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tmacgolf Jun 11th, 2004 02:53 PM

Nottingham or Newcastle? Please Help!
Hi - I am a college student from the U.S. (Illinois) who will be studying in the UK next semester! My choices are between Nottingham and Newcastle? I have no idea??!! I have been reading the information from the Universities but wanted to get some advice from someone who actually has been in these areas. Any Pros and Cons on these areas and these universities would be very much appreciated! I have to decide by June 15! Thank you :)

cigalechanta Jun 11th, 2004 03:07 PM

I haven't been to Newcastle, but spent a week-end in Nottingham that I found very pleasant. Though I was visiting a British family, I was about by myself during the day and felt welcome everywhere I stopped.

tmacgolf Jun 11th, 2004 03:13 PM

Thank you ~ I was so excited that I got a reply! I'm leaning more towards Nottingham because somewhere it said Newcastle was a "blue collar town" More replies are welcome!! :)

Mucky Jun 11th, 2004 03:22 PM

Hi tmacgolf,
doesn't it depend upon what you are studying?
Some universities are more renowned for their subjects than others. Try to keep this in mind.
Otherwise try to consider the difficulties you might come up against in these places. With full respect to Newcastle but I can't understand a word they say and I am a South Walien brit.I am sure they have difficulty with my accent too.So be careful.


cigalechanta Jun 11th, 2004 03:28 PM

I agree, it should be what's the better school for you.
Mucky, my friends took me to Snowdownia on that trip to another friend's home.. I loved the area but wasn't crazy over Cardif, but must go back and not judge by week-end visits.

t_racy1402 Jun 11th, 2004 03:55 PM

hi tmacgolf

I agree with Mucky that you have to look further into both Universities and ascertain which one can offer you the best education wise.

I've have just returned to Manchester (where I originate from) after spending 10 years living in Newcastle. I enjoyed my life up there, the people are very friend and personally would suggest it has more to offer you than Nottingham. It has a decent "active" nightlife, a number of tourist attractions and you can also venture a little further afield to the coast, countryside or even Scotland (2.5hrs journey by car). You will easily get use to Geordie accent, so don't worry about that. I've never been to Nottingham and to be honest, not that overally keen on visiting the place....heard some bad reports on the tv about it (drinking culture), unsure if they are true though??

Hope this snippet of information helps.
Good luck with your choice.

tmacgolf Jun 11th, 2004 04:11 PM

WOW - You guys rock! I am so impressed that you read my mail and posted all these great replies! (I am new to this site). I am a biology/pre-med major. The study abroad office pointed me in the direction of these 2 universities because of their Biology programs. My first choice was Leeds, but too many people had seniority over me (I'm an incoming sophomore and most are juniors and seniors) to get it. Keep the messages coming - I love it!

papagena Jun 11th, 2004 04:25 PM

Both universities have excellent medical schools, so the teaching should be good whichever you choose.

Calling Newcastle a 'blue collar town' isn't really fair; there are poorer areas around the outskirts of the city (like in all UK cities), but the centre is good for theatres, galleries, restaurants etc. The nightlife is supposed to be great.

janis Jun 11th, 2004 08:45 PM

To be honest both places would be great - assuming both have good reps in your field.

Personally I'd choose Newcastle - a lively city, only a quick train ride from Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland, convenient for exploring Hadrian's Wall and other parts of N. England.

Nottingham would be a faster trip into London - but otherwise Newcastle is a more interesting area..

Nigello Jun 11th, 2004 11:06 PM

I know both cities only vaguely, but would prefer Newcastle. It is very much 'on the up' as a city with lots of investment, especially in the shape of arts and culture. The university is well respected and well established, and the city is lively. True, it has parts that are synonymous with working-class excess. Go to the Bigg Market of a Saturday night to find out! Transport links to London are good, as they are to Scotland. You can fly to several European cities easily too. It will be colder and darker in the winter than Nottingham, but heavy snows are unlikely.
I would suggest logging on to both of the universities' websites. Also look at for its verdict on each university.
One word of caution/encouragement - students in the UK like to drink, a lot and often. Beer is the social lubricant of choice and tee-totallers are treated suspiciously!
Enjoy it!

flanneruk Jun 11th, 2004 11:19 PM

Why does being a 'blue collar' town disqualify it?

If proximity to working-class people is a problem for you, you really shouldn't come to Britain. There's no British university locked away in ivy-towered seclusion: even Oxford has a car plant.

If OTOH you're concerned about smoking factories, don't be. We're de-industrialised. Both Nottingham and Newcastle have almost entirely eliminated their manufacturing and extractive industries and replaced them by the same call centres, biotech businesses and retail parks as the rest of Britain.

If you're looking at what us old farts call the real universities in the two cities, Nottingham is now consistently rated in the lower half of Britain's premier league - not up there with Cambridge, LSE or Imperial, but well ahead of the rest of the pack. Newcastle isn't up there, but is still in with the grown-ups. (if you've not got the overall ratings, there's a useful summary at

Newcastle is a LOT more highly rated for medicine - ahead, in the current rankings, of Oxford, Cambridge and even Edinburgh(,,6734,00.html)

Newcastle, as previous posters point out, has a long-standing reputation as a highly social place (which in Britain means serious, gregarious, prolonged drinking) I've never met anyone who lived there for an extended period who's not a fan. We don't have those silly laws here that say people old enough to go to war can't drink BTW. And it's close to really spectacular (well, by our standards), coastlines, hill walking, and Durham, Lindisfarne and Hadrian's Wall.

Nottingham has a long-established reputation as being one of Britain's most boring places. I ran a small plant there for several years and wholeheartedly agree. The boom in higher education has brought an influx of younger people into its town centre at night, where previously there was utter silence and seclusion. Consequently the town does now attract stories about mass drunkenness (but then there really arent't many other things to report about Nottingham).

Such stories don't get printed about Newcastle for the same reason US papers don't carry stories like "tall buildings found in New York" or "Mafia boss found living in New Jersey". And Novocastrians - aka Geordies - are famed for their ability to hold their beer - or at least the first eight pints.

Nottingham IS close to lots of pleasant countryside, and does have some civic history. But Newcastle is a real former industrial capital ofthe world. Stuffed with 19th C buildings. Whenever I've stayed there, it's been in someone's rambling Victorian villa. Often poorly heated, BTW: by our standards it's damn cold (though of course tropical by the standards of Illinois winters. Nonetheless, our damp cold can make 45 Fahrenheit feel more miserable than several degrees below freezing in the US, and 45 is mild by NCL winter standards)

But to be honest, it really is a a no-brainer. Anyone of undergraduate age who'd prefer Nottingham to Newcastle has obviously passed from adolesence to senility already. Even people I know who studied at Nottingham agree.

Mucky Jun 12th, 2004 01:07 AM

Hi Chigalechanta, just a quick hijack...sorry tmacgolf.
I am really disapointed that your Cardiff experience was not as you or I for that matter would have expected.
I would love to hear opinions, maybe I can help with info to make it beter for your next visit.
Please let me know,


Thanks tmacgolf

angel_UK Jun 12th, 2004 04:45 AM

Hi tmacgolf. I would also recommend Newcastle. We took my daughter and her friend to Quayside for her 18th birthday and they had a fantastic time! She is going back this year for her birthday too.

The nightlife in Quayside is vibrant,and all the bars and restaurants are competitively priced. has reviews of most of the bars/clubs and restaurants there.

Good luck :)

Gardyloo Jun 12th, 2004 07:27 AM

I was offered a teaching position at Nottingham many a year ago, and I honestly didn't know much about the city. Upon closer investigation I took a position in Glasgow.

tmacgolf Jun 12th, 2004 08:39 AM

Hi all - Sorry to flanneruk and papagena if I offended you by saying I read Newcastle was a blue collar town. That was one thing I read at the beginning of my search. I'm not stuffy or anything and that wouldnt really bother me as long as there isnt a lot of crime in the area of the university. The more I see about Newcastle the more I like it. Although I would consider myself conservative compared to what I know about Britain students. By the way, what are tee-totallers? Maybe I am one! haha. Thank you all for these websites - very helpful!! Your friend, Courtney :)

m_kingdom2 Jun 12th, 2004 08:45 AM

Newcastle has a pleasant water side area which has been re-developed, good shopping facilities, bars, and restaurants.

Nottingham lacks the water, the warmth and the magic of Newcastle. Again it has excellent shopping and dining available.

As universities, Nottingham is regarded as superior to Newcastle in recent surveys.

papagena Jun 12th, 2004 08:46 AM

No offence taken, I just didn't think it was a particularly accurate description.

A teetotaler is someone who doesn't drink alcohol.

zippo Jun 12th, 2004 09:17 AM

Nottingham (the town) used to be famed for having a very high female/male ratio.

tmacgolf Jun 12th, 2004 11:04 AM

What happens to tee totaler's in the UK? I am a tee totaler - chuckles :)

Xenos Jun 13th, 2004 02:16 AM

"What happens to tee totaler's in the UK?"

I've lived in the UK for all of my 50 years and the only tee-totallers I know are a few Muslims (and some of them cheat occasionally!) and my mother, who can't drink alcohol for medical reasons.

Generally speaking in the UK, tee-totallers are looked upon as somewhat unusual, if not strange - a bit like veggies were 40 years ago. Sorry to say it, but many of your fellow students may assume that you're either a reformed alcoholic, or have very radical (for the UK) religious beliefs, which one depends on your general attitude and demeanour.


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