Moving away from home to a new city where you don't know anyone is understandably quite a scary prospect for many people. But the University of Chester isn't in just any normal city! Chester is special: it has a wow factor and a real community feel that many places lack. Here is what two of our students had to say when we asked them what it was like to live here.
Chester is a seemingly small city. I moved here from Bristol, which seems a total parallel to Chester. When I first moved here, I had no idea of anything – What was the town like? Where were the supermarkets? What was the nightlife like? – completely unaware that all of this was not a problem at all!
Chester has a population of around 77,000 people. A large proportion of this (around 15,000) are students. It means that while the city offers a variety of activities for all age ranges, a lot of the city is student oriented. Parkgate Road Campus is incredibly close to the city centre – so whether you choose to live on campus, around campus in the private sector or at some of our partnership accommodation, you are never too far away from something to do.
Chester is an excellent place to be a student: it has that small city community feeling but with all the amenities the larger cities have. Although there's that stereotypical student image that exists today, it is entirely okay to be a student who doesn't want to go to a huge city. That can be overwhelming. You don't have that sort of feeling in Chester: it's small, but it's not so small that you're here a month and you know everything about it. I've been here for almost six months, and I certainly don't know everything that's around. It's not so small that you feel as though there is nothing to do. It's important to remember that the majority of people you meet here won't be from Chester itself. You're going to be here for three years, or more, and so you're all going to want to get to know your new home – because after a while, you actually will be calling university 'home'.
There is a tonne of things you can do as a student here in Chester during the day, too – from going with your pals to Off the Waffle or Hanky Panky Pancakes for a sugar fix, to going for a walk along the walls in Chester. You get to grips with having to spend a smaller amount of money than you would of at home for a day out. It's no big deal. It's the case for everyone at uni. Saying you can't do something because you have no money is not a problem. Everyone is in the same boat. You get to grips with where the nearest supermarket is, depending on your budget (if you make, and stick, to one, that is). There are several supermarkets in town and in the retail park, which is only 10 minutes from the University. All the sorts of shops you need are close enough to the University itself; and there is Cheshire Oaks too – only a short bus trip away going from town.
Whether you're from Chester or not, being a student is a whole new experience. That experience is dependent on what you make of it. Chester is a great place to be if you don't want to be in a city that's too big or too small. For me, it is just right. I'd recommend coming on an Open Day, or even just to the city if you're unsure. Everyone's experience is bound to be different based on what you do when you're here. Just remember that you do have the freedom to choose.
Chester is the perfect size: big enough that you’ll never be bored and can keep discovering new places throughout your time here, but small enough that if you take a day to wander round and explore, you’ll already have a feel for the city and its streets. Parkgate Road Campus is just a 10-minute walk from the centre of Chester – so if you’re lucky enough to be living on campus, or even in one of the hundreds of student houses around it, you’re already going to be within perfect walking distance from the shops, the bars, the cafes… the list goes on!
There are so many tiny independent eateries and shops in Chester, as well as most of the bigger chains you’ll find in nearly every town in the country. If you’re after some of the best waffles and pancakes you’ll possibly ever eat, try Off the Waffle or Hanky Panky Pancakes. Maybe you want to try out a new spot for lunch? You can’t go wrong with a trip to the Cheshire Sandwich Company! Or if it’s a day of retail therapy you fancy, then fear not, because you’ll find a Topshop, Lush, Space NK, an absolutely massive Primark, and just about any other store you could need!
Every little nook and cranny in Chester holds a new surprise, be it an outdoor cocktail bar draped with fairy lights, or a family owned treasure trove filled with candles, tapestries, and beautiful jewellery. Even after almost three years here, I’m still discovering new places which quickly become favourites, and then I’m always kicking myself for not having explored Chester properly sooner!
As well as the 22 pubs inside the city walls, there’s also a massive amount of bars and a couple of clubs – Rosies and Cruise. These places are always hosting themed nights with special student deals and you’re definitely guaranteed a good night out in Chester. There’s also a few chicken and kebab shops conveniently situated on the route back from town to the direction of uni – if you’re after some post-club cheesy chips, that is!
If you fancy travelling somewhere further afield, Liverpool is just 40 minutes away by train, Manchester an hour, and London only two hours. You can get the buzz from a bigger city for a day or two and then pop back to your life in Chester. It’s the perfect location if you feel you might be overwhelmed by moving to a bigger city for your degree, but still want to be within easy travelling distance from one. Chester train station is only a 20-minute walk from main campus too, so you’ll be there in no time! You can also get your fix of the countryside by walking just a mile or so from Chester and reaching Wales. Head down the Chester Millennium Greenway from the University and you’ll find yourself surrounded by fields. It’s a great place to go for a jog and you might even befriend some ponies on the farms!
Living in Chester allows you to find the perfect balance between a student city with loads going on, and a more relaxed, homely place to fall in love with over the next three years. Chester truly has something for everyone and I honestly can’t think of a more perfect place to have moved to.
Want to Know More?
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If you’d like to come and visit the University of Chester, there are plenty of ways to do it, from Open Days to campus tours.
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