The Student’s Guide to York

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September 18th, 2013
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There’s always something innovative and fresh to be involved with in York. We can find you hipsters something to do quicker than you can say “carnage t-shirt customisation” which, of course, you never would.

Watch out for Orillo Cinema. Showing modern classics in unique settings, with a touch of Secret Cinema, every Orillo event is silver screen gold. Their popularity is growing in York and rightfully so, you’ll have to join the queue for this one! For those that prefer smaller crowds, House Concerts York is exactly what it sounds like, gigs in people’s homes. If you’re into music and after an original experience, this could be right up your street. It could even be right in your living room. Looking for something individual to kit out your digs with? For furniture and other hidden treasures delve into Banana Warehouse and Aladdin’s Cave. That Swedish furniture place need not cross your mind (although you probably already have a Billy bookcase for your Kerouac and Ayn Rand lit). Also keep an eye out for anything Bison Coffee have on their radar, the small cafe on Heslington road also have small concerts and host regular nights at The Woolpack across the road. The Fulford Arms are also rife with such musical and beat appeasing gems.


Running around in circles looking for new ways to up your game for entertainment in this city? On your marks, get set, go and do some of these!

Both our universities have great sports teams, but why not try something out of the ordinary? Ladies roller derby team the York Minxters always keep an eye out for new recruits, guys can even get involved as officials. They’re open to all abilities, but if you want to practise your roller skills, take a trip to Rowntree Park skate park. York’s cycle path network weaves around most of the city, and it’s always being expanded. Cycle Heaven repair, hire and sell bikes, or pop to Bike Rescue on Wellington Row and make use of their bicycle recycle service. Then release your inner Wiggo on the Orbital Route. In need of nourishment after all that exercise? For somewhere to refuel, Filmore & Union serve up enticing yet guilt-free meals, your mum will be pleased you’re eating properly at uni. Wash them down with a freshly blended smoothie from Shamble’s Kitchen (try their Cloud 9). They also do delicious meals, and have detox plans if you’re on a bit of a health-kick. Even with student membership, gyms can be expensive, it’s cheaper and less tiring to go and watch a game. Don’t wait for varsity to spectate, York City football club tickets are between £10 and £12 a game for concessions.


When was the last time you left the library? A true student city, you can study almost anywhere in York. Pens at the ready, you’re going to want to take note.

Recently opened, the reading café in Rowntree Park doubles as a library and café serving up homemade treats and even ice-cream from LICC (though you should visit their shop on Back Swinegate for the décor alone!). The free wi-fi and inspiring view of the park makes it the perfect place to study, you can even take books out with your City of York library card and return them to any council library. St Helen’s Square and Coney Street are also free wi-fi zones, courtesy of the council. If you’re looking for a cosy place to nestle with a book, forget about your coffee chains. Independent coffee shops The Perky Peacock and the Attic are recommended for their friendly atmosphere and quality joe, you can find them in the tower on Lendal Bridge and hidden above Harlequin’s Café in King’s Square. When the weather is fine you can always find like-minded souls pondering under the trees in Museum Gardens or lazing with a book in Dean’s Park next to the Minster. To put all that knowledge to good use, get your pub quiz team swotting up for Thursdays at the Fulford Arms, or Tuesdays at craft beer bar Pivni.

The Woolpack are also hosting a regular word of spoken word. Keep an eye out here. 


Greetings, nerdlings! We’ve unlocked the map for you and you’re about to level-up on your knowledge of York. Here’s some handy hints and cheats.

One of the most versatile venues, City Screen shows all your usual blockbusters in between streamed live theatre, Q&A’s and documentaries. Their Basement is home to the Hyena Lounge Comedy Club, and their Riverside Café is a first-rate place for a pint and debate about who the most pointless superhero is (I’m looking at you, Aquaman). If film is your thing, the South Bank Community Cinema has monthly showings of classics and foreign cinema, and in November, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival comes to town. For four days, hundreds of short films of all genres descend on 15 striking venues across the city. Try and see them all or pick and choose, it’s up to you. If you’re a record enthusiast, head to Patrick Pool and up the narrow stairway to Attic Records for your vinyl fix. Be sure to make a beeline for The Inkwell on Gillygate, stocking popular vinyl and pulp-fiction, there’s a real variety of pop-culture gems. York’s branch of Travelling Man is our most established comic book (and more) store, well-stocked and with welcoming service. There are great stories available closer to home, take a trip to York pubs The Black Swan and The Maltings for ghostly tales, local tales and real ales.

There are also several gaming nights courtesy of Magic the Gathering.


York has a false reputation for being a quiet city. You uptown girls and guys better get your gladrags on and suit up, we’re taking you out.

Splash some of that student loan and go shopping for something new to hit the town in. The main shopping areas are Coney Street and Coppergate, but if you fancy something different try Stonegate and Petergate on for size. Get your new town, new you mop-chop from award-winning Bang Hair, and you’re ready to go! The Latin Quarter is buzzing every evening, Bora Bora and Vudu Lounge serve cocktails with flare that will make you forget your post-summer blues. Broke after shopping for your attire? Make the most of the student deals at Dusk and The Lowther. Take your Sunday morning hangovers to Evil Eye for a Bloody Mary and their unparalleled Sunday roast. Especially good if you’re homesick, it puts your mum’s to shame. Go to Sotano or Kennedy’s during the week with a group for a relaxed bite to eat. For a more intimate setting,  tapas at Ambiente always pleases (try their sherry, too). The secret garden tucked away at the back of 1331 is cosy and romantic, but they have a stylish bar space (and cinema) available to hire for free if you want to make it a party.

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