By Ioana Batcu
As an undergraduate student, your university experience may not necessarily start when you step into your first lecture. I believe it may start sooner than that, during an Open Day. An Open Day is your opportunity to visit and explore the universities you’re interested in and get an idea of what it’s like to study there. And while your priority may be to familiarise yourself with the campus, I’d recommend wandering around the city to get a taste of what it would be like living there.
Derby has been my home for three years now. Long before I finally started studying here, I’d had the chance to experience the city while attending an Open Day. This was how I was able to gain an understanding of what it would be like both studying and living in Derby. And don’t worry, whether you love to splash out or you’re looking after your pennies, Derby has a lot to offer.
1. Sadler Gate
Coffee hunter, brunch craver or shopping enthusiast? Sadler Gate is your place. It is one of Derby’s most vibrant streets. Sadler Gate offers a variety of independent coffee shops, restaurants, and shops. Wandering through this narrow street, you'll notice plenty of quirky spots such as Derby’s largest and last surviving coach inn – the Old Bell Hotel (ideal for a Saturday lunch), Bunk (promising an alternative dining experience) and fabulous brunch venues like Plant, The Kitchen and Milk & Honey.
2. The Museum of Making
The Museum of Making is a contemporary and creative space, where you can learn about Derby’s, 300-year long, history of manufacturing. The museum sits on the site of the world’s first factory. Entry to the museum is free and you don’t need to pre-book unless you’d like to visit a special exhibition. Give it a go and make sure you check the opening times before your visit.
3. Derby QUAD
One of the cosiest places in the city, QUAD is a cultural and creative centre. It’s an indie cinema, art gallery, café bar and events space. Here you can enjoy the latest films, visit exhibitions of work from local, national and international artists, have a drink or a meal, and enjoy an array of carefully curated independent films and art.
4. Friar Gate
Situated in the heart of Derby, Friar Gate is a lively street, close to the city centre. This charming street has a long history which goes back hundreds of years. Featuring restaurants with a range of cuisines, including Indian, Spanish and Italian, Friar Gate can offer you a memorable eating-out experience. As you walk along the street, you can admire the local Georgian architecture.
5. Bustler Market
Bustler Market is a great place to enjoy during the weekend. This street food market showcases food from local food street traders, and you can enjoy a drink and some music while you eat. A much-loved Derby destination, Bustler Market has a great atmosphere and offers a large selection of veggie, vegan and gluten-free food options. Go ahead and try it out!
Our Open Days
An Open Day is the perfect time to get the answers to your questions and gain more perspective about your options. At Derby, elements such as campus tours, subject-related talks, insights from current students, career services information, wellbeing support and student accommodation tours can give you a sample of what university life is like here. Along with that, a tour of the city could complete your visit and give you a good idea of what life would be like as a Derby student.