The idea of moving to a new place to begin university, not to mention living with a group of strangers in student accommodation, can be a very daunting prospect. If you’re joining us at Staffs’ main campus then you’ve probably heard a lot about Stoke-on-Trent, and everything you’ve been told probably paints the picture that you’re moving to a small city with very little going for it, other than its rich industrial heritage in pottery.
But I’m here to tell you there is so much more to the city than that. Here are five things people don’t expect about Stoke.
1. Nature is just around the corner
If, like me, you’re more of a country bumpkin than a citygoer, I’m happy to tell you that you needn’t worry when you move to Stoke. Despite being an industrial city, it doesn’t take long to find a patch of nature here. A mere two-minute walk down College Road, where the majority of the university buildings are situated, is Hanley Park. It covers 63 acres of land, with a canal running through the middle, and provides an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of campus life right on your doorstep.
2. The city centre is on the rise
At the same time, if you’ve come from a large town or city and bustling streets are more your scene, Stoke’s city centre is also an excellent place to go. Hanley is only a 10-minute walk from most places on campus and has been heavily invested in for the last decade. The intu Potteries shopping centre is expanding all the time, and there is very little you can’t find, from restaurants to shops to cinemas.
3. Taxis are the cheapest way to get around in groups
Although you can walk to Hanley and the surrounding towns fairly easily from campus, if you have somewhere to be on time, taxis are the way forward. There is a regular bus service around Stoke, but in my first year of university, I found it to be cheaper to split a taxi fare amongst friends than to buy bus tickets individually. The most I have ever been charged going from campus to the centre of Hanley was £5.
4. Not everyone is obsessed with pottery…
While there are over 6 museums in Stoke-on-Trent dedicated to the area’s pottery heritage, not every local spends their days recreating that scene from Ghost. But, if you do want to indulge, the Emma Bridgewater Factory is a short walk from campus and offers a quaint tea room as well as an outlet for goods made at the nationally-recognised factory.
5. Stoke-on-Trent train station is surprisingly well-connected
Although Stoke-on-Trent is a great place to spend your years at university, everyone needs to go on an adventure once in a while. Stoke-on-Trent train station is so close to campus that it is practically a part of it and has direct links to Crewe, Derby, Birmingham and Manchester. So there’s plenty of places you can visit easily during your time at Staffordshire University.