Enjoying a night out can be a really fun part of university life. We're here to help you take steps to ensure your night out is a great one, and most importantly, a safe one.
Being in a new city means you have access to lots of places to go, from restaurants, bars, clubs and theatres. The list is endless. Having a night out with friends can be a really fun part of university life, and can even be beneficial for your wellbeing, helping you to relax and feel positive. However, there are some good practices to have when exploring the city, particularly at night. We’re here to help you enjoy the city's nightlife safely. Check out our top tips below, and for more advice, check out our Safe Nights Out campaign page and our student safety hub.
It's always a good idea, before you go out, to think about your journey home and plan how you're going to get back. Before you leave a night out, make sure you share this information with your friends. You can even track your journey back, and use your smartphone to share your location with a friend or family member. Be aware of your surroundings, wearing headphones or talking on the phone reduces your awareness of what’s going on around you.
We have great public transport, but make sure you save bus/train timetables on your phone, and set an alarm on your phone so you don't miss your last one! If you're going to use a taxi, try to prebook your taxi where possible, and always ensure your taxi is licenced. Never get into a vehicle with a stranger. Remember, no journey is ever too short and no driver should refuse your journey based on its length.If you have to walk home, don’t go alone, where possible make sure you walk home with the people you went out with.
We can often find ourselves getting ready for nights out in a rush, which can lead to us making mistakes that might not help us to keep safe. When packing your bag, only take what you need with you, and avoid taking lots of valuables or large amounts of cash with you. Let others know your plan, you might consider letting people know what time you plan to be home, and where you're likely to visit. Before you get there, appoint a place wherever you are to meet your friends if you get lost.
Communication is key
If you are socialising with other people, make sure you stay together where you can and ensure no one is left on their own. Be an active bystander and watch out for the safety of others. If you see someone in trouble, consider alerting people who can help, and if safe to do so, ask the person if they are okay. If you plan on going somewhere else or going home, let everyone know that you came with. If you're heading out with a group of people, make sure you all have each other’s numbers/WhatsApp group so that you can find each other and keep in touch.
Alcohol and Drugs
Know your intake. You should drink no more than 14 units per week. If you want to keep track of your alcohol consumption, you can download the MyDrinkAware app. Make sure you drink a glass of water between your drinks to keep you hydrated and help reduce your alcohol consumption. Always eat before you drink, when there is food in your stomach before drinking, alcohol is absorbed more slowly. And rememeber you don’t need to drink! There is no pressure to consume alcohol at any time during university, and you can enjoy yourself just as much (if not more) whilst sober.
There is no way to use drugs 100% safely, so the best option is not to take them at all! However, if you are going to take drugs, never take unknown substances, especially from people you don't know and always make sure you know and note down what you are taking - If you do need medical support, this will mean you are able to explain what you have taken and seek the right treatment. Don't rush, if you don’t feel the effects of the drug straight away, don’t take more. This can lead to accidental overdose. It's important to be honest about your use - don't avoid asking for help. Remember, support services are available.
Safe Sex is Great Sex
Sex does not have to be part of your night out, and you should never expect that it should be, or has to be. However, it is something that many students choose to engage with on nights out. It’s key that before engaging in sexual activity, you understand consent and the impact alchohol and drugs may have on this. You can take our free consent training here. If you feel you might have sex on your night out, ensure you carry the safe sex supplies you need which might include lube sachets and condoms - and use them! Your SU provides free sexual wellbeing packs for all students.
Remember to download the Safe Zone App which allows you to call for help when you need it most, giving you fast access to university response teams whenever and wherever you are on campus. You can now download it from the App Store or Google Play. Users should log on to the app using their normal university sign-in details.