June 27, 2014, by International students

A non-clubber’s guide to having fun in Nottingham

Being that new, naïve, fresh-faced international student coming to Nottingham for the first time, I was unsure about how I would spend my weekdays after class and weekends. I’ve heard Nottingham being a buzz of activity, with a particularly lively nightlife. Unfortunately, clubbing and drinking was not my particular cup of tea. Thankfully though, there is still much to do for students like me. This is a quick guide to a non-clubber’s social life, as well as a small overview into my favourite sport-of-sorts: poker.


Having a movie buff of a friend will surely means you will visit the cinema in Nottingham at least more than one time. Your choice of cinema will probably be dependent on where you want to hang out before or after the movie. Cineworld is the largest cinema and is situated in the city centre. There is a casino at the highest floor and many food outlets, like T.G.I. Fridays, but I found it a little too mainstream. Similarly, Showcase Cinema at Redfield Way (close to the King Meadow’s campus) is close to a casino, bowling alley and food outlets, but like Cineworld, the prices are pretty steep for students on a budget. It just feels like a cinema you could find anywhere else in the world. The one I would recommend is Savoy Cinema in Lenton, a short bus ride from the University Park campus. Even though this small, cosy independent cinema is within the residential estate of Lenton, its student price of £4 for a movie is very affordable for a cheap night out.


There are quality (even by my high standards) Asian food restaurants in the nearby town of Beeston. Lucky Cantonese Restaurant serves delicious Chinese food at prices similar to Man’s in Portland, but for a more authentic taste,  Lucky’s wins out. The best of the lot is probably Sanchans’ (opposite Lucky’s) ‘younger brother’ Sukho Thai, a 100m walk away. Sukho Thai may lack any ambience, but the Thai food that they serve is always fantastic, and really affordable as well.

Football is, of course, a major part of life in the UK, and one place you can catch English football action and have a nice meal with friends at the same time is at a pub. I would recommend Rose & Crown as the pub to go to, with its huge projector screens and flavourful steaks being an awesome combination for any football fanatic.


Still, what has been probably my favourite experience so far at Nottingham, and specifically at the university, has been being part of the University’s Poker Society. This may sound surprising to most, but it was quite something to hear the envy from my friends attending other universities, even those in America.

Having played poker leisurely for the past few years, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the University had its own poker society. I tried to attend the society’s first free roll (basically a free seat at a tournament) last October, unfortunately the demand was so high that I was not able to join that tournament. Take this from me, if you want to have a go at the first free roll of the academic year, turn up early!

I had never tasted tournament poker before, so this was definitely a new experience for me. Admittedly, I was frazzled on that first night, not knowing how competitive it would be. However, I found that the fellow players were really friendly and tolerant, especially for newcomers like me who might make the occasional unintentional mistake. But don’t mistake their niceness for kindness though; they are still looking to knock you out of the tournament!

This really chilled, fun yet professional environment is one that any prospective Nottingham student interested in poker should definitely look forward to when they arrive to the university next year. Once you get to Nottingham, come join the University’s Poker Society. I look forward to meeting you in October!

Darren Choong, first year undergraduate from Singapore studying Media and Communications at The University of Nottingham. You can also check out Darren’s group project’s website for more details on what to do in Nottingham.

Posted in Cultural integrationFoodFriendsNottingham citySocieties