The Vibrant Student Life of Chichester

By Dan Goodwin

Chichester, a city steeped in history and nestled on the southern coast of England, offers more than just picturesque landscapes and a rich cultural heritage. Chichester, although small, is home to the University of Chichester, providing students with a close-knit academic community and a supportive environment for personal and professional growth.

As a student who’s lived and studied here for 3 years now, let me take you on a short tour of the delightful city, beyond textbooks and deadlines, into the heart of what makes Chichester a student haven.

The City After Dark: Chichester's Nightlife Unveiled

So, after a day of classes and exploring, where does a student in Chichester head for a good time?

Pubs in Chichester:

Chichester boasts a range of pubs with over 15 inside the city walls, each with its unique charm. Here are some of my favourites:

The Nags Head:

Situated in the heart of Chichester, The Nags Head is a traditional English pub offering a range of local and international beers. With its warm and friendly ambience, it's a great place to gather with friends for a pint or two. It’s also home to one of my favourite Sunday roasts in Chichester!

The Escapist:

The Escapist is a Micropub right in the heart of Chichester that’s independently run. They specialise in a huge variety of Craft beer and Artisan drinks. It's the perfect in-between of a traditional pub and a late-night bar, making it the perfect spot for some social drinks.


The wonderfully traditional Greene King Inn sits at the heart of historic Chichester providing freshly prepared, irresistible food all day, every day. Grab a drink and get comfy.

The Fountain Inn:

Steeped in history, The Fountain Inn is a quintessential English pub with a charming atmosphere. With its traditional pub menu and well-kept ales, it offers a taste of old-world charm for those seeking a cosy night out.

The Duke & Rye:

The Duke & Rye is one of my favourite pubs in Chichester, where you get expect great food, drink and often live entertainment. Situated in an ex-revival stone church, it’s a very picturesque pub full of history. They often do great deals on Cocktails and sometimes offer special student discounts on their Facebook page, making it a hotspot for many local students.  

A pub in a former Church in Chichester

Dance the Night Away:

Chichester's nightlife scene doesn't disappoint. The Vestry, The Chantry and the Foundry, best described as pub clubs all offer lively atmospheres, with DJs spinning tunes that keep the dance floors packed until the early hours. With regular events and student nights, you won't be short of options for a really good night out!

My top attractions for young people in Chichester:

Chichester isn't just about the nights; there's a whole world to explore during the day. Ever wondered about the stories Chichester Cathedral could tell? It's not just a landmark; it's a peaceful space where you can soak in centuries of history….

Explore Chichester Cathedral:

Discover the rich history and beautiful architecture of Chichester Cathedral. It's not only a cultural landmark but also a peaceful space for reflection.

Chichester Festival Theatre:

Check out the diverse range of performances, from plays to musicals, at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Students can access offers for those aged between 16-30 Prologue with tickets for as little as £5 without any membership fees! There’s also 10% off all food and drink in the café if you show your student ID. Find out more here

Visit Oxmarket Contemporary Gallery:

Art enthusiasts can explore Oxmarket Contemporary, which is a volunteer-run charity which hosts more than 150 high-quality exhibitions a year and is a hub for artists and designers. Oxmarket Contemporary is located in St Andrew’s Court, off East Street, in central Chichester and is also free of charge. This is near the centre of town and very easily accessible.

Take a Stroll at Chichester Harbour:

Enjoy the scenic beauty of Chichester Harbour. Chichester Harbour is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Take a walk along the shoreline admiring the twisted, wind-blown trees, have a picnic, or try out water sports if you're feeling adventurous or you can even do a harbour tour. You can get the stagecoach Route 53 from Chichester to Itchenor and walk from there to the harbourside.  

Trendy Thrift & Charity Shop Finds in Chichester:

Now, let me spill the beans on Chichester's best-kept secret – our Thrift and Charity shops. Chichester's vibrant thrift and charity shop scene is a treasure trove for students seeking unique, budget-friendly fashion. Here are some of my personal favourites ….

Oxfam Boutique (East Street):

A standout among Chichester's thrift shops, Oxfam Boutique on East Street offers a curated selection of second-hand clothing, accessories, and vintage items. Students flock here for its trendy yet affordable options, with proceeds supporting Oxfam's charitable initiatives.

Chestnut Tree House Charity Shop (North Street):

Nestled on North Street, this charity shop is a local favourite. Students can discover hidden gems, from chic clothing to quirky accessories. Shopping here not only adds to your wardrobe but also supports Chestnut Tree House's vital work with children and families.

Cancer Research UK (East Street):

Situated on East Street, the Cancer Research UK thrift shop is a must-visit for those searching for budget-friendly fashion. With regularly updated stock, students can explore racks filled with stylish clothing and accessories while supporting cancer research initiatives.

St. Wilfrid's Hospice (North Street):

St. Wilfrid's Hospice on North Street offers a wide selection of second-hand clothing and accessories. Students exploring this thrift shop will discover not only trendy finds but also contribute to the hospice's compassionate care for those with life-limiting illnesses.

Embarking on a thrift shopping adventure in Chichester will allow you to curate a wardrobe that reflects your unique style while also supporting charitable causes. These thrift and charity shops are not only fashion-forward but also socially responsible, making them go-to spots for students seeking trendy, sustainable finds.

South Downs Escapes:

Being here for three years has allowed me to discover the hidden gems around Chichester, like West Wittering Beach with its sandy shores and clear blue waters. Butser Hill, which is just over the county border in Hampshire, and The Trundle hill – these aren't just names; they're gateways to breathtaking views and outdoor adventures.

West Wittering Beach:

Located in the southwest of Chichester, West Wittering Beach is renowned for its sandy shores and clear blue waters. It is a popular destination for sunbathing, beach games, and water sports. The beach offers stunning views of Chichester Harbour and the South Downs in the background. There are a variety of buses run by Stagecoach, which make it easy to get to (plus journeys are capped at £2 making it affordable).

Butser Hill:

This is the highest point in the South Downs National Park. The climb to the summit rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, including the Meon Valley, South Downs and beyond. On a clear day, the Isle of Wight can be visible in the distance!! To travel in the summer months, take a train to Petersfield and make use of the 37/38 Bus route to Clanfield where you can begin your walk.

The Trundle:

The Trundle is another popular destination, with a well-marked trail leading to the top of the hill. Once at the top, it provides hikers and walkers with panoramic views of the Chichester area, including Chichester Cathedral and the Chichester Harbour. Similar to Butser Hill, on clear days even the Isle of Wight can be visible in the distance. The Stagecoach route 60 bus to West Dean or Singleton will get you to within a short hike to The Trundle.  


So, that's a glimpse into my life in Chichester. If you're curious for more insider tips and stories, explore further on The Great Sussex Way website for more adventures in and around Chichester.

By Dan Goodwin
December 2023