Living in Preston - All You Need to Know as a Student

Living in Preston is a lot of fun as a student. The north is a friendly place, and this city is large enough to give you plenty of thrills, but small enough for you to become part of the community and not get lost in the crowds. We’ve put together a quick guide about the places and things you can see and do in Preston, as well as some more interesting facts that you might not know about.

Here are 10 things you need to know about living in Preston as a student.

1. Explore the city on a long walk

people cycling in the guild preston

You’ll might be surprised to hear that there are some brilliant walking routes in and around Preston. This is always a fantastic way to get to know a new place and, if you’re thinking of getting involved in this activity, start with the Guild Wheel. This is a 21-mile circular route that can be joined at any point along the way and is often full of walkers and cyclists. If you want to blow away the cobwebs, this is a safe, traffic-free route to do so.

Other great walking spots include Preston Docks and Marina, and the stunning Avenham and Miller Parks, with its Japanese Rock Garden and Pavilion Café. Many of these walking routes follow on from each other, so you can easily lose the day exploring away.

2. Take in art and culture at the Harris Museum

harris museum in preston for students to visit

Those of you who want to see local art and history, the Harris Museum is a must-see whilst you’re living in Preston. It has something for everyone, with regular modern exhibitions alongside long-standing historical paintings.

On a rainy day in the north (there’s plenty of those!) take a trip to the museum and enjoy a few hours exploring the exhibitions. The best thing is, it’s free, making it a student-friendly activity for the day.

3. Shop till you drop

shopping in preston

St George’s Shopping Centre is right in the heart of the city centre, with loads of different shops for you to get the basics in or to splurge on some treats for you! There are some big-name brands in this shopping centre, and a few places you can pick up something to eat along the way, the Subways and Greggs of this world.

The beauty of Preston too, is that if you fancy taking in some of the bigger shopping centres in the region, Liverpool and Manchester are both within an hour on a train.

4. Go out for a bite to eat and some drinks

living in preston as a student

You’ll be surprised at just how many tasty eateries there are here, for such a small city. Start your day over at I Smile Café on Plunginton Road, where you can get a full English breakfast for under a fiver. Town House Coffee and Brew Bar is a good shout as a mid-morning break with a cup of tea or coffee, some cake, and a book.

If you’re after a tasty meal, there’s plenty to choose from and to suit every taste. Coco’s Soul Food is where you can get your fix of garlic chilli shrimp, Cajun chicken and chilli, whilst RK Dining is the place for the best version of vegan and veggie Indian food. Azuma serves up delicious Korean barbecue that’s the perfect place to visit with a group of friends, having fun whilst you cook the meat at your table. If you are looking for something a little fancier, Plau Gin and Beer House is a 350-year-old former gin distillery that is a nice restaurant to celebrate in, delicious food and fantastic service and meals. Vinyl Tap and Ships and Giggles are another two good food options, with simple pub grub on offer alongside a great range of beers and drinks.

5. Watch football at Deepdale


If you love the beautiful game, Preston North End (PNE) are right on your doorstep as a student living in Preston. PNE are one of the most historic football clubs in the whole world, dominating the game in England in the late 19th century. They were the first ‘Invincibles’, going the entire season unbeaten in the inaugural Football League in 1888/89.

Living in Preston leaves you only a 20-minute walk from the stadium (Deepdale). It is the only stadium still in use by one of the founding clubs of the football league; it’s been hosting football matches for a staggering 135+ years. The National Football Museum was located in Deepdale for many years, showing how important the place is to the history of the game, but in recent years this has moved to a brand-new museum in the centre of Manchester.

6. Home of KFC (in the UK)

kfc drive thru in preston

Is there anything better than Kentucky fried chicken?

For students, fried chicken after a few drinks is the meal of dreams, and you’ll be surprised to hear that Preston is the authentic home of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Would you believe us if we said The Colonel was born and raised here? Probs not, our jokes are that bad…But Preston was genuinely the home of the first ever KFC store in the UK, back in 1965. This was waaaay before even McDonald’s ventured over the pond!

7. Attend an event at Preston Flag Market

flag market outside

Right in the centre of the town, Preston Flag Market is the beating heart of everything that takes place in the city. On any given day you’ll find food stalls, outdoor gigs, political protests, and artistic events. Events run all year round, so there is a chance you could be doing something here every week during your time living in Preston as a student. It’s a fantastic location to breath-in Preston, to get a feel of what makes the locals tick.

8. Dance and sing at the Caribbean Carnival

people having fun at the caribbean carnival

The annual Caribbean Carnival dates back to 1974, making it one of the oldest of its kind in the whole of the country. It is a hugely popular event within the local community, celebrating the Caribbean culture in the city and includes a procession that runs through the city. Expect great costumes, plenty of live music, singing, dancing, and tasty food!

9. Tuck into a Butter Pie

match day dinner

A favourite on matchdays at Deepdale, home of PNE, and mentioned in Paul McCartney’s 1971 song ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’, the Butter Pie is a legendary dish in Preston. It is a dense pie, crammed full with potatoes, onions, and butter. You’ll find it everywhere, not just the football, in chip shops, cafés around town, and even in supermarkets.

10. Protect the bees!

bees in preston

If we save the bees, we save the planet. UCLan understands this, and students can get involved with the Tree Bee Society, providing beekeeping training and knowledge about all things bees. Three beehives holding 150,000 bees have been installed on the rooftop of the student centre on the Adelphi roundabout.

As you can see, there’s plenty of excitement around Preston, a good old Lancashire town that is full of history, great food and drink, fine art, stunning scenery to walk around and take in, and some record-breaking and extremely interesting history that makes it stand out.

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