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Experience in Durham, United Kingdom by Ekaterina


What is it like to live in Durham? Would you recommend it? What is the city like?

It's very nice to live there because it is a very tranquil town. Most important places are within walking distance [ie shops, restaurants, entertainment, university, housing] so you become acquainted with the town very quickly. There is also the beautiful Durham cathedral that you can visit [which is free and is the place used for Harry Potter and Avengers: Endgame!!]. I have to add that the weather is typically cold up north but I wrote 5 stars because I'm a winter lover! If you want warmth then you won't like Durham weather!

What is the student lifestyle like in Durham?

I really enjoyed it because due to the collegiate system [a little bit like at Oxbridge] there are always many events going on such as formals, night outs together and bops [glorified school disco usually requiring fancy dress]. Even if you just pop into your college there will be people to speak to and there are common rooms/ libraries available. Whilst you can also meet new people on your course [although this tends to be a little clicky ie people stick with those from their college] there are hundreds of societies where you can not only meet new people but also try some crazy things; I did skydiving and pole dancing in my first year whilst in second year I did Rifle club! Due to this, and random Durham University events ie 90's night, vintage sale, you can meet so many different people.

How much does it cost to live in Durham?

Durham is very cheap! My house, which I shared with three other people, cost us each three hundred pounds per month. In London, you'd probably be looking at roughly six hundred plus for a flat. There are also loads of cheap shops ie New Look, H&M, loads of charity shops and of course, the best shop for cheap stuff...Poundland! The same applies to restaurants since you have Pizza Express, Wetherspoons and fast food places ie Dixy chicken and Subway. Really the only expensive things in Durham are joining student societies and paying for balls/evening events!

Is it difficult to find accommodation in Durham? Is there any advice you can give?

No, there's a lot of it! Obviously, some of it is very far away which can be problematic. The best thing to do is start looking for accommodation roughly a year before you arrive and to look for houses that are further away from the centre since they are the cheaper ones. I walked for 25 minutes one way for lectures every day and I didn't mind it, if anything it was good exercise.
However, if you are an erasmus student or in your first year it's very likely that the Uni will give you college accommodation. If that's the case you just choose your room.

What is the food like? What are your favourite dishes?

Food is generally typical english food at the colleges ie chicken, pasta, garnish for dinner. It varies from college to college but it is very decent. Formals tend to have really good food as do some special events. I really liked the salads they gave us for starters at the formals.

What places would you recommend visiting in Durham?

Aside from Durham Cathedral, town centre [some events happen there], Botanical gardens and train station for going to Newcastle [joke aside, the two are very close and so if you want more entertainment or a night out you can easily take the train to Newcastle]. I also found it fun to visit other colleges since they are all very different stylistically .

Is it good to eat out in Durham? Can you tell us your favourite spots?

There are so many restuarants ranging from cheap dinners, fancy places, independent cafe shops and fast food chains. If you need a snack in the middle of the night [trust me, I've been there!] Subway is your best friend. Pizza Express is a nice place to go with friends and there are usually some deals going on [get the app before going!]. Starbucks is nice to sit in and do some work. For birthdays Bill's is amazing because they have high quality food and help you with the birthday cake.

Is the nightlife good in Durham? Where is good to go?

I personally thought the nightlife was amazing. There are loads of clubs in the centre [I can think of 7 off the top of my head: Jimmy's, Klute, Fabio's, Missoula, Wiff Waff, Players, Lloyd's]. Some are free [Klute charges 3, I think Missoula, Players and Lloyds might too] but you won't need to pay anymore than 5 pounds to enter! Compare that to London where some clubs cost twenty pounds! The only difference is all the clubs close at 2 in the morning, whilst in London I think they're open until 6. The hard partyers criticise Durham for not having a good enough nightlife due to this but to be honest I thought it was enough! I'd rather go for free to Jimmy's for a bit and then grab a subway whilst walking back home on a quiet street, you know? Worst case, take the train to Newcastle!

What advice would you give future students heading to Durham?

Make the most out of it! Not every British university, let alone country has such a vibrant student like Durham! You will have the opportunity to try so many new things, meet a variety of people and make unforgetable memories. In your first week don't even think about sitting in your room all day! There is so much to be done. Familiarise yourself with Durham and with the important locations. Also follow the pages on Facebook since all the event postings either happen through there or through email.


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