Student living in Preston 2023

Our updated guide to student life in Preston for 2023.

Preston is a lovely, relaxed city. The locals are friendly, and there are plenty of things to do and see. Preston is also an excellent place for student life. It’s inexpensive but offers character, open spaces, and plenty of lifestyle opportunities. 

We know Preston well and have experience with the town and its surroundings. So, if you are considering studying at the University of Central Lancashire, Metro is here to help with your essential student living needs. This overview of students living in Preston for 2023 is based on our experience of the town since 1995.

Preston University

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) is the only Uni in the city, but there is also Preston College along with Cardinal Newman College and the Royal Preston Teaching Hospital.

UCLan is centrally based in the city, with approximately 25,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The university is well-regarded for its range of courses and industry research studies. UCLAN has ties to BAE Systems, the Department of Health, the Football Association, the Professional Golfers Association and the International Olympic Committee.

What does it cost for a student to live in Preston?

Preston is a dynamic and modern city with relatively low student living costs. However, because Preston is central to the UK’s aerospace and defence industries, salaries for the town’s population are in the top percentile. This can mean that prices in the shops can be high.  

Because Preston has a heritage as a northern manufacturing town, many terraced properties are affordable, and rents can be comparatively cheap compared to most southern towns. Additionally, many converted buildings can offer excellent and characterful accommodation without breaking the bank. Take a look at Metro’s Jazz Bar as an outstanding example of a conversion dedicated to student living.

Also, Preston offers a reasonable student cost of living, with beer, food, taxis, bus, and train costs being very competitive compared to other university towns. 

Where to eat in Preston

Preston offers a wide variety of good places to eat in the town or a short bus ride from the city centre. 

Our top places to eat in Preston include:

Fino Tapas, Angelo’s, Ginger Bistro, Honeywells Farm Shop, Town House Coffee and Brew Bar, Black Horse, Cafune South American Café, Il Gusto d’Italia, The Blue Anchor Inn Bretherton, Sai Surbhi, Jonah’s, Bistrot Pierre, Greekouzina, The Stags Head Goosnargh, Haighton Manor, Azuma, The Larder, Macdonald Tickled Trout Hotel and 1842 Restaurant & Bar.

What’s the best Nightlife for students in Preston?

Student nightlife is generally outstanding in Preston. There are plenty of decent bars, pubs, cafés and exciting places to go with friends once the night falls. Highlights include:

Night Clubs

Pubs & Bars

What’s fun to do in Preston?

Preston is tremendous for students who want more adventure and excitement (or just relaxing in a park or museum).  Here are our top 10 things to do in Preston:

Preston Guild Wheel Cycle Route
The Preston Guild Wheel is a 21-mile greenway that wraps the city, linking the city to the countryside. The Guild Wheel route makes the most of the different landscapes that surround the city.

Preston Market
Preston Market offers fantastic indoor and outdoor choices, an ever-popular car boot, and flea markets for incredible bargains and eclectic finds.

Ribble Steam Railway
Set in the heart of Preston’s historic docklands, Ribble Steam Railway volunteers keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well. This heritage attraction connects the story of the north’s industrial railways, charting their rise and fall.

Avenham & Miller Parks
These Grade II parks, a 5-minute walk from the city centre, boast many fine features, from the Swiss Chalet and beautiful Japanese Garden to a fountain centrepiece and Italianate terrace. Stroll along the riverbank, enjoy a picnic or stop for a bite at the cafe.

Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library
A great day out for students and their friends, the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library is a treasure trove of fantastic art and fascinating objects.

PrestonWall Climbing Centre
Creating a community hub for those seeking fun, challenges, and an incredibly social group, PrestonWall aims to be a safe space for all, promoting diversity and inclusion. Offering independent climbing during the week and on weekends.

Level Preston
Situated in the heart of Preston, Level is the largest entertainment complex in the city, with a great selection of activities, including; ten-pin bowling, laser tag and crazy golf, an assault course and private karaoke rooms, making it an excellent destination for active student entertainment.

Leisure Lakes Bikes Preston Hub
Located at Preston Train Station with a considerable electric bike, hybrid bike and mountain bike fleet available for hire. Bikes are available to hire for just £10. It’s perfect for exploring the Guild Wheel.

Preston BMX Track
The Preston BMX track on London Road offers competition-standard BMX facilities. The track is home to the Preston Pirates BMX club.

Trax Motor Sports & Paint-balling
This unique and dynamic 140-acre site is the largest off-road facility in the UK with a variety of circuits purpose-built for the activities of Mini Motors, Motor Cross, Karting, 4×4 Driving, Rally Driving, Supermoto and Paintball.

The Jazz Bar and Guild Tavern, student apartments to rent in Preston

Student accommodation in Preston

Preston has the usual mix of student halls and private landlord accommodation. Many of the terraced houses have been converted into student flats and houses. However, the suitability of this accommodation could be more questionable, with older properties that can be dilapidated, expensive to heat or need renovation. 

Preston also has a plethora of tower blocks and converted office blocks that offer smaller rooms and less sociable living. Often isolated, these flats can be costly and sometimes come with additional tenant fees that students need clarification on.

Metro has two purpose-built accommodation units: The Jazz Bar and Guild Tavern. Both are within a short walk of the town centre and the university campus but are enough of a distance to give students some peace and quiet for those much-needed study periods.  They are also both just three minutes walk from the bus station and seven minutes from the train station.

The Jazz Bar and Guild Tavern deliver safe, clean and friendly accommodations with high-speed internet, CCTV and dedicated kitchens. All rooms also have self-contained and private en-suite shower rooms and toilets. Metro’s rents are all-inclusive, so students don’t face any unexpected fees, and they offer parking on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are many reasons why we think The Jazz Bar & Guild Tavern offer the best student lifestyle accommodation in Preston.

Student transport in Preston

Preston has excellent connections, including a mainline railway station with routes to London, Liverpool, Manchester and the North. The road network is extensive, and there are plenty of buses, too, with services around Cumbria, the Lake District and Lancashire.

Preston bus station is also a hub for National Express. The local buses are affordable, and there are plenty of cheap routes to get students around their town.

Cycling in Preston is good, with cycle routes around the town centre. However, the city centre can be busy during rush hour with a lot of traffic fighting for road space – so wear a helmet, bright clothing and have lights on your bike! 

Where can students work In Preston?

Preston’s strong localised economy is primarily driven by the largest employer, BAE Systems. However, BAE is not likely to employ casual or temporary workers, such as students. Instead, students should look to smaller local businesses in and around the city, including retail outlets.

Additionally, the many bars, restaurants and cafés in the city usually have a call for staff, so you should be able to find something to help with the cost of living in Preston.

Student flats and studio apartments to rent in Preston

Preston is a vibrant and dynamic place for students. It has a relaxed atmosphere but offers plenty to see and do within an impoverished student’s budget!

The University of Central Lancashire is highly respected and located in the city’s heart, making it perfect for student living. 

On top of that, Preston is close to Manchester, Blackpool, Liverpool and the lakes – making it perfect for students that need a diverse lifestyle.

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