Katie Bell, a second year student gives us her top 6 things to do in Coleraine – when you’re not studying hard of course! 😉
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your choice to move to Ulster University in Coleraine. I think you’ve personally made the right decision (and yes, I live in Coleraine too.) You’re joining a community of amazing and very fun-loving people; even after a night at Kelly’s we’re still happy come that sore Thursday 9AM class. By now you think you’ve heard it all, but what do you on those days off after studying (or trying to?) And those evenings your dancing shoes need a rest? Maybe you’re a thrill seeker or a water baby. You might be a seasoned sesher or pub lover. If that sounds like you then fear not my friend, Coleraine has something for everyone and here’s my proof.
1. Beach Please!
If you need a break from the books there’s nothing better than driving or walking, if you’re close, to one of the many local beaches. If you live on campus or near the university it’s a quick drive or bus ride to Portstewart Strand and Whiterocks. However, if you want to get a bit further away I really recommend getting out to Castlerock whether you drive or get off at the local train stop right in the middle of the town. Lastly you have Benone’s huge sandy coastline a local favourite as you see all the cars parked right on the sand. Word of warning don’t get your wheels stuck though!
2. Water baby?
Coleraine is definitely the mother of all sea side towns. This is great if you’re a bit of a mermaid at heart as Portstewart offers surfing lessons right on the strand beach. All you have to do is bring a towel, park up and grab a board whatever your experience level. If you prefer a more calming day ask for the paddle boarding lessons and simply take in the view on the calm waters. If you join Ulster University Surf club you get a discount on lessons. And once you’ve made those new friends call into Kiwi’s Brew Bar across the road for a drink and a burger.
3. The Great-Hungover-Outdoors
At this point you are probably wondering why I’m making you go outside so much and believe me it’ll make sense when you move out. Student life is so free moving you can easily end up on the sofa all day with Netflix on the laptop (not a bad thing) but eventually it can kick your motivation down. Whether you’ve drank too many Cheeky Vimtos or just can’t focus lately get yourself outside and visit Downhill Demesne’s beautiful forest walks. Then cross to Mussenden temple built overlooking the cliffs. From this view you can the whole coastline on a clear day. In the same area is Downhill House ruins to walk round; it’s very Game of Thrones entering the front gates you feel like you need some dragons with you.
Source: Image source: lush.kellysportrush.co.uk
Partying, the staple of the student life style. And despite a lot of people thinking it’s a quiet town with a lot of holiday homes, Coleraine is down for whatever you just need to know where to find it. First of all, we have Kelly’s. It’s definitely the place to let loose on a Wednesday night (and weekend.) The club is home to multiple rooms under one roof so expect to find yourself moving about during the night because the place is buzzing with DJs and a variety of music. And when it’s time to go home stop off at the takeaway hatch in Lush! And grab a burger and chip for £4. Seriously, it’s real. Then we have the considerably smaller but just as mad, Anchor Bar. Located in Portstewart and facing Shenanigans bar and club venue, you are spoilt for choice. Hit up Anchor on Tuesday Night and dance your heart to tunes from now to the noughties. On Thursday head to Shenanigans for 2 for 1 cocktail night and live DJ’s. For those who prefer a pub to the club all you have to do is walk about your local area, there’s a hideaway waiting to be discovered. My favourite is the Harbour Bar beside Ramore restaurant in Portrush. This place has the style of an old-fashioned tavern with private booths and open log fire burning in the winter. They also have a pet friendly policy so while you enjoy your pint or wine, your furry friends can warm by the fire with a fresh bowl of water.
5. For the Big kids
Source: Image source: The Jet Centre
We all agree, deadlines are stressful and coursework can be hectic but it all gets sent in eventually. On those days you’re finally free from essay drama take a break. Grab your flat mates and go to the Jet Centre to catch a film or book a lane and go bowling. After that grab some dinner at Yoko. Known as an ‘Asian Fusion restaurant,’ you can enjoy your favourite dishes without doing the dishes after. They even have a Gin of the week board and cocktail menu. While you’re waiting even check out the arcade, it’s a major throwback to childhood and collect as many tokens as you can to win a prize.
6. Caffeine lover?
You wouldn’t be a university student if you didn’t need a hot cup of energy to get you through the day. Thankfully before you venture out in desperate need of a Starbucks, pop by Moka on the way to class. It’s right in the university campus and better yet they give you a loyalty card so you could pretty much get a free cup every week if you’re a real coffee or tea fan. Outside of campus there’s plenty of cosy places such as family owned Bob & Bert’s; be sure to try their milkshakes they’re amazing, of course the classic Starbucks, well-known Ground coffee and a really underrated favourite of mine 3hree Kings. It’s located in the Coleraine town centre and so many people miss it while they’re shopping seriously check it out.