You’ve just moved to Nottingham and are wondering, now what? Freshers’ week beckons and you don’t know what to do. You’ll have welcome events for your degree, but what about the fun stuff, freshers’ week? Well, that’s where I come in. As a second year, I have one year of experience in Nottingham to pass down to you young freshers, even if our freshers won’t be the same as yours. With that being said, here is the ultimate Nottingham Freshers’ Guide.

Best things to do in the city

things to do in nottingham

Nottingham is a city with so much to do, no matter your interests. If you’re a sports fan, then there are two football teams, our premier league Nottingham Forest, and Notts County. There’s also Trent Bridge if you’re interested in cricket, as well as the Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team.

If sports aren’t your thing, then there’s plenty more on offer. Nottingham has countless restaurants and shops across the city. If you’re looking for recommendations, I have three for you. The Victoria Centre, the biggest shopping centre in the city, with major fashion & high street chain brands there. Additionally, I would recommend Lace Market, home to the National Justice Museum, Penny Lane and many restaurants such as Annie’s burger shack. Lastly, Hockley, the area right next to Lace Market dubbed the “Soho of Nottingham”, is bursting with vibrant bars and restaurants, as well as an independent cinema in Broadway Cinema.

The city centre is also home to Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham’s biggest arena. It’s home to the Nottingham Panthers and also hosts some other sporting events and concerts. Upcoming concerts include George Ezra (1st October), Bob Dylan (28th October), Florence and The Machine (28th November) and The 1975 (23rd January). 

If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Nottingham, then check out our guide for the best cheap things to do in the city for students. 

Best bars in Nottingham

Best bars in Nottingham

Nottingham is a city that has lots of great bars. Pitcher & Piano (pictured above) is a chain that you’ll find in many big cities across the country but it is great for any occasion. From bottomless brunches to cocktail masterclasses, it’s a bar that can provide you with fun activities. They also have a few deals currently on offer, like lunches for £7.50 from Monday to Friday or 4 shots of limoncello/tequila/sambuca for £12 and 4 shots of jagerbomb/pornstarbomb/skittlebomb/berry bomb for £15 every weekend. Definitely one for when you’re feeling fancy. 

Revolution is a bar that has a smart casual dress code, so it’s not one for pres. It’s right in the heart of the city centre, one in The Cornerhouse and one in Hockley. Revolution has an incredibly varied menu, from nachos to sharer plates to burgers to pizzas to salads. So, no matter what you’re craving on your night out, revolution probably has you covered. 

Check out our full list of the best bars in Nottingham, here. 

Best clubs in Nottingham

Best clubs in Nottingham

Nottingham is considered to be one of the best cities in the country for student nightlife, so that means that there are a wide variety of club nights. No matter what your music taste is, there’ll be a club night for you. One of the biggest is Crisis at Rock City, which is mainly chart music mixed in with some hip hop. Although, be warned about Crisis Wednesdays. It’s the sports society night, so it’ll be big, crazy and messy. 

The Bodega is a great option as it provides both ends of the scale. No matter if you’re looking for a quiet drink with your mates or a regular club night, then The Bodega will provide you with both. One of the most popular student nights is “Indie Wednesdays” which, not surprisingly, takes place every Wednesday from 11 pm with a £5 entry, a free jagerbomb on entry (with your student ID) and four hours of Indie classics from artists like the Arctic Monkeys, Sam Fender and Two Door Cinema Club.

For a complete guide to clubs in Nottingham, check out our guide to the best clubs in the city.  

Best areas in Nottingham for students

Best areas in Nottingham for students

City Centre:

Nottingham is a vibrant city with many different suburbs and neighbourhoods that have their own unique characters. The city centre is (obviously) the main point of Nottingham, as highlighted by this article. It’s where most of the clubs, bars and restaurants are. It’s very easy to get to no matter which uni you go to, as Trent students are already in the city centre and the trams can take UON students very easily to Old Market Square.


Lenton is the area between the city centre and the UON campus, where a lot of UON students live in second and third year. It’s close to campus, with regular buses to and from both campus and the city centre. It has lots of shops and food spots and the Savoy cinema, a pre-second world war cinema, which has a student discount, with tickets for £5 as opposed to £6.95 tickets for adults. If you want a typical student experience outside of halls, then Lenton is the place to be. 


Beeston is a quieter area compared to Lenton but still has its own vibrant identity. While it may not have as many students as Lenton, there is still a good-sized student population in Beeston. It’s easy for us UON students to get to Beeston, as the tram can get you there in 5 minutes from the UON stop, as well as regular buses or you could even walk. Some of the highlights of Beeston include Beeston High Street (pictured above), full of bars, restaurants and all the essential shops like Poundland, Boots and a Post Office. You’ve got the Arc Cinema, which has a Student Mondays deal where all student tickets are £5.95, and you can access an exclusive deal of popcorn and a drink for £5.95. Then, you have Beeston Big Tescos, an institution of Nottingham student life that will have literally everything and everything you need. 

If you want to make a head start on finding your second or third year house, then check out our guide to the best areas to live in Nottingham. 

So, there you have it, the ultimate Nottingham freshers’ guide. Freshers’ week will be your first experience of nightlife in the city and it can be one of the most fun and memorable experiences of your time in Nottingham. Have a great time, enjoy yourselves and welcome to Nottingham!