Situated in the heart of the North West of England, the Guild City of Preston is vibrant, cultural and friendly with plenty of activities and events to keep you entertained. 30,000 students live in Preston, making the city a lively, diverse and contemporary place to study.
If you’re interested in studying at UCLan, there’s lots going on and you’ll find Preston is a mid-sized, bustling city, traditional yet with a young and lively atmosphere. Located a short distance from the coastline, the Lake District, and the larger cities of Manchester and Liverpool, both of which have international airports; Preston is also one of the most networked cities in the country. The railway station is just a 10-minute walk away from campus. With so much to offer, there’s something for everyone…
Preston offers contemporary and traditional shopping experiences. Friargate Hill connects the University campus to the city centre with an eclectic mix of shops and cafés whilst Fishergate is home to St George's and Fishergate shopping centres as well as a wide selection of familiar high street names. Explore the side-streets off Fishergate and discover quirky boutiques and independents including beauty salons, tattoo parlours, hairdressers and cafés. If you’re looking for a more traditional shopping experience discover what Preston Markets has to offer as well as quality local produce there’s clothing, hair and make-up and much more. Summer events on the flag market, details can be found here (.pdf 4Mb).
Take a short walk through the Georgian Winckley Square, off Fishergate, to find the beautiful and historical Avenham and Miller parks. Great city centre spots to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, perfect for reading, walking, or throwing a frisbee. The Pavilion Café overlooking the riverside marks the start of the scenic Guild Wheel a 21-mile cycling greenway connecting the city to the picturesque Preston countryside. If you don’t have a bike, hire one from the UCLan Sports Arena and start the Guild Wheel there.
Make sure you check out the festivals and events hosted on Preston’s Parks during the warmer months.
The city centre houses a thriving café culture with numerous modern and vintage teashops and coffee houses. Whether you need to sit with your laptop to complete an assignment in peaceful surroundings or catch up with friends, there’s a café for you.
Coco’s Soul Food provides a taste of the international, while The Townhouse, Ham and Jam and the Equator Arts café deliver a continental atmosphere against a northern English backdrop. The city centre also boasts big brand favourites, such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffé Nero, so you’re never too far from your favourite beverage.
Discover all of Preston’s cafés on the Preston Guild City website café directory.
More than 750 buildings and structures in Preston are listed by the English heritage. One such building of historical and architectural significance is St Walburge’s Church, located on campus just behind the Media Factory.
The iconic Grade I listed Harris Museum and Art Gallery, revealing its history and in-depth look at the area throughout the ages.
If you want to find out more about Lancashire and Preston take a trip to the Museum of Lancashire which reveals the history of the county and takes an in-depth look at the area throughout the ages.
Details of all the museums in Preston can be found on the Guild City’s Art Galleries and Museums page.
Preston strives to showcase the best in signed and unsigned music. Even the likes of Elton John and David Bowie have graced the stage at Preston’s Guild Hall, which provides year-round entertainment from live music, musicals and plays to stand-up comedy, ballet and live sport. Enjoy undiscovered talent at live music sessions in intimate venues including Beautiful Planet, The Continental the Mad Ferret - where Harry Styles first watched Ed Sheeran sing before both of them shot to fame.
You’re never short of choice for a place to eat in Preston. The city centre is full of recognisable and independent restaurants with a range of traditional and international menus to suit every taste. You’ll find most places in the centre but don’t forget to venture down Preston’s many side streets to find independent bistros and restaurants tucked away.
Check out Preston Guild City’s Eat and Drink listings for a full list of restaurants Preston has to offer.
Every night is a student night and with many clubs, bars and late night venues on offer you’re guaranteed memorable nights out. Enjoy a cocktail in a relaxed setting, a pint in one of Preston’s oldest pubs or dance the night away at one of the city’s nightclubs.
Preston is home to Preston North End, the city's 130 year-old football club.
Named European City of Sport in 2012, Preston is proud to offer a wide range of sports facilities and clubs, including, hockey, cricket, rugby, golf and athletics.
The Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre offers a free sports membership for all UCLan students. STFSC offers modern gym facilities, exercise classes and host a large number of indoor sporting activities. The full sport club list is available here.
UCLan’s own world-class Sports Arena caters for a variety of outdoor casual and competitive sporting activities to participate in and to watch.
Day Tripping - Preston’s Surrounding Areas
Living in Preston you’re only a 20-minute train ride from Brockholes Nature Reserve, home to a diverse range of wildlife. You can also take part in a range of activities from organised walks to jewellery making.
Living in Preston, you’ll be a 20-minute train ride from Lancaster boasting a rich history of castles, towers and witches! A 40-minute journey will bring you to the stunning Lake District, England’s largest National Park. In complete contrast head west to the seaside resort of Blackpool and its award-winning Pleasure Beach or a short trip south will take you to the sights and sounds of Manchester.
Once you have soaked up everything Preston has to offer, head to Manchester, known for its trendy nightlife including an eclectic mix of music events and festivals. Blackpool can offer an alternative night out too, from strolling down the busy illuminated promenade to thrilling your senses on one of the world's first super-size roller coasters.