Whether you’re embarking on a degree at the University of Gloucestershire, Royal Agricultural University or Hartpury College; looking to further your education at Gloucestershire College; or are hoping to sit your exams at Stroud College, make the most of your time as a student in Gloucestershire and take advantage of everything the county has to offer.
Boasting a wonderful array of annual events, opportunities to shop till you or your loan drops, a top array of restaurants and bars for all budgets, as well as clubs aplenty, not to mention being well connected to major surrounding cities, it’s no wonder Gloucestershire is a popular choice among those looking to continue their education.
From the best big nights out and where to get a great gym membership, to which restaurants you should let your parents take you out to, SoGlos has got it covered with its comprehensive Gloucestershire students’ guide.
First things first, you’ll need a place to stay. All of the colleges listed offer some form of on-site accommodation, with a range of modern halls, campuses, self-catering and host family options.
As the largest university in the county, the University of Gloucestershire offers almost 1,400 rooms in halls of residences in Cheltenham and Gloucester, which are fully furnished and include all bills. It will also be adding 600 rooms to its existing accommodation offering when the newly built Pittville Student Village opens in September 2017.
University of Gloucestershire also has a university-approved housing list on its website to those seeking private lodgings. What’s more, there are a range of letting agencies in the area that specialise in student housing, offering everything from one-bed flats in serviced apartment blocks to 10-bed houses for big groups of friends.
For essential groceries, as you’d expect, Gloucestershire is home to all the large supermarket chains within walking distance of most residential areas, with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda proving popular, boasting student-friendly deals and offers throughout Fresher’s Fortnight, while Iceland, Aldi and Lidl provide all the basics.
However, if you’re looking to impress when the parents come to visit, fancy tasting some local produce or just want to take a break from freezer food, Gloucestershire is home to a wonderful selection of farmers' markets, farm shops and independent food shops too.
Dinner aside, if it’s a new outfit you’re after, Cheltenham enjoys an excellent reputation as a retail hotspot, with its flagship shopping centre Regent Arcade offering the perfect place to get your night-out outfit, with stores including H&M, River Island, Topshop and Topman.
If you’re looking for a pub to pre-drink before a big night out, a nice bar to take a special someone, or a place to watch the big match, you’re in luck, with Gloucestershire home to great places to drink.
Lounge 72 and The Frog and Fiddle are Cheltenham's hot spots for a game of pool and a lively atmosphere, with the University of Gloucestershire's Student Union also broadcasting most major sporting events. Also, see SoGlos's sports bar venues for more sporting hot spots.
Meanwhile, see SoGlos’s country pub venues for some scenic spots to take your parents when they come and visit; its live music pubs for an alternative to going clubbing, while Gloucestershire's wine bars make for some romantic first date venues.
Once you’ve joined a university society, got your loan in, and mingled with some of your housemates, you’ll be itching to celebrate, with Gloucestershire boasting a vibrant and lively nightlife.
Whether you’re looking to head-bang the night away to rock music at The 2 Pigs, get your groove on to some retro music at Fever, or dance to some of the latest top tunes at Moomoos there’s a student night to suit everyone’s taste, with plenty of party hot spots across the county.
See SoGlos’s Gloucestershire Club Nights Guide for a comprehensive look.
What’s more, check out the best places to get 3-4-1 drinks, free entry, cheap drinks and weekend deals in SoGlos’s 17 value venues for a budget night out hot list, and don’t forget to flash your student cards on the way in for discounted entry and the occasional free shot.
For quality, value, and hearty portions which are sure to leave diners satisfied, take a trip to Bar and Wok in the centre of Cheltenham. Serving up freshly prepared Chinese cuisine within a lively and relaxed atmosphere, the eatery finds the balance between fast food and restaurant, with long benches and tables which are perfect for socialising. Whether you’re hankering for a big bowl of ramen, stir-fried rice, or barbecued meats, the impressive menu is bursting with delicious, nutritious and affordable meals.
What’s more The Coconut Tree in the student-friendly St Pauls area in Cheltenham serves up great value and seriously tasty Sri Lankan street food, as well as beers, wines and cocktails too, with a bustling atmosphere perfect for groups of friends.
After a heavy night of drinking, you’ll be looking for the nearest kebab shops, with Cheltenham’s town centre full of cheap and cheerful takeaways which are open until the early hours. Plus, make sure you head to the University of Gloucestershire’s Fresher’s Fair for some Domino’s Pizza vouchers that will keep you going all year long.
However, if you’re after an altogether different dining experience that doesn’t break the bank, The Brewery in Cheltenham is your go-to place, with Nandos, Frankie and Benny's, Chiquito, Cosy Club and Papparitos on the High Street providing you with relatively cheap meals in a lively atmosphere.
With all this plus takeaway chains, cafés, fast food joints, and independent eateries galore, there’s plenty for all tastes and budgets across the county.
Chances are, your college or university will have its own sporting facilities, but if you’re looking to join a gym, sports team, or are just looking for a nice jogging route, there are plenty of other options.
Some of Gloucestershire’s top places to work out include Leisure at Cheltenham, boasting a gym, swimming pool and a number of indoor courts and good student membership options. GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester and Stratford Park Leisure Centre also offer cost-effective student options.
Or, head for the great outdoors, and go for a dip in one of Gloucestershire’s outdoor pools when the weather is warm enough; sign up to an extreme run with your course mates; check out where to play tennis; or take a gentle jog around one of Gloucestershire's best public parks.
What’s more, with clay pigeon shooting, golf, rugby, cricket, rock climbing, horse riding, martial arts and more, there’s something for everyone. See SoGlos’s comprehensive sport and outdoor venues for a full look at what the county has to offer.
Between all the coursework, lectures and exams, SoGlos recommends taking advantage of some of the incredible events and venues that Gloucestershire has to offer.
Just some examples include, having some healthy competition at Hollywood Bowl and catching the latest blockbuster at Cheltenham Cineworld's IMAX; watching a play at Everyman Theatre and dancing to your favourite band at Gloucester Guildhall; to checking out the wildlife at Slimbridge Wetland Centre and racing round the track at JDR Karting, there’s plenty to keep boredom at bay.
Plus, for the very latest information about what’s on in the county, see SoGlos’s regularly updated Gloucestershire events calendar.
Dubbed festival capital of the UK, Gloucestershire hosts almost a different festival every week, spanning sports, world-renowned jump racing, cricket and literature festivals to music celebrations, colourful carnivals, beer bonanzas and foodie feasts. See SoGlos’s Gloucestershire festivals guide for a full line-up.
What’s more, Gloucestershire is also home to some of the wackiest and weirdest annual events, including Cheese Rolling, surfing the Severn Bore, Dragon Boat Regatta and even an annual Gnome Hunt. See SoGlos's wacky events guide for more.
Student loans won’t cover everything, and if the bank of mum and dad is not paying out, you might want to find yourself a little earner to go alongside your studies.
Don’t panic though, it’s not all work and no play, Gloucestershire is home to some fantastic opportunities for part-time workers, with the chance to get involved with hospitality at the famous Cheltenham Racecourse or steward and cheer on the boys at Gloucester Rugby.
What’s more, while there are plenty of opportunities for bar workers, waiting staff and retail employees due to Gloucestershire’s bustling towns and cities, make sure you check out 25 of the coolest jobs in Gloucestershire for something a little bit different.
Gloucestershire enjoys excellent transport links and can be easily reached by car and train from all surrounding cities, with its nearest airports in Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham; whilst internal travel is made easy thanks to Stagecoach West’s extensive timetables.
Similarly, there are three central bus stations in Gloucestershire offering National Express services from around the UK, including Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud, with a direct MegaBus route from Cheltenham to London costing from just £1!
While getting around on foot is easily doable in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Cirencester, if you’re looking to get between the towns and cities, the 94U bus stops off at all University of Gloucestershire campuses
By Alice Lloyd
Wednesday 06 September 2017
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