February 4, 2016, by Talia Jeffries

Arts in the City

When deciding where you should apply to University, one of the most important things to consider is what the city has to offer. You’ve heard Nottingham’s a great uni, you loved the campus but you haven’t really heard much about what it’s like to actually live in Nottingham.

As an arts student, Nottingham city life is unparalleled, as the city’s burgeoning creative scene means that there has never been a better time to study your arts degree here. Although not famed for its creative quarters like other university cities such as Brighton and Bristol, Nottingham’s hidden gems are not to be discounted. Here are some of my favourite hotspots for students with an artistic flare…

Cobden Chambers

The Cobden Chambers isn’t just a place where people sell things, but also where they share their ideas. Within the beautifully painted pastel walls, this hidden courtyard contains several quirky and independent retailers who sell everything from clothes and textiles to plants and jewellery. Nestled within this is one of my favourite shops here, ‘Ideas on Paper’, which stocks an array of thought-provoking books, journals and magazines from all over the world. If all of this wasn’t enough, you can often hear independent musicians playing through the courtyard, creating the perfect atmosphere to get your juices flowing.


Malt Cross

What appears to be your average Nottingham pub offers different arts and crafts classes, film nights and music events. On a Wednesday afternoon when the sports teams are out competing across the country, you can attend a life drawing class for £5 right at home, and find yourself being lulled into an artistic trance. The pub also offers regular live music events, and is one of the only remaining Victorian music halls in the UK. They also have more quirky events such as 3for2 valentine’s deals for all you third wheels out there, and Lo-Fi photography sessions.


Rough Trade

Who’d have thought that a creative shop with branches in New York, London and Manchester would also have a store right in the heart of Nottingham? Selling everything from vinyl and music to magazines and books, for people who religiously follow creative culture, the store is like a Mecca. The upper floor also has its own bar and music performance area, where both local bands and major artists perform – most recently they hosted a free Mystery Jets gig, complete with meet and greet and album signing. For all the bibliophiles out there, they are in plans to host a bi-monthly “Book Off” event – a day of literary events including workshops, panel discussions and opportunities to speak with local publishers and theatre companies.


Hockley Arts Club

Hidden away in the backstreets of Hockley is the latest addition to the buzzing Nottingham creative scene. The bar consists of four floors, with the ground-floor having a laid back 1950s vibe, the main floor resembling a swanky gentleman’s club, followed by a Scandinavian-style wooden scene, and finally the uppermost floor, dubbed ‘the electric garden’. The bar offers original and divine cocktails and food, demonstrating the creativity that Nottingham has to offer. It promises to be a hub for creatives, with upcoming exhibitions and events in film, music and art.

Hockley Arts Club (1)The-Hockley-Arts-Club’s-secret-revealed3

Broadway cinema 

An independent cinema playing old films, new films and films you’ve never heard of – all for student prices. The cinema is beautiful on the inside and out, with the building being designed by none other than architect Paul Smith, and the interior kitted out with quirky love-seats. Broadway’s not just a pretty face, as they host their own film festival, ‘Mayhem’, which will take place from 13-16 of October this year, and you can even take a course there to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes. Quentin Tarentino has publicly declared his love for Nottingham’s Broadway cinema, and hosted the British premier of Reservoir Dogs here.

cafe-bar-nottingham broadway

So whether your passion is music, books, art, film, or food, Nottingham has everything you could possibly ask for, all conveniently placed in the city center, right around the corner. What are you waiting for? Come visit Nottingham and experience it for yourself!

Posted in University life