Blog post

Derby: Student life in the city

Derby is the city where you can have it all - you just need to know where to look. Here's a quick run-through of some of our students' favourite destinations.

By Ryan O'Riordan - 24 January 2019

Culture lover

The arts scene offers lots of contrast, between the QUAD visual arts centre, Déda (Derby Dance), celebrating all things dancing and incorporating different cultures, and our own Derby Theatre - with reduced tickets for students and a mix of our own shows, independent productions, and national tours, you'll find something to pique your interest. Watch the streets come alive for the spectacle of Derby Festé and Format photography festival.

You'll find a rich tapestry of culture in Derby - our museum is a good place to start, including the signature exhibitions on Derby's premier Enlightenment painter, Joseph Wright. Another exhibit shows how the World Wars affected us, and the newest addition includes artefacts that have been donated to the city from around the world.

Our heritage is something to pay attention to as well - for the more casual observer, we've got some of England's oldest watering holes in the city, including The Abbey and The Dolphin (15th and 16th century respectively). Stately home admirers have a lot to get excited by in Chatsworth House and Kedleston Hall.

Adrenaline Junkie

If you're looking to get your pulse racing, there are a range of local facilities to keep you moving. Derby Arena is the home of a cycling velodrome, there's a BMX track at Alvaston, and a high ropes course in Markeaton Park. High octane motorsport experiences can be found at Donnington Park.

If the great outdoors calls you, you can venture into the Peak District, mountain biking at Curbar Edge, and water sports at Carsington Water.

Climbers love the Peak District, Burbage and Black Rock for their naturally formed rock problems. But if the winter months put you off, there's two extensive climbing centres back in the city too.

Sports Fanatic

Sport brings the people of Derby together unlike anything else. From football at Pride Park to cricket at the Derbyshire Country Cricket Club, matches show the city's passionate fans.

For those that prefer to be involved, your first port of call should be looking at the Team Derby sports operated in conjunction with the Union of Students. There's badminton, basketball, cycling and volleyball performance programmes which aspire to attract and retain student athletes.

On a more casual basis, Willows and DW in the city offer casual - or competitive - five-aside football.

Gig Goer

Music is a constant source of enjoyment in Derby. Tribute bands from the 80s and 90s frequently play at The Flowerpot and The Venue, which is the best venue for your mid-tier pop, indie or rock bands.

Beyond that, Derby Arena hosts national tours for comedians and entertainment acts, and in recent years the Derbyshire County Cricket Club has hosted massive open air concerts in the summer for acts such as Little Mix, Boyzone, and Elton John.

Night Owl

Derby sets you up for a friendly, energetic night out with a good selection of venues all found in a compact area.

Student nights live on at Walkabout and Moo Moo. Popworld and Flares offer the full cheese board of chart hits, whilst Mosh is perfect for rock fans.

We've got some fantastic bars, all with their own takes on cocktails and craft beers. Sadler Gate gives you a great starting point, with Bunk, Junk, The Brooklyn Social and The Dog and Moon all nearby.

Serenity seeker

If a laid back approach to life is your aim, there's plenty of places and spaces to achieve this. From the luscious greens of Darley and Markeaton parks to a spot of shopping in the independent boutiques of Sadler Gate, you can fill your time in peaceful, expansive environments.

Look for your ideal vantage point at places like Mercia Marina, or from a cable car at Matlock Bath. Venture out into the Peak District to jump across the stepping stones at Dovedale.

There's a fantastic selection of coffee shops like The Book Café, BEAR and Bean, so whether you're working or relaxing, you'll find the right spot for you to get some peace.

Find out more about student life in Derby

About the author

Ryan O'Riordan
Campaigns Assistant

Campaigns Assistant at the University of Derby, responsible for creating helpful and innovative content across our websites, blogs and social media channels.