Student cities: studying in Liverpool
The good news is just how buzzy Liverpool is – and the great news is that it’s one of the most affordable cities in the UK too. According the 2016 Royal Bank of Scotland Student Living Index, Liverpool is the second most ‘cost effective’ student city after Portsmouth. The survey takes into account living costs and what students say they earn from local part-time jobs and other sources.
Around 50,000 students are split between Liverpool’s three universities and Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Popular student residential areas include the city centre, Dingle, Allerton, Childwall and Old Swan/Kensington.
If you like your surroundings to look good, Liverpool has plenty to please you. It has the second largest number of Grade II listed buildings in the UK plus plenty of shiny new architecture and contemporary sculptures, such as stone suitcases randomly ‘abandoned’ on the pavement of Hope Street. Liverpool’s two main cathedrals are hard to miss: the Anglican Cathedral is the fifth largest in the world.
Free and cheap stuff to do in Liverpool
As the birthplace of the most famous rock band in history, Liverpool packs in the music festivals. Liverpool Loves, Sound City, Africa Oye Festival and Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) are just a few. Threshold Festival and International Mersey River Festival feature music but also other arts and tall ships, jet skis and wakeboarding respectively.
Liverpool Literary Festival, Liverpool Comedy Festival and Liverpool Whisky Festival are examples of the city’s non-music festivals. Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, Liverpool Irish Festival and Brazilica (a Brazilian film festival) shows the cultural diversity of its celebrations. Some festivals are pretty ‘out there’. Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia is an arts festival its organisers describe as ‘a pan-continental celebration of audio-futurists, operating at the bleeding edge of today’s psychedelic renaissance’.
Liverpool has a good selection of museums and art galleries and – not surprisingly – many of these reflect the city’s maritime history. Enter the following for free: Tate Liverpool, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum (incorporating the International Slavery Museum), the World Museum and the Museum of Liverpool. Or take a ferry trip across the Mersey to visit the U-Boat Story in Birkenhead – it’s not free but there’s a discount for students and you get to see U-534, a German U-boat raised from the deep and cut into sections so you can look inside.
Liverpool’s compact central shopping district is comprised of Liverpool ONE, St John’s Shopping Centre and Clayton Square. Most of their big named shops do student discounts ranging from 10% to 20%. Nearby is Bold Street, with quirky places to eat and drink plus independent stores selling vintage and gothic clothes, and world food. Grand Central Hall is a large converted Methodist church that now houses boutique stores and the Dome, a 1,200 seat arena that hosts everything from tea dances to kick-boxing competitions.
To satisfy the foodie in you, there are monthly famer’s markets in Lark Lane, University Square, Garthdale Road and Woolton Village, which is a suburb of Liverpool.
Medication is one Liverpool’s best known house music clubs. The Krazyhouse has three floors covering rock, indie and cheese. Walkabout Liverpool is part of the nationwide sports bar chain but has DJ nights. It’s the sort of place you’ll find foam parties. Blue Angel nightclub also has a very ‘party’ atmosphere.
There are some highly quirky nightspots. To get into Ex-Directory you need to turn up at a specific red telephone box. If you have the right telephone number worked out from cryptic clues on the club’s website, an elevator in the box takes you down into the venue.
But some of Liverpool’s best places to drink are traditional gin palaces – cavernous Victorian pubs with a reverence for the tipple. Philharmonic Dining Rooms is a great example. Ye Cracke is very old fashioned too – but is less fancy. It was where a young John Lennon used to drink.
If you’re peckish, all cuisines and palates are catered for but a trip to Chinatown is recommended. Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
Fact and the aptly named Liverpool Small Cinema are independent cinemas. Everyman Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse Theatre, Lantern Theatre and Unity Theatre cover mainstream and fringe drama. Invisible Wind Factory is an experimental arts space with movable seating that allows it to be a theatre and a music venue.
If you’re looking for work experience
Liverpool is a big city with all sorts of employers. Public administration, media, life sciences, education, banking, finance/insurance, education, leisure, retail and tourism are well represented.