Top 10 things about student life at Durham

Rachael Pimblett

Being a student means freedom, independence, fun; It also means responsibilities, dishes and food bills. Navigating this new territory is frightening, but in my opinion, there is no better place to do it than Durham – a safe and peaceful, yet thriving, bustling city. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my top ten favourite parts of student life at Durham.

College formals

Before Durham, I had never been to a black-tie event. Despite my nerves, once I’d sorted my outfit, gobbled down the starter, and looked around at the fantastic decorations, I realised how much fun it all was. The bops and dances after dinner at Collingwood are the cherry on top of the cake.

Collingwood fairy-tale themed formal)


When I started at Durham, I had no obsessive hobbies to fall back on, so I just threw myself into a load of taster sessions and let everything fall into place. Of course, it’s great if you know for sure that Quidditch society is right up your alley, but for those of us not blessed with that certainty, the almost never-ending options of societies to join is a God-send. Check out the list on the Durham Student Union website here.

Open mic night organised by arts platform Thorn


For me, Durham was massively appealing because I felt so safe when visiting the city. Additionally, the Student’s Union offers a Night Bus seven nights a week during term time, too, and will pick you up from anywhere before 2am for just £2. Check out the info here.

Worst (or best?) club in Europe

If you haven’t already heard about Klute, I’m afraid you’ve been living under a rock. There’s not much for me to report other than: once COVID is over, that’s where you’ll find me every Sunday night, approximately for the rest of time. Get those cheesy tunes at the ready.

Endless opportunities

Durham is filled with passionate, motivated students who are ready and willing to put time and effort into things they enjoy. Solely through networking, I have had a tremendous amount of extra-curriculum opportunities: I am the Editor-in-Chief for Durham’s only online student lifestyle magazine, Cygnet, pretty much because my college friend was looking to expand the team. Handy, right?

Sports Events

You may know that Durham has many high calibre sporting teams, but if you aren’t blessed with much athleticism, going to watch these matches with a group of mates to show support is a great night out. There’s also loads of sports clubs at college that are way less serious so you can just have a go.


Of course, Durham is quaint, gorgeous, and homely, but sometimes you might want to switch up the vibes. With trendy Newcastle just an easy 14-minute train journey away, the world is literally your oyster.

A selfie on the short train ride to Newcastle


It’s simple, really: brunch in Durham is unbeatable. There are so many fantastic brunch spots, with a wide range of options at student-friendly prices. Check out the menus for my personal favourite restaurant, Whitechurch, but there are loads more on offer, take a look at this blog (it was written pre-pandemic so fingers crossed all these independent businesses reopen!)

College brunch

Running with that theme, college brunch is a massive highlight of the week – served only on weekends, the pairing of a full English with the occasional hangover and bad hair works so satisfyingly well. I can really only speak for Collingwood here, but I truly thought it blasphemous should it be left off of this list. Ask any student in Durham for their top ten, and I’m sure this would feature somewhere.

Picturesque walks

Now, I know what you are thinking: walking? On a top-ten list about student lifestyle? Well, simply, yes. Durham has so many amazing river walks, and with two Greggs in the middle of town, you’re all set for a meander and a gossip.

one of my group walks in first year

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Rachael Pimblett

I’m Rachael, a second-year English Literature Student from Collingwood College. I love reading, mainly contemporary dystopian novels, and writing, mainly sad-girl poetry and music articles. During Lockdown three I am in Durham, meaning I get to see the beauty of the city every day from my bedroom window.

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