Campus is a little bit like a bubble. Everything you could possible need to survive is quite literally on your doorstep. Shops selling food, toiletries and even clothes (well, hoodies) make up the nucleus of campus: Market Square. To ensure you don’t fall into the predictable trap of spending first year living off pot-noodles, it may be sensible to occasionally venture off campus for more varied shops. This won’t be a challenge with York city centre only a 20 minute walk or five minute bus ride away.
Here is a little bit about the various shopping options, on and off campus:
On Campus – Market Square
Costcutter is the small and ironically named supermarket which takes principle position on Market Square. Contrary to possible interpretation, Costcutter is not a cheap place to do your weekly food shop. It’s handy for popping in for milk or bread (or wine) but the rest of it is pretty pricey. However, all is not lost; numerous cheap supermarkets surround campus. Think Aldi, Lidl, Netto, Morrisons, Iceland, and Asda. Most of these are within easy walking distance of campus and all offer great value.
Your Shop would be best described as a large newsagents. It sits next door to Costcutter and all proceeds go to the Students’ Union. Come here for sandwiches, snacks and – more importantly – the surprisingly cheap pick ‘n’ mix. Magazines and newspapers are also well stocked. One of the great things about being a student is the price of newspapers; most papers cost between 30 and 40 pence. Your Shop also stocks hoodies in various colours with YORK printed across the front, just in case you love it that much….
Up the stairs on the balcony above Costcutter is the chain bookshop, Blackwell. Blackwell stocks almost every text required for every course as well as a lot of other useful texts and reading. With discounted online bookstores such as Amazon you may wonder how the slightly pricey Blackwell survives. Here’s the truth: lazy students. Everyone (well, almost) at some point or another has purchased a last-minute text from Blackwells through absolute lack of organisation. When you realise you need a certain book for tomorrow’s seminar, you will thanks your lucky stars for the existence of this shop on your doorstep.
There are cash points on campus and all over town. On campus there are two by Costcutter in Market Square, one by Vanbrugh College, and one by James College near the Student Centre and Physics building.
There are numerous pharmacies in town as well as a couple a ten minute walk away from campus. There is a Doctors surgery on campus meaning any minor ailments are easily treatable without going far.
Monks Cross Retail Park
After you arrive and unpack you will doubtless realise you have forgotten something or other. If you are lucky enough to have car-driving parents still at hand when this revelation occurs, then drag them off to Monks Cross Retail Park where you will find a park of numerous huge warehouses housing various shops. Here you will be able to pick up the extension lead that it turns out your new room requires and the batteries you forgot to buy for your new alarm clock.
When you realise that most of the clothes you have brought with you are inappropriate for York’s ocassional sub-zero temperature (seriously, pack waaarrrm people), you may need to hit the shops for some cosy fur. However, if your student budget won’t stretch to Topshop or the like located in York city centre, then head for the Designer Outlet. A bus ride away from campus (catch it from town), this Outlet offers cut-price designer items from shops such as French Connection, GAP, Ralph Lauren Armani and L K Bennett, as well as a discounted costmetics shop selling MAC at under a tenner – wahey!
Heslington village is just a stone’s throw from campus and is the location of branches of four major banks: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, and NatWest (there are also cash points on campus in Market Square and just outside Vanbrugh). There is also a large Post Office and two local pubs in the village.
Last but definitely not least, Browns: “the best sandwiches in the world”. This is what the sign outside the door claims – some people call it “sandwich heaven”. Brown’s sandwich shop is also situated in Heslington village. If you are feeling down – or merely greedy – then head over. Just make sure you don’t do it everyday!