University isn't just about studying! Here's what I get up to in my free time.

by Nathan Gaskill

University is a great time to enjoy an active social life! Fortunately, there are plenty of things for students to do in and around Lancaster in their free time. In this blog, I’ll share with you some of my favourite things to do when I’m not studying for my degree.

Eating scotch egg and black pudding at an outdoor pub table
Lancashire Black Pudding served at The Borough

Eating and drinking

Whether you’re in the city or on the campus, there is a vast array of cafés, restaurants, and takeaways at Lancaster where you can have a meal.

I eat out with my friends throughout the week, and would recommend you visit The Borough, The Cornerhouse, Merchants 1688, and GoBurrito*. We also go to numerous pubs and bars, with our favourite being Graduate College Bar on campus because of its hearty traditional atmosphere.

Every weekend I treat myself to a takeaway, and I try to pick somewhere different every time; living in the city centre gives me plenty of options to choose from!

*UK Covid guidance permitting!


COVID-permitting, Lancaster has a small but lively night-time economy, best characterised by the iconic student nightclub The Sugarhouse. “Sugar” is a vibrant social scene and I have many fond memories of spending my Wednesday and Friday nights here with my friends practically every week during term time.

Having never been to a nightclub myself before coming to uni, I have always felt comfortable going here as it is owned by Lancaster University Students’ Union and virtually all the clubbers are students.

DJ at Sugarhouse nightclub
I've been a regular visitor to The Sugarhouse!

Walking and cycling

Lancaster is surrounded by city, coast, and countryside, which means there are plenty of places to explore. On Saturdays I love to go walking or cycling around the wider area, taking a different route every week.

If you’re wanting a stroll by the sea, I recommend a trip southbound along the Lancashire Coastal Way, which takes you past the historic Cockersand Abbey, a former Catholic abbey dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539.

Or, if you fancy some fresh countryside air, I recommend a trip up the River Lune to Caton, stopping at Crook O’ Lune picnic area which offers picturesque views over the river valley.

River Lune
The River Lune at Crook O’ Lune on a not-so-sunny day
Social media icons on a mobile phone
I'm an active member of a student society and was previously Media & Publicity Secretary

Student societies

Joining a student society is the best way to make new friends at university. Lancaster has over 175 societies open to students from all years to join, enabling you to meet people with similar passions, hobbies, and interests.

I am an active member of a student political society and was elected to the Executive Committee as Media & Publicity Secretary in my first year. Each week we meet to debate current affairs and political issues before spending the evening at a social event.

I met my best friends at university by getting involved in with societies, and I would encourage all new students at Lancaster to do so too!

Salt Ayre Leisure Centre
I work as a lifeguard at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre


A great way to earn a little bit of extra cash whilst at university is to get a part-time job.

Having worked at my local leisure centre as a lifeguard since I was 16, I was eager to continue lifeguarding when I came to Lancaster. During my first year I was lucky enough to get a job working at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre on the outskirts of the city. Part time jobs are a great way to integrate yourself into the local community, meet new people, and, in my case, keep fit!


Nathan is a second year undergraduate at Lancaster University, and is studying French Studies and Spanish Studies.

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