In my first year, I very rarely ventured beyond the University campus. I was living with my new friends in the student village, I had all my lectures on campus, I ordered my food online and the majority of nights out were at the Student Union. I, as many Loughborough students before me, was caught up in the “Loughborough Bubble”, and I loved it! I enjoyed hustle and bustle of the campus and it had everything I needed, so why would I leave?
Getting engulfed in the “Bubble” (inter-hall sport, student elections, volunteer projects, world record attempts) is at the heart of the student experience at Loughborough, but after a year or two you may find yourself wanting to explore beyond the campus walls and find things to do in the local area!
Just a couple of miles out of Loughborough you can find beautiful English countryside. From the town there are public footpaths which lead out to places like Outwoods – designated areas of forest with well-marked paths, ideal for any runners to do their training. Beacon Hill (the highest point in Leicestershire) is another popular spot for walking, cycling, running and, on special days, sledging!
Loughborough town centre can seem quite small, especially to the urbanised students amongst us. However, for anyone that needs the greater shopping, eating and entertainment options that a bigger city offers, you can easily hop on a 10-minute train to Leicester (£5.70 return) or catch the Kinchbus 9 from the town centre which takes you straight into Nottingham (£5.50 return, or cheaper if you buy a ‘Kinchkard’). Nottingham boasts the National Watersports Centre where you can try your hand at activities like white water rafting. Last week I went up there to go to ‘Planet Bounce’ – a room jam-packed with trampolines where you can fly around playing volleyball, basketball and dodgeball.
If, like me, you occasionally like to embrace your inner history nerd, there are a couple of castles near Loughborough. You can find this one in Ashby-de-la-Zouch (perhaps the poshest sounding place in England, just the other side of the M1) and it only costs a few pounds including a fun audio tour. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a nice afternoon out with a boyfriend/girlfriend (pick a sunny day – it was absolutely baltic whilst I was there). There’s also another site called Kirby Muxloe castle which is down towards Leicester which I’m sure I’ll visit at some point.
I love Loughborough, and the town is improving with new restaurants popping up and the massive new Cineworld complex (complete with Nandos) nearly ready. But why not broaden your horizons and take a few local day trips outside the Loughborough Bubble? It will still be here when you get back!
P.S. We met the chuckle brothers on Australia Day. It was great.