When I was thinking about places to apply for university, Durham was in the mix from an early stage. Looking at pictures of the river curving around the cathedral, it’s hard not to think that it would be a cool place to study! Durham did feel quite far away from where I lived in Cambridgeshire but, whizzing up on the train to visit on an open day, I realised that the mainline train connection makes the city feel close to lots of places around the country.
As someone from a rural area, I knew I didn’t want to go to university in a big city and Durham fits the bill perfectly. Although technically a city, it feels more like a town with a small and lively centre and, of course, the huge cathedral overlooking everything. Within a week or so of moving in I felt familiar with the main parts of the university campus and the town centre and, importantly, had identified some of the best cafes (of which there are loads to choose between). Durham’s small size also means that students make up a large proportion of the population. This is particularly noticeable on South Road, where the library, many faculty buildings, and several colleges are located. This concentration of students means that you’re always bumping into someone you know and fosters a lovely friendly feel. Also, with Newcastle only ten minutes away on the train, bigger city attractions are never far away!
Another thing that really attracted me to Durham and the North East, in general, was the opportunity to get out into the countryside. Durham is a very green city generally and from my accommodation in Stephenson College, I can easily walk to footpaths like the Weardale Way which takes you right out of the city. The university has a very active Hillwalking Society which organises trips to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and other rural areas and I’ve really enjoyed the chance to have a change of scene by going on their trips. There are loads of other student groups to get involved with! Participation in sports and societies is really high at Durham and there are clubs for even slightly niche activity. For example, I was delighted to find when I applied that Durham is one of only eleven UK universities with a lifesaving club!
This great combination of a small and friendly university city with the opportunity to easily visit bigger cities and national parks made Durham the place for me!
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