Day time picture of the Ningbo Friendship Bridge over the A52 road, with Queen's Medical Centre in the background.

June 29, 2023, by Lauren

Things to know before bringing a car to UoN

I’ll start by saying this: you probably don’t need to bring your car to university. For most people, it’s expensive and impractical, especially in a city with a brilliant tram network like Nottingham. However, if you need to bring a car, here’s how to manage driving around UoN and Nottingham.

The roads will be different.

If you learned to drive in a small town like I did, Nottingham is a big adjustment. You may want to practice higher-speed driving before bringing your car to UoN. Whereas I’d only driven on one dual carriageway at home, suddenly every journey longer than five minutes involved an A-Road. A-Roads are “major roads, narrower than motorways but wider and straighter than B-Roads.”

A drive to Beeston Big Tesco will involve comfortable, 30mph B-Roads like in towns. But if you’re going further out, A-Roads with 40mph and 50mph limits are common. For example, visiting the neighbouring city of Derby involves a dual carriageway (Brian Clough Way). Consider evening journeys carefully – are you comfortable doing the return trip in the dark?

You’ll soon get used to it though, and the A52’s Ningbo Friendship Bridge, lit up bright green at night, will become a welcome sign that you’re only a few minutes away from UoN.

Do NOT move your car if there’s an Open Day or sports event

I guarantee you will lose your space. If you have bought a parking permit for the year, you can park in some designated places on campus. All of this is meaningless if you move your car on an Open Day, where many interested families are busy exploring the university. You will begin to despise the mini roundabout by the West entrance, as you endlessly return to it during your quest for a parking space. David Ross Sports Village on main campus also hosts major sporting events regularly, so if you live in a hall near it (looking at you, Rutland) it can be very difficult to find a space on these days. Some sporting events run till 10pm – save yourself the hassle by not moving your car.

Probably don’t try to park in the city centre…

Take. The. Tram. Since the tram runs right through the city centre, it probably gets you closer to your destination anyway. I hopped off the tram at Lace Market and was instantly around the corner from Waterstones. Nottingham’s multi-storey car parks are a nightmare – the spaces are very small and the rows of cars are close together, meaning there’s little room to manoeuvre. Taking the tram is also cheaper. You could park for two hours at the main shopping centre, the Victoria Centre, for £4.20 then have to move your car again. Perhaps this is what William Blake meant by “mind-forg’d manacles,” because a student day ticket for the tram is only £4 and doesn’t restrict you to staying near your car.

Google Maps screenshot, showing part of Nottingham City Centre, with the tram stops for Old Market Square and Lace Market circled in purple. Shops and pubs can be seen all around the tram stops.

The tram stops for Old Market Square and Lace Market

Lastly, invest in some screenwash!

Our famous green campus has a downside for parked cars – they inevitably get covered in green stuff. Over time, my car’s roof became an impressively verdant little ecosystem. If your car will be parked somewhere for a while, try to choose a space not under a tree. Supermarkets sell large bottles of concentrated screenwash, which you dilute with water and pour into the relevant pipe under the car’s bonnet. Keeping this topped up means you can avoid setting off with a grimy windscreen. Be ready for the green campus to claim your vehicle…

My car roof, covered in yellow leaves. Rutland Hall is visible in the background

My car roof after some time outside Rutland Hall.

Posted in Lauren