Truro might not be first on your list of places to be a student, but it could be the perfect move.
Truro is a city in Cornwall – indeed, it’s the only city in Cornwall! That said, it’s a relatively small city with around 20,000 people.
It’s in the heart of the county, so is never far from a beach or some of the most beautiful countryside you can visit.
Here at Sanctuary Students, we know Truro well, having spent a lot of time there. This gives us a unique insight into life there – both as a student and after university.
Student life in Truro
Truro is home to Truro and Penwith College, a partner institution of the University of Plymouth and the Truro Campus of the University of Exeter Medical School.
Truro and Penwith College offers a wide range of degree courses across a number of subjects. While technically not a university, it’s able to run degree courses. And it runs them well – being awarded ‘Outstanding’ status by OFSTED, the first ‘tertiary’ college to ever be awarded this distinction.
Courses cover teaching, education and training, computing, media, sport, health science, archaeology, law, business, psychology and many more subjects.
The Truro Campus of the University of Exeter Medical School is located on the site of the Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske).
It’s a short distance outside the city centre and provides education as part of environment, human health, medicine and surgery courses.
Living costs for students
Truro is the only city in Cornwall, which is deep in the south west of England. Living costs are relatively low for everyday things, but visiting tourist destinations can quickly become expensive.
As a student in Truro, everyday living is relatively cheap. Property prices are modest, so rents tend to be relatively cheap.
Getting around, eating, drinking and entertainment are also reasonably priced – except in tourist season, of course! Truro itself doesn’t get overwhelmed by tourists, but Cornwall as a county does. You’ll need to time your days out carefully if you want to avoid paying the tourist markup.
Getting around, trains, taxis, buses and Ubers are all reasonably priced with decent coverage within the city limits. Public transport outside the city is limited, so if you want to wander, you’re going to need a car.
Eating out as a student in Truro is pretty good. Cornwall is known for its good food – especially the abundance of fresh seafood.
Local highlights include Chorley's Truro, The Cornish Vegan, The Rising Sun Pub, Penrose Kitchen, Bread & Butter, Hooked Restaurant & Bar, Kathmandu Palace, Tabb's Restaurant, Yak and Yeti, Coffee Traders, Mannings Bar & Restaurant, Bodega 18 Tapas Bar, The Thomas Daniell, The Heron Inn, The Shanaz Indian Restaurant and many others.
Despite being a modest size, there’s a lot to eat and drink in the city, offering a decent variety of multinational cuisines.
Nightlife in Truro is quieter than many other cities. There are a couple of clubs, but it doesn’t have the profile of larger cities, like Exeter.
That said, there is still plenty to see and do when the sun goes down.
Highlights of nightlife in Truro include On The Rocks, The Victory, The Willian IV, Clock and Key, Vanilla, The Office, Zafiros Bar, Daniell Arms, Kazbah Truro, The Sanctuary, Déjà vu, The Speakeasy, The Buffalo Bar, The Wine Barrel and many others.
Venture outside the city and you’ll come across pubs, restaurants and bars across the coast and in surrounding towns, but you’ll need to drive.
Shopping as a student
Truro doesn’t have shopping centres or out of town malls like other cities. This gives it an old world charm that is actually quite refreshing.
The city centre is full of independent stores, boutiques and galleries. Chains are also represented here, but rather than new builds, fit into existing buildings, which adds to that aura of old world charm.
Visit Pydar Street and King Street for small stores and independents. River Street and Victoria Square both have surf shops, clothing shops and life’s essentials.
The Farmers Market on Lemon Quay is open Wednesdays and Saturdays for fresh food, local produce and artisanal food and drink.
Thanks to relatively sensible property prices, rents in Truro are reasonable. Despite an upturn in prices after the pandemic, things are gradually calming down to a more sustainable level.
Both Penwith College and the Truro Campus of the University of Exeter Medical School have their own halls.
There are a number of private landlords also offering HMOs and student accommodation in Truro. Most is a short distance from the city centre but there are some along the A390 close to the hospital.
Sanctuary Students has high quality student accommodation in Truro near Treliske Hospital. It can house students and key workers and provides new accommodation with all modern conveniences.
Rooms are spacious, some ensuite, all are furnished with most of what you’ll need and rent is fully inclusive. It’s the logical choice if you’re studying at Royal Cornwall Hospital.
Places to visit
Truro is a modest city within one of the most visited counties in the UK. The city itself is friendly and has plenty to see and do. Venture outside the city and you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Highlights of Truro include Truro Cathedral, Royal Cornwall Museum, Trelissick, Victoria Gardens, Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Poppy Cottage Garden, Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, King Harry Ferry, Lemon Street Market, Skinner’s Brewery, Tregothnan, St Agnes Heritage Coast, Hall for Cornwall, Old Bakery Studios and more besides.
If it’s the beach you want, Cornwall has plenty of them. Some sandy, some rocky but all beautiful.
Truro is easy to drive around, parking is plentiful and even rush hour is nothing like other cities.
There are no motorways in Cornwall, so you’ll likely arrive by rail or by the A30, A39 or A390. All branch off from the M5 in Devon and provide quick and easy access to Truro.
The city does have a train station to the west of the city and a short walk from class. It’s part of the Intercity network and goes down to Penzance and up to London. Change at Exeter or Bristol for other destinations.
Buses are plentiful within the city centre but thin out considerably as soon as you leave Truro.
The closest airport is Newquay, which flies to some destinations within the UK and Europe. Otherwise, you’ll need to get to Exeter or Bristol for flights further afield.
Working as a student
Working as a student in Truro can be a challenge outside of tourist season. Cornwall is a deprived county with limited work and opportunities.
However, all that changes in summer when millions of tourists descend on the county.
If you want work during the off-season, you may struggle. There are opportunities but they are limited.
If you want to work in the high season, you’ll find plenty. It will be the usual waiting, bar work, guiding, lifeguarding or retail work but it’s a great way to spend a summer.
Students in Truro
Truro is a lovely city. Small, friendly and very welcoming. It’s also in one of the most picturesque cities in England.
It doesn’t have the depth and breadth of life a larger city has, but neither does it have the challenges.
If you’re looking for a friendly, inclusive student experience in an easy-going location, there are few better places than Cornwall!
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