Feature: Student Guide to Derby

We at Hatch'd understand that moving to a new city can be a massively daunting experience. That's why we compiled this list of the top 5 things to see and do in our humble city!

Whether you're a student, or just new to Derby, we hope you'll find something useful within our pick of all things creative and cultural happening locally. From places to eat and shop, to things to see and do, we're sure there's something for everyone in the city and that you'll love living here.


1. QUAD Derby

QUAD Derby is the hub for more or less all of the creative goings-on, in and around Derby and Derbyshire. As well as several exhibitions in it's ground floor gallery throughout the year (more on that later), there are also weekly and monthly events including DJ nights, creative meet-ups, and arts & crafts sessions. Many of these take place in the purpose-built 'Participation Space' and 'The Box', while the rest take place in the great cafe bar near the main entrance which serves up cake, sandwiches, hot meals and all manner of teas, coffees and alchoholic drinks. It's a great place to meet up, relax and unwind and is manned by friendly, helpful staff.

Should all of that not be enough to tempt you to visit, arguably QUAD's biggest draw, is its two screen cinema showcasing the latest and greatest Hollywood, World and Independent Cinema. Both screens are without-a-doubt, the comfiest in Derby and they'll even let you take your coffee/tea/beer in with you - a rare, but welcome treat these days!

If you're a creative arts student - or even if you're not - Hatch'd can't recommend QUAD highly enough as somewhere to spend your free time while living in the city. To find out more about QUAD, take a look at their website or pop in and grab a brochure.


2. The Cathedral Quarter

Fancy some retail therapy? Look no further than Derby's excellent Cathedral Quarter, a vibrant corner of Derby's bustling city centre. Home to a variety of independent shops and businesses - particularly those of a creative nature - it's a great place to get away from the mundanity of the high street and check out some exciting and original goodies.

There are a myriad bars, cafes and great places to eat amongst the fantastic shops selling bespoke frames, quality clothing and vintage curiosities. A particular highlight - which I was sorely tempted to give an entry all of its own - is the recently re-opened BPM, Derby's only independent record store since the demise of Reveal Records in 2007. BPM is an underground treasure trove, specialising in old LPs and 7" singles. If you're anything like me, you'll quite easily while away hours fingering through the records in there in search of the missing pieces of your own record collection.

Lastly, the street at the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, Sadler Gate plays host to several of Derby's best music venues. As well as regular acoustic nights at Cafe B and Shakespeare, there are also regular full band shows at debatably, Derby's biggest and best venue, The Old Bell, showcasing a mixture of Derby's own musical delights and some big name touring acts. Vines Bar is also a particularly great place to visit as it serves as the HQ of local DJ and promoter collective, 'Apples for Discos'. The AfD team frequently put on great gigs with bands of every genre and also have a really good weekly DJ night playing a truly eclectic range of tunes. The DJ night takes place every Monday night and is free to attend.


3. Our Thriving Music Scene

Derby has a massively underrated and overlooked music scene. Home of numerous incredibly talented and diverse home-grown bands like Crushing Blows, You Animals, My Psychoanalyst and Crash of Rhinos to name but a few, Derby is a great place to be living if you're into live music of any genre. Not only are many of Derby's great bands adored by the locals, but in recent years they've been played on national radio, reviewed favourably by the UK music press and even appeared at huge festivals like T in the Park.

There are lots of great venues in Derby like the aforementioned 'Old Bell' on Sadler Gate and The Victoria Inn across the road from the train station, as well as smaller, more intimate places such as Vines Bar, The Mist and Bar One -all of which play host to Derby's finest as well as welcoming better-known out-of-town bands to the city on a regular basis.

If you happen to be in a band yourself - or end up forming one during your time in Derby - you might just find yourself in need of a rehearsal space. Luckily for you, we have two great ones in Derby in the form of Snug Recording Co. and Dub:Rek, both of which also provide excellent, professional recording facilities for when you're ready to record that platinum-selling debut LP.


4. Galleries and Derby Museum

Derby has several galleries and an excellent museum all within the city centre and consequently, very easy to get to. Firstly QUAD (see our first entry) has a gallery on the ground floor which hosts several exhibitions a year from all the world featuring both historical and contemporary art and artist talks.

A short walk across the market square (next door to the library), Derby Museum and Art Gallery houses "a wide range of important and attractive collections, covering porcelain, paintings, archaeology, history, local regiments, geology and wildlife." It's also the home of the largest collection in any public gallery of the internationally important, local artist Joseph Wright.

There's also a gallery and exhibition space in Deda on Chapel Street that displays an ever changing programme of art including painting, photography and more, by both local and national students. All three buildings are free to visit (although welcome donations) and are a fantastic place to while away a couple of hours, or even gather some valuable research to support your study!


5. Bean Caffe

Hungry? The award-nominated Bean Caffe is situated no more than ten minutes away from all of the University of Derby's halls of residence. Billing itself as the cafe with "a creative vibe", Bean Caffe is situated on the ground floor of creative business incubator, Friar Gate Studios.

Bean serves up a great range of drinks, sandwiches and delicious hot meals using locally-sourced, fairtrade produce and all at affordable prices. They cater for most allergies and dietary requirements and the staff are friendly and welcoming. The venue itself is a tranquil, relaxing environment and the perfect place to take a well-earned break from your work or studies.

Give them a 'like' on Facebook or a follow on Twitter to find out more.


If you'd like to know about anything else that's happening in the city that we haven't mentioned here, then please get in touch on hello@hatchdmagazine.co.uk