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Living in Aberystwyth
Snuggled between the Snowdonian mountains and the Irish sea, the seaside town of Aberystwyth provides a welcome bit of quiet in the usually hectic student life.
When all the students are in town you almost outnumber the locals, but of course that has the bonus of making Aberystwyth very much geared towards the needs of students.
Aberystwyth University is at least an hours journey from... everywhere, but when you’re living on your own for the first time a bit of distance can be helpful, and in a town this small you’ll start recognising faces very quickly. Nightlife here is pretty relaxed, with the pubs and bars vastly outnumbering the nightclubs. The close-knit community means you’ll have no trouble finding your way around or spotting someone you know across the bar. Both cinemas, the Commodore and Magic Lantern, have an old-school feel to them that is hard to find in bigger towns. There’s also a couple of galleries and a theatre on campus used for drama, music and comedy events.
Aberystwyth has a couple of major supermarkets, but the town centre is a more interesting place to get your groceries, with a good number of markets and locally run shops. This is also where you’ll find your 2pm takeaways - just the thing for dealing with the post-club munchies. As a bonus, the living cost here is nice low, so you’ll get more kebab for your money.
Its spot on the west coast of Wales does mean it’s advisable to pack your raincoat, but when the weather’s fine you’ve got some great beaches at your disposal. Aberystwyth has a beach of its own where you can watch the sun set - or rise, depending on how long the party lasted- or watch the winter waves batter the sea wall. The village of Borth, just 15mins up the road, has a long sand and shingle beach and is a good place to break out your surfboard.
For sports enthusiasts there’s a swimming pool and a few clubs (as well as the university societies of course) in the town, but with the entire Irish Sea and the bottom half of the Snowdonia National Park at your disposal you’ll never be able to say you’re bored.
I just got my student loan!
- Snowdonia: In no particular order: Hang gliding, rock climbing, horse riding, cycling, caving, paragliding (apparently a completely different thing to hang gliding), hiking, mountaineering, and so on and so forth...
- Swansea: The Arriva Cymru Express bus links the University of Wales campuses in Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, and then goes on to Swansea. It should take about 2hrs in total, so make a day or even a weekend of it!
I just spent my student loan!
- Constitution Hill: Trekking up and down this famous Aberystwyth landmark is the ideal answer to not being able to afford the gym. Or just take the railcar!
- Devil’s Bridge: Ambush a friend with a car and get them to take you here. There’s a nature trail leading to an incredible 300ft of waterfall. Don’t forget to wear your sensible shoes.
- Castle Ruins: The rocky remains of Aberystwyth’s very own castle should keep you amused for a while. And when you’re done there’s a lovely park round it for you to eat your lunch in and throw a ball about with your mates.
Read Aberystwyth Reviews
Aber has a grand total of about 5 nice shops with the small advantage that they'll only order in nice gear, because they simply have no room for sh*te. Imagine a tiny little city, without the dark alleys full of corpses and the Mafia. It's like a city if we power washed it of all the s**t and kept all the nice bits... If that doesn't sound too 1940's Germany... Despite its size it's incredibly cheap to drink and eat here. All of the restaurants know that students are unable to pay a decent amount of money for anything, and thus charge next to nothing for quality food and drink. Whilst some places may charge "a normal" rate these places are reserved for special occasions, or you're so f*cked by the time you get there the only thing they'll serve you is water. Whilst there is a shuttle bus that runs literally everywhere you could ever want to go Uni wise, it's a bit of a mission to get to morrisons.
Very cheap to live here. A large variety of student housing. Pubs have excellent food as do some of the individual restaurants. McDonalds is a bit out of town sadly and only really suitable if you drive. Nights out are always good. Massive selection of bars. Taxis and buses are very very cheap.
If you're wanting a massive nightlife then perhaps Aber isn't for you. We have a pub on every corner but only two clubs (and one of those is basically the pit of hell) so it's not the most lovely of nights out. Although, we do have "Vodka Tuesdays" - £1 vodka shots everywhere. The town itself is very beautiful. The seafront is beautiful rain or shine and the storms can be impressive! Plus the societies know how to run a pub crawl.
Okay where to start. There's no shops, the transport is about as reliable as a French car and the only nightclub was once a strip club and truly feels like it. It's only redeeming quality is some really nice restaurants and cocktail bars.
The worst bit about Aber is the shopping. The only big supermarket is a couple of miles out of town and it is a bit limited for chain stores on the high Street. But who needs that when you've got Amazon? Public transport is okay around town, buses are £1 unless you go Arriva and taxis are usually £3 for three people then £1 after that. The only transport issue is getting there, the nearest large town is Shrewsbury 1 1/2 hours by train and the same by car. HOWEVER once you are there, it is really cheap to live, the safest university town in the country, the pubs are great (more pubs per head than anywhere) and some great restaurants.
There aren't many ways to leave Aber, it can feel like you're living in a bubble a lot of the time, although the new Megabus to London via Cardiff helps. Trains are every two hours to Birmingham, although those might be changing as well. Lots of pubs, lots and lots of pubs! Good mix of places to eat out, nice restaurants, good pizza places, and fast food, although no Nandos. The main high street is ok, though not a lot of clothing shops.