iQ in the city: Preston

City guide Preston Student life Social life

Home to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and nearby iQ Kopa, Preston lies just over 30 miles north of Manchester and Liverpool, not far from the picturesque Forest of Bowland region. The M6 links the city to the Lake District and, eventually, Scotland – you can drive to the border in around 90 minutes. You don’t have to travel far from campus to find some interesting spots, though… Here’s our guide to what’s on your doorstep at iQ Kopa.


The iQ city guide to Preston




The Continental – 30 min walk

Preston lies on the River Ribble, and down by the riverside you’ll find The Continental. While it may look like a pretty unassuming pub from the outside, it puts on a variety of live events in its dedicated event space, including music, poetry, film and open mic comedy nights. The enticing food menu and a great range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks also make The Continental worth seeking out and, as an extra plus, it’s right by Avenham Park, one of Preston’s most beautiful green spaces.


53 Degrees – 7 min walk

UCLan students are fortunate to have a major entertainment venue on campus. 53 Degrees can accommodate 1500 people and has hosted The Courteeners, Biffy Clyro, Ellie Goulding and Kasabian in its time. It came to the point of closing down a few years back, but is now showing signs of life again, with an appearance by Electric Six one of the recent highlights.


The Ferret – 8 min walk

Within a handy stroll of both the university and Kopa, The Ferret is another place where eating and live entertainment go hand-in-hand. The music is live and, at times, loud, with a broad range of genres covered – even Ed Sheeran played here a few years back before world domination called. Food is casual and generous, with wittily-named plates of Americana (‘I Fought the Slaw’) and cool craft beers. ‘Lots of very good beards and tattoos’, enthuses an appreciative TripAdvisor reviewer. Nice.


Deepdale Stadium – 20 min walk

If you like your entertainment with a half-time pie, the home of Preston North End football club is the place for you. A good atmosphere on match days, so the enthusiastic local fans are sure to welcome a few newcomers to the fold. A statue honouring Preston footballing legend Tom Finney, regarded as one of the game’s all-time greats, can be seen outside the ground.


Harris Museum & Art Gallery –  14 min walk

A cultural hub on Preston’s Market Square, this local landmark was established in the 19th century and has been going strong ever since. You are sure to become familiar with this striking building as it also houses the local library. Collections cover fine and decorative art, costume, textiles and photography, and with a regularly changing line-up of exhibitions charting Preston’s history, there's always something going on in The Harris.



Food and drink


We Don’t Give a Fork – 16 min walk

Conveniently located for a casual lunch or dinner in the city centre, this cheeky independent burger joint is a far cry from the golden arches. Aiming to produce the best burgers Preston has ever seen, the beef is local and you can build you burger the way you like it, from bun to sauce. It’s not all about the cow, with chicken, lamb and veggie options on the menu too.


Deli-licious – 17 min walk

A cosy spot about halfway down Cannon Street, this popular café offers great value Polish and other European dishes, close to Preston’s main shopping area. Great for breakfast, a proper coffee or a big club sandwich with fries at lunchtime, you won’t leave this friendly little place hungry – and we bet you will be back for more.


Coco’s Soul Food – 6 min walk

A colourful place with a stellar reputation, Coco’s is the stuff of local legend. Located on Friargate, just down the road from Kopa, its menu is packed full of feel-good flavours from around the world, including Caribbean, African and Mexican favourites which will keep you coming back to make new foodie discoveries. It can get busy – you’ll find plenty of your fellow students in there – but it’s seriously worth the wait.


Jaffa – 8 min walk

Another highly-rated spot which is pleasingly nearby, Jaffa offers a delightful menu of Mediterranean and world cuisine. There’s not much they don’t do, with pizza, pasta and burgers on the menu, and the tempting kebabs and koftas definitely warrant further investigation. Cooking fresh and fast, this place could become a big part of your student years in Preston.





Fishergate – 15 min walk

Sharing its name with one of our main shopping streets, this large centre forms one of Preston’s main retail hubs. With a focus on fashion, there’s a good mix of famous names and lesser-known retailers, with TK Maxx, Debenhams and Primark among the big-hitters. A handy Starbucks at the entrance is a good place from which to survey the scene (or plan your mall route).


Miller Arcade – 14 min walk

Just down the street from The Harris and the Guild Hall Theatre, the Miller Arcade is an ornate building full of vintage charm – it was actually Preston’s first indoor shopping centre, opened in 1899. It’s certainly worth a look even if you don’t spend anything in the French Connection, lunch in the surprisingly upscale burger restaurant Iceburg, or sample a sweet treat at pudding palace Heavenly Desserts.


Preston Market – 12 min walk

One thing you can’t miss as you wander around Preston is its covered marketplace on Earl Street/ Lancaster Road. The overhead canopy dates from 1875 and the rest has had a major upgrade in recent years, creating a modern shopping experience with an old-school twist. Great for fresh meat, fish and vegetables, the market has recently added a new innovation – the Box Market, with retailers trading from repurposed shipping containers.


Nisa Local – 0 min walk

We might be a little bit biased, but this convenience store at the bottom of our building is a blessing when you run out of milk or just can’t face the walk into town after a hard day’s study. It’s open until 11pm most nights, and has some good offers – you might just become a regular. Our local fish and chip shop is across the road too, if you fancy jazzing those up with a bottle of wine/ ketchup.





It’s really easy to walk into the town centre from iQ Kopa, but if you need to get further, there are plenty of bus routes running nearby. The bus station is centrally located on Tithebarn Street, about 13 minutes’ walk away. Preston Train Station is around 18 minutes away, near the Fishergate centre.

For more details about public transport in Preston, visit this page on the Preston City Council website.


Your iQ team will be happy to help you get to know Preston better, so please ask at Reception if you need any help. And if you find somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife


Meet the Team: iQ Kopa, Preston

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