Blog post

A few of my favourite things to do in Derby

Student Thomas Berrington takes a look at his favourite spots in Derby for socialising, having fun and grabbing a bit of culture.

By Thomas Berrington - 6 February 2020

Compact package

The city of Derby may not be the biggest in comparison to other cities in the area. However, its compact nature allows the local community to be way more active around Christmas and other holidays with Derby Feste and the turning on of the Christmas lights.

When you're in the city centre, you are in walking distance to every available shop, bar or club that you would ever need. A quick train or bus journey to Coventry or Manchester allows you to access those larger, more well-known clubs with little extra effort.

Student life

I spent my first year in halls, living with five other students. A couple of months in, a few of us agreed that we would like to live together the year after so we moved into a private four-bedroom house for our second year.

Derby is full of surprises, so I thought I could share my top five favourite spots with you.

1. Mosh
A three-floor nightclub near the city centre, Mosh is Derby's number-one alternative nightclub. It hosts great nights of indie and alternative music each week on Monday, Friday, and Saturday. Every week, they put on an amazing night for the students of the University of Derby to "rock their socks off".

2. intu Derby shopping centre
Offering everything you could possibly need, from mainstream to indie fashion brands, make-up and costumes, as well as a few bonus features such as a spacious cinema, a bowling alley, mini golf and Derby's own famed Christmas ice bar, Glacier.

Add a bit of culture to your afternoon at the QUAD, a charity and cultural hub in the heart of Derby. See independent exhibitions, workshops, galleries and cinema showings for incredibly cheap prices as it offers student discounts. Opportunities include sketching, sewing, writing, talks and the fortnightly film club.

4. Bunk
Good food, great atmosphere and perfect Insta pics. The alternative neon lighting makes the place feel pleasingly colourful while also relaxingly chic.

5. Popworld
Back to the good old days when hair was high and shoes were shiny. With the cheesiest of music going back to the 80s, you'll always have a boogie and a laugh at Popworld, especially if you go to one of their famed events whether it be the ball, foam or mask parties.

The verdict

I have to say, personally, Mosh is my favourite. There's something incredibly satisfying about screaming the lyrics to Feed Em To The Lions with everyone while wobbling about the place like a jelly.

Some people say Derby isn't much of a partying city and to them I say "nay". Derby has numerous nightclubs on offer, ranging from big club anthems in MooMoos to commercial RnB in the Living Lounge. The events and offers add a touch of personality to each club and exploring to find your favourite is always a treat.

Making memories

I get to create so many new memories living in Derby. Over the festive period, me and a few friends went to the city centre to celebrate the lights being turned on for Christmas. On the way, stores were set up selling street food, Christmas souvenirs and toys, along with giant lumbering Christmas mascots exciting the children.

At the stage in the city centre there were a few acts on, including a local school coming out to sing a couple Christmas hymns, a large boy-band, Santa himself and the Mayor. It started to rain and everyone rushed into the local Wetherspoons. There was a nice community feel to the whole event and had been the first time in my whole life where I actually felt like I was part of a community.

My friends are usually already involved with events around town. Popping to the gym with Brad, watching Charlotte's new play at Derby Theatre or joining Georgia at QUAD for a sketching lesson always brightens my day as I see people genuinely interested and involved in the events going on around town.

The freedom of being a student

Becoming a university student is the most independent and liberating thing I have ever done. At school, I felt trapped, at college I felt bored, at uni I'm opened to do the things I have always wanted to do while also being able to learn what I want to learn.

I have completed two paid internships, learned how to play the piano, started programming my own 2D video game, learned how to draw and made friends with people that I would have never expected to be friends with just a couple years earlier, all with keeping to my target grade.

Derby is a modern and interesting city with plenty of things to do. If you are thinking of coming to Derby, visit the city and fall in love with the diversity around you.

About the author

Thomas Berrington
Marketing and Media student at the University of Derby

I am a Marketing and Media student at the University of Derby. I enjoy writing about issues which aim to publicise key topics and stories affecting students, popular culture and local events.