Hello! Welcome to my third blog for the Student Voices blog collection! So far I’ve talked about how I got to York, and about what it’s like to study here in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television. Now, in this blog, I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about what York is like as a city, and why it’s the perfect city to study in.
The University of York is situated in the tiny village of Heslington (tiny because it’s basically a few pubs, a general store, and post office, and then bulked out by some quaint old houses), but it is only about a 15/20 minute bus ride to the city centre itself. It’s incredibly handy. The city has pretty much everything you need in terms of shopping, dining and nightlife, and it isn’t too far from the University – plus, you manage to avoid the sensation of being squished into a busy, bustling city that inevitably comes with being at a city-based university.
For me, York is the perfect balance of cities; it’s not too big, so you don’t feel out of your depth when you’re spending time there, and it’s not too small so you feel like you need to leave every five minutes to avoid feeling claustrophobic. There’s always something to do in York – there are plenty of shops and tourist attractions to check out, so if you ever want a break from studying then the city’s the best place to do it.
There’s a great theatre scene in York. The main hub of performance is at York Theatre Royal, which is one of the largest producing theatres in the North of England. There’s always something on there, and they regularly run other events for you to get involved in as well. As someone studying theatre, I can stand up and say it’s one of the best theatres I’ve been involved with, and they put on some cracking shows all year round. There’s also the Grand Opera House, which receives all sorts of stuff, from touring plays to comedians and musicians, so once again there’s always some entertainment to be found in York!
York is also home to some fantastic nightlife; there are plenty of bars, pubs and clubs to quench your thirst and give you plenty of options with which to party away into the early hours. Drinks aren’t too expensive at most places, and taxis to and from York are fairly cheap if there’s a few of you going together. There’s a pub for every day of the year in York, so you’re spoiled for choice! Also, many of the bars are independent, so have much better vibes than some of the typical high street bars you come across in, well, every city. Nights out are always memorable in York!
Shops range from your general high street brands to independent places, so once again there’s a great balance between the two. However, York really shines through with the number of independent businesses it has; there are loads of cafes, restaurants and clothing shops, and pretty much everything in between. Many of them are unique and quirky, and you won’t find anything else like them outside of York. You could spend hours and hours looking around at all of the goods and mouth-watering food on offer throughout the city!
One of my favourite places to eat in the city is a place called Filmore and Union, located just near the Minster. They sell mainly healthy food, including vegan options and gluten free cakes, and pride themselves on all of the food they serve. Plus, it isn’t too expensive, and you get what you pay for: fresh, healthy food that’s locally sourced in Yorkshire (as are most of the independent food places in York!). They also have great décor and a warm, welcoming vibe to match – so you can always pop in and have a tea and some cake while you get on with some studying.
York also has some great coffee shops to choose from, so there’s always a place for you to get together with friends in places other than the library, lecture theatres and student union bars. They all have great atmospheres and décor, and serve great food as well. Try looking down a street called Gillygate, also near the Minster – it’s home to York’s largest collection of independent businesses, and you can find all sorts of places if you look there!
Speaking of the Minster, we have that too! One of the most beautiful cathedrals in England, and the largest gothic one in Northern Europe, it’s a truly breathtaking piece of architecture. And best of all? It’s free to go inside! Well, if you’re a student, which you will be! You’re free to look around and marvel at the incredible detail throughout the whole building – another great reason to take a break from your studies!
Next to the Minster is also the Minster Dean’s Park, which is the quietest place in all of York, perfect for really taking time out to reflect and gather your thoughts, or just have some quiet time to yourself.
In terms of food shopping, the city is home to numerous different ‘local’ supermarkets, like Sainsbury’s Local or Tesco Express. On the outskirts of York, there’s also a big Morrisons and a Waitrose. General bits and bobs like fruit and veg don’t really differ between them or the ‘local’ supermarkets. You can also get online food shops delivered to your college on campus if you don’t feel like going to town to get your groceries.
York is a stunning city with pretty much everything you can think of, and it’s all housed in some great medieval surroundings. The city centre isn’t far from the university and provides some great entertainment for you whilst you study here at York. As always, if you have any questions, post them in the comments section below and I’ll reply shortly! See you in the next post!