Moving away from home for the first time is scary. Therefore, it is important to have a go-to guide to get started. In this guide, we have listed the key need-to-know information about being a student in Belfast.
When arriving in Belfast, within the first day you will more-than-likely hear the usual debate: Jordanstown versus Queens. “Jordanstown students colour with crayons” and “Jordanstown students are Queen’s rejects” being popular arguments. All in jest of course.
On arrival, you will also be bombarded with ‘Club Reps’ convincing you their nightclub is the best and offering free entry wristbands, guestlist, and many freebies and lanyards. Take advantage. Even if you haven’t decided where to go, at least you will have options for free entry. Every student in Belfast has a collection of club lanyards hanging in their room.
Areas of Interest
Belfast is a big city and there are many areas which you will explore while studying. However, here are the most important places you will spend time as a student.
Holylands, aka Party Central
If you decide to live in the Holylands, or you have a friend who decides to live there, you will 100 percent see many crazy things. From people waking up in the morning in their garden, to the long ‘Rock the Boat’ line on St. Patrick’s Day. You will also become a regular at both Hatfield and The Rose and Crown.
The McClay Library is the main library at Queen’s University Belfast. Of course, we all leave things until the week before its due date to complete. During exam season the McClay becomes extremely crowded and unless you arrive at 9 am you are very unlikely to find a seat. However, this time of year is also the best time to be in the McClay. Many students will end up spending many hours and ‘allnighters’ in the library and it becomes a community. At night, the canteen section becomes a fast food haven, and everyone talks and stresses out together.
Halls/ student housing
In 2018 Queen’s University built two new student accommodation buildings in the city centre. However, in my opinion, Elms Village, BT9, is the best option for first years. Instead of an apartment block, it is much more of a community. One of the aspects which help this community are the grassy areas and the BBQ pits, making summer a fun time to chill out with your newly made friends.
There are many nightclubs for students to enjoy in Belfast. Here are some clubs which are popular among Belfast students.
Limelight is definitely one of, if not the, most popular nightclubs for students. It is iconic, having been around for many years. They are open Monday to Saturday and have a different theme night each night. A the start of each semester make sure to buy your Scratch Monday ticket in advance, otherwise, be prepared to arrive as soon as the doors open. Every student has been at least once, enjoying cheesy music and ‘Africa’ by Toto, and have had one too many Chocolate Tequila shots. Every student has had a week where they have accidentally gone here three times in the one week.
To save money on Tuesdays and Thursdays, befriend a club rep and ask to be put on the guest list. They even offer a Techno night on Wednesdays, also providing drink promos and guest list.
Okay, this nightclub is not as gross as it sounds. It is actually one of the most popular nightclubs for Belfast students. Their main student nights are Tuesday (Craic’s 90) and Thursday (dsqo). Both nights offer drink promos and amazing music for all to enjoy and dance to. As it was recently renovated in 2018 there is much more room to boogie.
To help those student pockets we recommend finding a club rep and asking to be put onto the guestlist for cheaper entry.
Undeniably one of the best aspects of this club is the smoking area. It is large with two stories. There is also a large tree in the centre and is decorated all over with fairy lights.
Their Facebook pages are very much catered for students also:
Another oldie. Everyone has stepped into Thompson’s Garage at least once during their time as a Belfast student. It is in the middle of Belfast city centre and offers a club night every night, Monday-Sunday.
Again, try to get onto guestlist for cheaper entry. We’re students! We can’t afford to pay full price for entry into a nightclub!
Belfast offers a range of clubs for everyone. As much as everyone enjoys Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter- it doesn’t entirely suit the regular student’s price range. Therefore we have listed a couple of the best student bars in Belfast.
This bar is the perfect mix of nerdy and funky. It is a gamer’s dream, offering many arcade games and themed Jamjars: next time you are there try a Harley Quin.
They offer cheap drinks and great quizzes weekly. They also have some club nights in their upstairs area. As well as karaoke, beer pong tournaments and much more.
Cheap and cheerful. Located on Elmwood Avenue right next to Queen’s University, this pub offers great food and cheap drinks and cocktail jugs. What more could a student ask for!
This bar also offers a large beer garden full of twinkly fairy lights and live music some nights.
The sun is shining for the next couple of days!! Make the most of it in our Fab beer garden!! No better way to relax!
The heart of Queen’s University, the Student Union Bar. With a large outdoor area, a pool table area and cheap drinks, it is one of the best places for students to chill at.
They also offer quizzes and show many sports games and special viewings of shows, such as the Love Island Finale. As their main target is Belfast students, they keep their events and prices aimed at this audience.
In my opinion, this bar is definitely one which students should visit. An Irish bar, offering live music and a great atmosphere. It is ideally located opposite from Filthy McNastys, offering students the option to go between the two areas.
As always we have live music 7 nights a week, come for the craic stay for the Whiskey! #StraightToThePoints
There are many restaurants and cafes nearby for students to enjoy. Here, in this student guide, are two favourites of all students:
A cure for all student hangovers. This cafe offers Berocca in its drink menu and all-day breakfasts. Definitely catering for students and their hangovers.
As a student in Belfast, you will definitely make Boojum a regular place to eat. The closest to Queen’s University is the one on Botanic Avenue. However, there are many scattered across Belfast. Dara O’Briain has gone as far as calling Boojum the home of the best boojum in the world.
This is a burrito bar which offers burritos, burrito bowls and much more. Every student has a loyalty card and awaits the day they receive their well deserved Boojum T-Shirt when they have 40 stamps. You will also see some proudly wearing their T-Shirt around the campus.
Have you visited or been a student in Belfast? Let us know in the comments section below!
If you enjoyed this Belfast student guide, be sure to check out more posts about life in Belfast:
24 Hours in Belfast: Experience the Best of Northern Ireland’s Capital City | The Wonders of Festival Fools in Belfast, Northern Ireland | Best Restaurants in Belfast, Northern Ireland | Culture Night in Belfast