber, trams are a fundamental part of Nottingham. Speaking of Ubers, if you come from a tiny village where a bus comes once every hour, Nottingham will shock and amaze you. Ubers and Bolts aren’t exclusive to Notts, but students still love the ability to tap your screen three times and a car will arrive in less than five minutes, taking you wherever you need to go. Those from London may take this for granted, but not rural villagers.

There is an airport 27 minutes away by car, perfect for any international students who fancy popping home to say hi to their parents. Coupled with punctual and reliable buses, transport certainly makes living in Nottingham that much better and so much more accessible. One word of advice, however: the £70 fine for fare dodging is not worth it, especially if you’re only trying to go from University Boulevard to Nottingham Station.

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