8 Tips for international students moving to the UK

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If you’re an international student moving to Nottingham in the UK to study, you’re probably feeling excited, nervous and everything in between.

Not only are you getting ready to further your education, but you’ll be doing it in a completely new country that you’ll need to become familiar with; there’s a lot of things to consider in preparation for arriving in the UK.

But don’t panic, we’ve gathered a short list of some of the top things you need to consider prior to moving and for when you arrive in the UK…

1. Pack appropriate clothing

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If you hadn’t already heard, the UK is known for being wet and can also get quite cold at times! And when university starts in September, it will be autumn, which then moves into winter. So, it’s probably a good idea to pack suitable winter clothing such as a raincoat, jumpers, hat, scarf and gloves.

Though, the UK has great shops to buy new items so if you don’t want to pack everything or don’t have room in your bags, you can purchase clothes while you’re here.

2. Check for any baggage restrictions

When packing your bags, you should bear in mind the number of bags you are permitted to check-in and the weight allowance of your baggage when travelling to the UK. The last thing you want is to be stung with an additional baggage charge when you arrive at the airport.

There will also be restrictions on the types of items and quantities (e.g. 100ml liquids) that you can carry in your hand luggage. Double check the guidelines of the airline you are flying with for more information on baggage allowances and restricted items prior to travelling to prevent any problems.

3. Set up a UK bank account

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If you’re staying in the UK for more than a few months, you should consider setting up a UK bank account. Having a UK bank account will make it easier for you to pay any bills, help keep your money safe and you will avoid having to pay foreign currency charges.

There are lots of banks in the UK that you can open an account with including HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander, Halifax and Barclays. To open an account, you will need appropriate identification and documentation. Click here for more information about UK bank accounts.

4. Register with a local doctor

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When you arrive in the UK, you should register with a doctor at a surgery or health centre in the local area as soon as possible. The local doctor – also known as a ‘GP’ (General Practitioner), will be your first point of contact if you are ill and require medical treatment.

You shouldn’t wait until you are unwell or require medication to register as you may find yourself in a situation where you have to wait weeks rather than days to be seen. Similarly, you should register with a local dental practice as soon as possible.

5. Stay connected

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When you arrive in the UK, you’ll probably want to let your family and friends know you have arrived safely. But will your mobile phone work? If you have a mobile phone, then yes, it is likely it will still work in the UK. However, if you use your current international mobile service provider in the UK, there will be extremely high call and message charges when contacting home and even ringing local numbers.

So, if you’re staying in the UK for a while, you should purchase a UK SIM for day-to-day use. You can register for a Pay As You Go (PAYG) SIM card which means you have to top up the phone when your credit runs out. Or you can sign up for a monthly contract and pay a set amount each month and enjoy the benefits of inclusive minutes, messages and mobile date.

If you want to make an international call when you are in the UK, it is likely to be cheaper to use a provider such as LycaMobile or RebTel as they offer low-cost international calls.

And don’t forget if you’re staying with us at Lace Market Studios, we provide free internet and Wi-Fi in all bedrooms and throughout the building, so you can make free calls and video calls via apps such as Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime.

6. Find your way around the city

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Travelling in a new country can be daunting. But the UK is well connected and offers various forms of transport, which makes getting about quick and easy.

For shorter journeys in Nottingham, you can travel by road in a taxi. Taxis are a convenient way to get from A to B, such as from the train station to your accommodation or back to your accommodation after a night out. You can order a taxi in Nottingham from your phone using the Uber app.

Travelling by bus is often one of the cheapest ways to travel around the local area. You’ll find bus stops located in various places around the city centre, with universities having dedicated bus stops and bus services running to the campuses.

In Nottingham there’s also a tram service operating in the city. The trams run along tracks right through the streets of the city, stopping at specific stops along the lines.

7. Stock up on the essentials

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In Nottingham, there are a variety of supermarkets to shop in – with many being open 24/7. Some of the main UK supermarket chains include Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s Aldi, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

You’ll also find that these chains have smaller, more convenient express stores which offer extended opening hours and can be found on high streets and in smaller districts of the city.

Many of the large supermarkets have aisles dedicated to international cuisine, where you can find foods and ingredients that you are familiar with back home.

But if you’re new to the UK and want to try something new, some traditional British dishes include fish and chips, sausages and mash, a full English breakfast, a Sunday roast and afternoon tea.

8. Find a place to live

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If you’re moving to the UK, you’re going to need somewhere to live whilst you study. There are many options available to students including living in private student accommodation such as Lace Market Studios.

Our luxury student accommodation is hassle-free and all-inclusive so you haven’t got to worry about paying any bills – it’s all included in your rent. We have a variety of studios to choose from, all of which come fully equipped with everything you need to make yourself at home as a student, including an en-suite bathroom, private kitchen area and dedicated study space.

Take a look at our room types or contact us on +44(0)1158 240 590 or at lacemarketstudios@host-students.com for more information about our student accommodation.

Summer Stays in Nottingham

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Spring has sprung, the clocks have moved forward and the Easter bunny has been. Which can only mean one thing; summer is on it’s way! And here at Lace Market Studios, we think it’s never too early to start thinking about summer and your summer break.

As you get your head down for the final weeks of term and prepare for those end of year exams,  that summer wardrobe, ice-creams and the nice long summer break are almost in touching distance. And although revision and exams might make it seem like a life time away, we can guarantee summer will be here before you know it. So, it’s time to get planning.

If you’re in the UK over the summer months, why not spend some time in the beautiful city of Nottingham in the England’s Midlands region? A thriving and creative city, packed with culture and history – and the home of the legendary Robin Hood, Nottingham is well worth exploring this summer.

And you haven’t got to worry about a place to stay, as here at Lace Market Studios, we have your summer accommodation needs sorted. We have a range of luxury studios with designer kitchens and en-suite bathrooms available for short-term stays from 21st July 2018 until 7th September 2018. On-site, you’ll also find some fantastic social spaces to enjoy with friends and unwind after a busy day. Here you’ll find a pool table, table tennis, fuss ball, a PS4 and a projector for watching movies. And with prices from less than £23 per night for student (minimum stay of 1 week), you can enjoy affordable city centre living this summer.

Located right in the heart of Nottingham’s historical Lace Market, whether you’re on a summer language course, getting ready for the new academic year or just fancy a change of scenery, our accommodation is the perfect base for exploring the city this summer.

If you would like to find out more about our summer accommodation at Lace Market Studios, please contact us on +44(0)115 8240591 or at lacemarketstudios@host-students.com.

5 ways to save as a student

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It’s been a busy few weeks for students; moving away from home, settling into your new accommodation, starting university and partying like a fresher. And while it’s an exciting time of your life, it can be expensive too and a large part of your student loan may have been spent already. So, now is a probably good time to budget and keep an eye on what you spend. Fortunately, as a student, there are a number of ways you can save money. Here are just some of them…

Student discount card
One of the best things about being a student is the discounts and freebies that come along with it. Whether you’re shopping for jeans or stationary, eating out or heading to the cinema, simply flash your uni student ID card and you can make big savings. For even bigger savings on a wider choice of brands and outlets, purchase an NUS Extra Card for just £12 a year!

Second hand books
As you start attending lectures, you’ve probably been given reading lists for your different modules. But with multiple modules and a number of recommended text books, the cost to buy brand new books soon adds up. So why not shop around and buy second hand? Browse sites such as eBay, Gumtree or Amazon for people who might be selling old books, and check your university notice boards for any one selling books or if the uni is holding a second-hand book sale. Even though the books might be a few years old, it’s likely the content won’t have changed much and it will save you pounds!

Travel card
Whether you’re travelling around the country visiting friends and family, or simply jumping on the train to check out the local hotspots and tourist attractions, you can save up to 1/3 off your rail fares throughout the year by purchasing a 16-25 railcard. The card will cost you just £30 for a whole year and you can save on a variety of train ticket types, and you’ll also enjoy exclusive discounts and offers with other partner companies.

Student nights
If you fancy a night out with your friends but don’t want to spend a fortune, then head out on a student night. Many pubs, bars and clubs in the city hold dedicated student nights throughout the weekdays with special offers such as free entry, 50% off drinks, £1 drink offers and 2 for 1 deals. It’ll be much cheaper than going out on a weekend when everyone else is out and clubs, bars and pubs are charging full price.

Be a savvy shopper
As much as we’d all love to eat out every night or have takeaways delivered to our doors regularly, it isn’t usually the cheapest (or the healthiest) option. Instead, cooking at home is a much more cost effective alternative. Bulk buying ingredients from the supermarket will cost less and go much further. For example, the ingredients for a spaghetti bolognaise will cost you less than a fiver and serve four – compared to costing £10 in a restaurant, for just one person.

A hassle-free start to student life

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As a student, it’s been a busy and emotional few months for you. The stress of revision, the pressure of exams and not forgetting the nerves of the much-anticipated results day. And on top of that (depending upon your results), you’re about to start a new journey as a student at university.

For some students, this will involve moving to a different part of the UK to study and for international students, it’ll involve moving to a completely different country altogether. This is a new experience for most, and it can be a lot to take in, with a lot of things to remember; accommodation, student finance, visas, course registration, the list goes on. And with all these important things to do and remember, the likes of bath towels and wooden spoons might slip your mind… until you arrive at your accommodation and realise you’ve forgotten some essential items.

But fear not, we’re here to help make your move-in hassle-free. We’ve partnered up with UniKitOut so you can easily order all your student essentials before you arrive at our accommodation. After all, you don’t want to start student life stressed because you can’t cook your favourite meal or open a bottle of your favourite drink.

With a choice of bathroom, bedroom and kitchen starter packs available – as well as some added extras that might take your fancy too, you can be sure to have everything you need to settle into your new home and start student life stress-free.

So, to tick buying student essentials off your to-do list and have them waiting for you upon your arrival at Lace Market Studios, head over to UniKitOut and fill your basket. Plus, add the code HOST17 at the checkout and you’ll receive a 10% discount.

If you’re still looking for student accommodation in Nottingham for September, then look no further than Lace Market Studios. We have luxury Studios available in the heart of the Lace Market. For more information please contact us on +44(0)1158 240590 or at lacemarketstudios@host-students.com.

7 photos to take before you leave Nottingham

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If you’re getting ready to graduate from university and wave goodbye to Nottingham – the place you’ve called home throughout your studies, then be sure to capture some iconic photos of the city so you can look back and reminisce in years to come. And if you’re new to Nottingham or still have a few more years left at university, start your photo memories early and capture the moments you’ll remember for a lifetime. Here are just a few hot spots you might want to picture…

1. At your university
The main reason you’ve been living in Nottingham as a student is because of the university. From the outside of the university building and the university grounds, to your lecture halls, photograph the places where you’ve studied and will graduate from. It’s a great achievement and a major part of your life. Definitely one to look back at and show the grandkids!

2. At your accommodation
Whether you’ve been living in private student accommodation like Lace Market Studios, or have been sharing a house with your friends, the place you’ve lived will have played a big role in the making of you. So, grab the camera, grab your house mates or fellow residents and jump in some photos together to remember the good times you all had there.

3. The Trams
You’ve probably jumped on the tram in Nottingham and not thought twice about it. But it is in fact quite a unique mode of transport. In the UK there are only a handful of other cities with a working tram rail system including Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield. So, make the most of this unique way of travelling in the city and snap a selfie on the tram or get one with a tram in the background (just make sure it’s safe to do so!)

4. The Major Oak
World-famous and crowned winner of many awards, the Major Oak is a well-loved oak tree located in Sherwood Forest. Thought to be between 800-1,000 years old and weighing an estimated 23 tonnes, the tree is well-known for its connection to Nottinghamshire’s Robin Hood. Capture a photo of the tree that sheltered Robin Hood and where he and his Merry Men supposedly slept.

5. Robin Hood statue
Talking of Robin Hood, why not snap a selfie with the legendary hero himself? Head down to Nottingham Castle and you’ll find the famous Robin Hood statue. Strike a pose with the highly skilled archer and keep the photo of Nottingham’s legend to take with you to your new home.

6. Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem
You’ve probably sunk a drink or two in here, so before you leave, relive and capture the moment with your friends. Step outside and photograph the exterior of the pub – which is famous for being the oldest Inn in England, dating back to 1189AD. After all, it’s not every day you can enjoy a drink in a pub that is built into the rocks that Nottingham Castle are built on and holds extensive hidden caves below.

7. Nottingham’s Market square
From the Winter Wonderland and Urban Beach, to Food Markets and Carnivals, you’ve probably spent quite some time at Nottingham’s Market Square during your time as a student. It’s right in the heart of the city and forms as a top meeting place for people and local events. With the fountains and town hall as the focal point, photograph the square and you’ll never forget all the good times you had there!

To those of you leaving Nottingham and Lace Market Studios over the coming weeks and months, we hope you’ve enjoyed your stay with us and time in the city. If you’re new to the city or are in need of a place to live in September, make yourself at home in our luxury student accommodation at Lace Market Studios. For more information please contact us on +44 (0)1158 240 590 or lacemarketstudios@host-students.com.

The art of celebrating the end of exams

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Hang on in there, if you’ve not already finished exams, you’re nearly there! The end of the summer term is in sight, and what a great feeling that is. Hooray!

When exams finish, you can feel a real mixed bag of emotions. You might have been so stressed out that your brain feels like lead, your eyes struggle to focus and you can barely string a sentence together. Or, the post-exam period can be one of euphoria. In which case, you’ll want someone to appreciate your prolonged whooping and flamboyant dance moves, or it can seem a bit flat. Sharing either feeling with others should stop the lows getting too extreme.

So, now you’re finished, what can you do to really unwind? Well, there are lots of imaginative ways to spend your weeks of freedom before you graduate and experience the nine-to-five grind.

Why not plan a reward trip? Travel can be a perfect way to celebrate your achievements and move onto your next great adventure. A big trip won’t just ease your transition into the next stage of your life, it’ll give you a chance to reflect on where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where you want to end up.

But if the budget wont quite stretch to a trip abroad, why not take a day trip and explore the rest of the UK?  Did you know you can get an off-peak return ticket from Nottingham to Brighton for £60? And, if you still have work commitments, a day trip is a great way to take a short break from any stress without the need for a long period off work. It’s fun, super cheap and will make a great memory for the future.

Now is the perfect time for all that culture you never got around to doing in term-time as you juggled lectures, assignments, revision and nights out. So, go to the theatre, visit art galleries, attend screenings of obscure arthouse films and you’ll get an instant list of interests to swell your CV.

And for our female residents, there is a fantastic opportunity to support a great charity, be active and to shake off those exam stresses at the same time. Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life takes place this Sunday (4th June 2017) at Victoria Embankment. It’s a women’s-only event raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer. If you think it’s not for you because you’ve not run before, don’t let that phase you. You can walk or even dance your way around the course. For more details and to enter see here.

No matter what you decide to do with your free time during the summer months, it’s important to take some time out to unwind after a busy few months at university. Relax and recharge your batteries so you’re ready and raring to go for your next year at university, starting a new job or travelling the world.

Here at Lace Market Studios all of our Studios have a purpose-built study area as a standard and our students are able to take advantage of our clean and airy communal study areas. To find out how you can join our thriving student community please contact us today on 01158 240 590 to arrange a viewing.

Have a healthy Pancake Day!

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Pancake Day is just around the corner, which can only mean two things. You get to test your flipping skills and scoff your faces with delicious pancakes. But if you’re trying to be healthy, you might be thinking Pancake Day isn’t for you. Well, think again. Though you might want to avoid the ice cream, Nutella and sugar toppings, there are some healthier alternatives you can try which still taste great!  Here are three tasty recipes for you to try…

Banana pancakes
These pancakes are quick and easy to make and with only 3 ingredients, they’re gluten-free, low-calorie and definitely guilt-free!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ large bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Method:

  1. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk together with the baking powder.
  2. In another bowl, add in the bananas and mash them with a fork. But not too much – ensure there are still chunks of bananas.
  3. Add the egg mixture with the mashed bananas and stir to combine.
  4. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of batter to a frying pan for each pancake and cook over a medium heat, flipping it over and cooking on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot and with your choice of toppings (if any).

 

Chocolate protein pancakes
If you’re a bit of a chocoholic then these pancakes are the ones for you. You can still get your chocolate fix without the need to feel guilty afterwards.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of batter to a frying pan for each pancake and cook over a medium heat, flipping it over and cooking on both sides until brown. Serve hot and with your choice of toppings (if any).

 

Sweet potato pancakes

A slightly different take on your traditional pancake recipe, combine the sweetness of sweet potato with the savoury cottage cheese, for a hearty and protein packed breakfast or snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup oats
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add ¼ of batter to a frying pan for each pancake and cook over a medium heat, flipping it over and cooking on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot and with your choice of toppings (if any).
  3. Repeat until all batter has been used.

Bookings now open for September 2017. To find out how you can join our thriving student community at Lace Market Studios please contact us today on +44 (0)1158 240 590.

Where should you live for your second year at uni?

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It probably feels like it was just yesterday that you were anxiously collecting your results and getting ready to head off to university in September. But five months down the line, it’s surprising how quickly life as a student passes. Before you know it, the second semester will be finished and you’ll be getting ready for your next year at university. But where are you going to live?

In years gone by, many students have traditionally lived in student accommodation for their first year at university and then they privately rent shared houses during their second and third years.

Sure, renting a property with your pals can have its benefits; it’s great for your independence, you decide where you want to live, who you want to live with and there might even be great flexibility – you can find a property that suits your needs. But it’s not all fun and games. What about the bills? Dealing directly with the landlord or letting agent? Having to trek miles into town? And more to the point, not being able to shop online because no one will be in to take delivery of your parcels!

You might not know, but regardless of your year of study, you can continue to live in our student accommodation. Here at Host, we welcome first year students, post-graduate students and anyone in between! Our accommodation has been developed for the sole purpose of accommodating students, and has been designed with students in mind.

Simply pay a fixed rent amount yearly, monthly or in instalments and we do the rest for you. You won’t have to worry about setting up new accounts or signing contracts with providers for things such as internet, insurance, gas, electric and water – we’re on it. Not only will living with us save you time and hassle, but budgeting can be easier too as you won’t have multiple bills and varying amounts to pay each month.

And the less time you have to spend chasing utility companies and managing money, the more time you’ll have to enjoy your time as a student. And what better way to enjoy it than to sit back, relax and catch up with your friends in the stylish and comfortable lounge and common areas available onsite. Or perhaps challenging your fellow residents to a game of pool? Now you wouldn’t get that in a shared house.

While you might find the perfect house to rent, it could be located just outside of the city centre and a few miles away from all of the action. But at Host, we’re all about location. Step outside of our accommodation at Lace Market Studios and you’ll find yourself right in the heart of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter – The Lace Market. With an abundance of cafes, shops, bars and restaurants located right on your doorstep, you couldn’t get much closer to the action if you tried.

What more could you ask for as a second year student? How about 24/7 security, onsite staff, maintenance and postal service? We take the hassle out of student living, so you can focus on completing your degree and enjoying student life. Oh, and you can even choose a room with your very own private balcony to soak up the British sunshine!

Bookings now open for September 2017. To find out how you can join our thriving student community at Lace Market Students please contact us today on +44 (0)1158 240 590.

5 gyms to workout in & save this January

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With January in full swing, last year seems like a distant memory already. And as the New Year starts I’m sure you’ve probably heard people saying ‘New Year, New Me’. The thing is though, lots of people say it, but don’t actually do anything about it. But if you’re looking for a ‘new you’ this year, then why not grab your trainers and head to the local gym? Going to the gym isn’t just about losing weight or keeping fit, it’s also a great way to relax and relieve those coursework or exam worries, and if you’re with your friends it’s a great place to socialise and have some fun working out together. And as a student in Nottingham, you can take advantage of some great deals too…

 1. NTU Active
Whether you’re a student at the university or not, you can take advantage of the many membership options that Nottingham Trent University have to offer. Of course, if you’re a student at the uni it helps as you can get an off-peak membership for just £8.99/month which gives you access to the gyms, sports facilities and fitness classes from 7am – 3pm Monday to Friday and anytime at weekends.

2. University of Nottingham Sport
With the brand-new £40 million David Ross Sports Village now open, find everything you’d expect from a sports centre and much more! From state-of-the-art fitness suites and swimming pool, to a water-based hockey pitch and climbing and bouldering wall. With a student membership you’ll also gain access to the sports facilities on Jubilee and Sutton Bonington Campus. A student membership is priced at £129 for the year, and expires on 31st July 2017. But with 7 months until it expires, that equates to just £18.43/month.

3. The Gym
Located just 0.3 miles away from Lace Market Studios, you can’t get much closer to a gym than The Gym.  With over 160 pieces of equipment and plenty of cardio machines, there’s something for everyone. What’s more, The Gym is open 24/7 which means if you’re stressing out about a last-minute essay and need a break, you can pop around the corner and sweat it out – no matter what time of day it is! With your student discount, membership will cost just £12.99/month – plus if you’ve got an NUS Extra card, you’ll get 50% off the joining fees.

4. Active Nottingham
Why join one gym when you can join eight? By signing up for a gym membership with Active Nottingham, you’ll gain unlimited access to all eight of Nottingham City Council’s leisure centres. The closest one to our student accommodation – Victoria Leisure Centre, is less than a mile away so you haven’t got far to go. And for the days you’re out and about, pop into any of the other seven locations to use the gym, swimming pool or health suites. A student Health and Fitness membership costs £19.99/month for a 12 month contract.

5. Xercise4less
A bit further away from Lace Market Studios than some of the others, but still not far, Xercise4less is one of the largest gyms in Nottingham. There’s over 400 pieces of equipment, a dedicated cardio area, free weights and resistance training zones and it even has a ladies only area. And if none of that takes your fancy, then what about one of the 200 classes the gym has to offer? Ok, so there’s no student discount available here but for £9.99/month for an off-peak membership, you can’t get much cheaper.

To find out how you can join our thriving student community at Lace Market Students for 2017/18 please contact us today on 01158 240 590.

4 reasons to study & stay in Nottingham

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Hoping to go to university next year? Not sure where to go? With UCAS application deadlines drawing closer, it’s time to sit down and decide where you want to spend the next few years of your life studying as a student. And what better place to study than in Nottingham? Here are 4 reasons why you might just want to make Nottingham your top choice city to study in.

The City
One thing’s for sure, if you’re studying in Nottingham you won’t be far from the action. And with excellent train, plane, bus and even tram transport links, you’ll find it easy getting in, out and around the city. This beautiful city is located right in the heart of the UK and is packed full of history and heritage. Nottingham combines the hustle and bustle of city life with small-town fun and friendliness, it’s no wonder thousands of students make it their home every year.

Education
There are over 60,000 students in Nottingham, who attend the city’s two universities – University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. With beautiful buildings and campuses, teaching excellence and ground-breaking research at both universities, the only problem you’ll have is deciding which of the thousands of courses you’re going to choose to study.

Social Life
For days you’re not attending lectures or got your head in a book studying, there’s lots of fun things you can do in the city. A spot of shopping on the high street, a bite to eat at the many food outlets in the Victoria Centre, or a night out at the world-famous Rock City. Feeling more adventurous? Hit the ice for a skate at the National Ice Centre, swing between the trees at Go Ape at Sherwood Pines or ride the waves at the National Water Sports Centre.

Accommodation
If there’s one reason to choose Nottingham as your student home, it’s the quality of student accommodation available to you. Our luxury studios at Lace Market Studios come with a range of modern amenities such as fully fitted kitchens and sparkling en-suite bathrooms, and are tastefully decorated to make your stay even more comfortable. As a resident at Lace Market Studios, you’ll have access to our beautiful designer communal spaces, where you can relax and unwind with friends and fellow residents after a hard day’s studying.

To find out how you can join our thriving student community at Lace Market Students please contact us today on 01158 240 590.