Have you ever had a single tear roll down your cheek because you saw how much money it cost to supposedly “have fun”? Those moments when you look around and realize that literally everything costs money can be daunting and scary when you know that you have to buy things you need but also things you want. Well, as a student in Guildford, there are more affordable ways to have free/cheap fun with friends around campus, Guildford, London and beyond.
On Campus: The University of Surrey is well aware that students like cheap and like fun, so they do a pretty good job at providing options for you to have both. The Student Union on campus has a whole host of events and activities that are offered at reasonable prices if not for free, that you can find here. For example, you can take a day trip to Brighton for 8 pounds 50 and explore the area, where it would cost more than double to travel there with a 16-25 rail card and over 30 pounds without a rail card. They have trips to other areas in the UK such as Salisbury, Portsmouth and Canterbury all for a much more reasonable price than getting a ticket yourself. The campus also Hari’s bar, a cheaper bar and great hangout spot that has free open mike nights on Thursdays and Hari’s Challenge (aka pub quiz night) on some Tuesdays for only 1 pound. You can get tickets to the bigger events here, which also includes cheaper tickets to activities like musicals and like Playzone which is basically a giant indoor adventure area that has nights for adults to bring out their inner child. The Student Union also offers more chill nights, like free movie nights on campus and free zumba classes (which I’m just discovering as we speak, by the way) in Rubix, the on campus club. This might sound weird, but the Rubix is a great open space that also hosts the on campus farmer’s market on Thursdays (that has much cheaper produce options) and transforms into a nightclub that also has cheap drinks and pretty baller music.
In Guildford: Though Guildford can be a little pricy and it may feel like all you can do in the town center is spend money, there are ways to make Guildford more affordable. For example, as mentioned in a previous post, UNiDAYS is an app you can download on your phone that offers discounts for students, some of them are long standing, like 20% discount on meals at Bill’s Restaurant during week days, and some are for a limited time. There are also stores like MUJI and Topshop that offer 10% discount for students if you show them your ID. Guildford also has some pretty decent charity shops around town (thrift stores that donate the proceeds to charity). There are also some beautiful hikes around Guildford! Though it was snowing and freezing cold yesterday, I went on an amazing hike to St. Martha’s Church which was easily accessible from the town center but felt miles away from any city. There are more incredible trails to check out around the Surrey hills, you can check out some of the routes here.
In London: The best way to explore the different hubs of London is by walking around. Though I’m a big advocate for walking, London is a surprisingly easy city to navigate by foot and you get more exposure to the different things the city has to offer. If you didn’t know already, the majority of the museums like the Tate Modern, the Serpentine gallery, the Natural History museum, etc. are not only totally awesome but are also free entry!! They have many attractions around the city as well, like the weekly Flea on Flat Iron Square in the Southwark that sells antiques and there are often free gigs around town, this is a great resource for finding free activities.
Free fun and cheap fun do exist, I promise! They just take a little bit of research and digging around to find 🙂