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Welcome to Lancaster! Half the fun is finding your own little niches, but to start you off, here are a few of mine… To Eat… Quite Simply French is the place to take your parents when they visit. Situated on the quay, it’s an intimate brasserie with, coincidentally, French food. They have offers on Sunday and Monday where you can get two courses and a bottle of wine EACH for £20. GoBurrito is a cool Mexican restaurant and takeaway. They always seem to be included in purple card offers throughout the year, so get a hold of a card and make use of those deals! If you think you’ve got an abnormally large appetite and a hunger for glory? Why not endeavor on their Titanic challenge and see your winning name in chalk (there are but few survivors-you’ve been warned). The Whale Tail Café is a unique organic café serving wholesome vegan superfoods. They have a gigantic noticeboard advertising anything and everything in Lancaster, so take advantage of that for some inspiration if you get a bit bored of the same places and doing the same thing. Even better, they are located above an organic food store, Single Step, so you can get some good grub for now and save some for later. Be warned though, they are only open at breakfast and lunch times! For Your Caffeine Fix … Lancaster is home to its very own ‘coffee quarter’. It started out with Atkinson’s Coffee Roasters on China Street: an authentic and quirky artisan coffee shop and tea merchant. Here you can get anything from good conversation, Arabica grade coffee beans, an impressive confectionary selection, a sensational collection of loose leaf teas, and just about anything else that’s really, really impressive. Their first café, The Music Room in Sun Square, has a great comfy seating area upstairs with sofas and armchairs (which tends to be transformed into an off-campus library). The Hall is their second, larger café that is really artsy; naturally there are movies projected onto the walls, the furniture is made from reclaimed industrial materials, and they serve coffee from Syphons (bunsen burner style apparatus). Both cafes sell the best cakes in the entire world. Seriously. They are the best. Just A Few Amazing Places… The Dukes Theatre, voted the best cultural venue last year and is currently in the shortlist for winning the accolade for the second time, and has a great events program coming up. They screen current films as well as a more eclectic range such as The Warriors, restored classics, a LOT of Wes Anderson. If you’re looking to impress someone with your movie knowledge then The Dukes is the place to go. They have a great bar with student ticket concessions, and you can even take your pint in with you. The 10th of October marks the opening of the first ever UK stage adaptation of Hemingway’s, ‘A Farewell to Arms’, that students can see for just £5. Plus, the Borough has a theatre meal deal: buy a ticket from The Dukes and you can get a slap-up two-course meal for just £6. Arguably the most beautiful place you’ll find in Lancaster is Williamson Park. It is home to the Taj Mahal of the North, Ashton Memorial, and is just five minutes from Dalton Square. You can go cycling there, running, take a picnic, take a walk around the pond, or pop into their café. They also host some outdoor theatre performances throughout the year. Crook O’Lune is similar to the park, it has a river that you can swim in, a great picnic area, and well-laid out footpaths and cycle paths. It’s a lovely place in the summer, or otherwise just somewhere that is guaranteed to clear your head. If you fancy going to the beach and a bit of a day trip away from uni, you can get the train to Arnside. From there I usually walk along the coastline, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (awarded – not actually my words), to Silverdale. In Silverdale there is a fantastic artisan café called The Wolfhouse, another great student study place. When you get back to Arnside, you can’t leave without getting fish and chips, it’s just sacrilege if you do. I am cursed with insomnia when I’m hungover, I can’t sleep through the pain, I just have to endure it. If you’re like me and are actually alive on a Saturday, the best hangover cure is to walk around the canal and along the river, coming back through town to pick up a pastry from the Farmers Market on every Saturday. I hope I’ve given you some ideas to help coax you off campus, or uncovered some new digs for returning students. Have fun exploring your new university town!