Loughborough University has the largest single-site green campus in the UK and is situated about a 20-minute walk away from the town centre. All basic clothing and feeding needs can be met by the wide selection of town centre shops and there is the added bonus of the outdoor market on Thursdays and Saturdays.
The Brooklyn Bar on Baxter Gate is a popular choice with students on a Monday night. It describes itself as bringing ‘A taste of inner city New York to Loughborough.’ Their Monday night ‘PlayHouse’ features two floors of music with resident DJs playing a mixture of Hip-Hop, R&B, House and Disco. This is a fun night and features some non-traditional nightclub activities such as ping-pong and Connect4.
Most students remain on campus for midweek nights out and on Friday night too. Stupid Tuesday (STuesday) offers retro and cheesy dance music in one room of the student’s union building. The drinks are very cheap and the dress code strictly casual.
Hey Ewe! on Wednesday offers a broad selection of music in three rooms of the union building, and track requests can be taken through Twitter. Wednesday night is traditionally the time when sports teams really let their hair down, following afternoon fixtures. In addition to dancing and drinking, there are often other activities laid on such as a photoshoot area with props, inflatable gladiator arena and paint or foam parties.
Universal Thursday is aimed at postgraduate and international students, but is open to all. The music is from all four corners of the globe, the drinks are cheap and there are quiet zones for chatting or playing games.
Another option on a Thursday is Vodka Revolution on Baxter Gate. The cocktails are quite expensive, but there are often offers on other drinks and the music is R&B and Chart. Excellent if you fancy a dressy night out before the weekend kicks in. Vodka Revolution also does really nice food and is often a venue for student parties.
DBE is a monthly event held on a Thursday in the student’s union. This House and Garage night – with nationally renowned DJs – is very popular so attracts clubbers from all over the country. Tickets are £12, which is fairly reasonable for this type of night, and although drug use has been a problem in the past, Loughborough Student’s Union (LSU) are cracking down hard on it.
FND in the union building on Friday claims to be the biggest student club night in the UK. A wide range of music is played and the night draws in people from town as well as students. Essentially this is the same as Hey Ewe!, but none the worse for that.
On Saturday night you could try Echos on Biggin Street – renowned for being an enjoyable yet tragically messy night out with plenty of ‘morning after’ regrets. Round off the week with Wild Sunday at Firefly on Swan Street: different themes each week, offers on drinks and a good selection of R&B.
The Kelso (Ward’s End) and The Orange Tree (Bedford Square) are popular with students for quiet drinks and especially for first dates.
For students who love walking, hiking, cycling and riding there is lots of green space in and around Loughborough. The Outwoods, Beacon Hill Country Park, Swithland Woods and Bradgate Park offer a range of outdoor experience, from the almost wild to the carefully managed. Each has their own distinct features and personalities, but they all contain at least one rocky outcrop! The more maritime-minded might enjoy a visit to Pillings Lock in Quorn.
There are fantastic affordable bus routes between Loughborough and the three closest University cities – Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. If your student budget will stretch to airfares, you are only 15 minutes away from East Midlands Airport. Only slightly more affordable are train tickets, North towards Sheffield or South towards London St Pancras International. With some train journeys to London taking only an hour and 17 minutes, and late last trains Monday to Friday, a shopping or sightseeing trip is well within physical reach, if not financial.
Apart from open mic nights and the odd major act at LSU, there isn’t much of a live music scene in Loughborough. Acoustic groups and solo artists can be found in pubs such as The Priory, but you will have to do some digging as events aren’t widely publicised. Leicester, Nottingham and Derby however all have lots of live music on offer, so you don’t need to travel far to indulge. As well as Nottingham’s Rock City and Leicester’s O2 Arena, there are loads of smaller venues such as The Maze (Nottingham) and Sound House (Leicester) that attract some fantastic musical talent.
Apart from on the University campus there is no purpose-built theatre space in Loughborough. However, Loughborough Town Hall provides a venue for musicals, plays and exhibitions with a panto at Christmas that draws audiences from all over Leicestershire. Leicester’s Curve theatre has a diverse range of plays and musical theatre and shows are sometimes trialled here before moving on to London’s West End stages.