Blog post

Why students love Derby

Hi! I’m Lauren, a postgrad student at the University of Derby. This is my fifth year at the University, so I wanted to share some of my favourite places in the city for current and future students to hear about. 

By Lauren Marr - 11 January 2023

Why Derby over London?

My favourite thing about Derby is that it is not as busy as other cities. I recently visited London and I felt like I couldn’t move without bumping into someone or feeling worried about my bag. Derby is the opposite. It is a kind and smaller city while still having that big city feeling. We have all the shops, museums, and commodities that you would find in other cities, but here it feels more relaxed. People are less rushed and it gives you time to appreciate the city and just take a breath. 

University can feel quite overwhelming at times so being able to find safe havens and quiet spaces to wind down is essential for me. Derby offers this time and time again. Life just feels that little bit easier when I can sit in a comfy chair with a warm drink and talk to my friends. 

What fun things are there to do for students?

Derby is a fantastic city for students because it has places for everyone. If you want to party, there are clubs and bars such as MOSH, Revolution, and Slug and Lettuce. If you like a cosy drink on comfy chairs there is Café Nero, Starbucks, Costa, and The Book Café. If you prefer more active activities there are beautiful places to walk around such as Markeaton Park, or you can get your heart racing at RollerWorld. 

If you are interested in the heritage and history of Derby, you should check out Derby Museums because they host trails, talks and displays where you can learn about diversity, gender, cultural icons and a number of other interesting topics. The University website  also has lots of fantastic information on how students can explore the city of Derby and make the most of your free time!

A Unibus in Derby City Centre

What is the city like for getting around?

In the city centre there is the main bus station where you can find a bus to get you to a number of places within the city and in the wider East Midlands. There is a direct bus to Nottingham, and National Express coaches if you want to explore even further while you are studying.

My main way of getting around the city is with my car as there are lots of cheaper options for parking such as the NCP car parks around Derbion shopping centre. Some days I don’t want to drive and these are the days where I rely on the University of Derby’s student transport. The U1 bus goes all the way from Kedleston Road site, through town, and to the train station (and it is free to use for students!). If you are based at another campus site, the U2 bus acts as a shuttle bus between each, making it easy for all students to make their way into town for a nice lunch, drink, or (for me) a browse around Waterstones. 

Where would you recommend going for food, drink or leisure?

Derbion has recently welcomed a new coffee shop called 200˚ Coffee. Inside it is cosy and a great place to work on assignments or relax with a book. (I especially love the sofa seats next to the faux fireplace!) Their drinks are also delicious and have a refreshingly small menu so it is easier to find a simple but luxurious coffee. 

Another place I love to visit is, of course, Waterstones. I am a Masters in English student, soon to be an English PGCE student, so I am a big lover of books. The Waterstones here in Derby is just outside of Derbion which gives it a more peaceful tone. The staff there are absolutely lovely and are very welcoming if you have any questions or simply want their recommendation of a book you have been umming and ahhing about. 

If books aren’t your thing, don’t worry! There is plenty to do in Derby. There is a Showcase Cinema Deluxe in the centre, the Quad cinema, or an Odeon de Lux (recliner seats – yes please) a short bus journey away near Chaddesden. Both Showcase and Odeon offer membership cards that mean you can see movies at a lower cost, and the Quad cinema is very student friendly and offers student priced tickets. If you prefer live entertainment, Derby Theatre is accessible through Derbion and offers £5 student tickets to most performances. 

Hopefully this short blog has given you some ideas of how many things there are to do and see in Derby. Have fun on your next adventure!

Rows of recliners in cinema auditorium

About the author

Lauren Marr smiling

Lauren Marr
English student

I'm currently a Masters in English postgraduate student and completed my undergraduate English with Education Studies BA (hons) here too. I work with the University as a Content Creator so I can share my experiences with current and future students!