Places to go if you’re feeling overwhelmed: campus and further afield

by Elizabeth Pratt and Ellen Atkinson

UEA is amazing. It’s one of the friendliest and most nurturing universities in the country – there’s a reason for its notorious high score for student satisfaction year after year. But despite that, it can still get quite overwhelming. University is an amazing experience, but it’s difficult. You’re away from your family, trying to make and keep friendships while balancing university work, and making sure that you do enough to make the price tag worth it.

Here is a list of places that you can escape to and take a few quiet minutes, or hours, to yourself, both on campus and further afield.


  • The Sainsbury Centre

While it’s a shame that more people don’t take advantage of the Sainsbury Centre, it’s a great place to unwind as it’s quiet,has a lovely little café with friendly staff, and floor to ceiling windows that let in all the natural light you could want.

Views from the Sainsbury Centre Cafe. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Froome)
  • The Enterprise Centre

Much like the Sainsbury Centre, The Enterprise Centre is often quite quiet and there’s lots of free space to study. The fact that it comes equipped with its own small café makes it pretty much perfect, as it’s far enough away from the centre of campus that, unless it’s for seminars or lectures, people don’t tend to make the treck out to it.

  • UEA Allotments

Now I’m not suggesting you take up gardening, but if you take a walk past the allotments, you’ll reach this nice little paddock where a few ponies and horses make their home. It’s a lovely short walk and it’s a peaceful place that helps you forget the campus just a few minutes away.

Friendly ponies just minutes from campus!
  • The Broad (lake)

I’m pretty sure even first years by now will have discovered the path that goes around the lake on campus. It’s only a twenty-minute walk, flat the whole way round, but it’s really peaceful and shows you a nice view of campus without your having to deal with all the stress that comes with it.

Just one of the many platforms that look over the stunning UEA Broad and its surroundings.

Further Afield:

  • Earlham Park

From the path around UEA’s lake you can walk through the woodland (situated opposite the Sainsbury Centre and continues past the road that leads to Colney Lane) until you reach the edges of Earlham Park. The park is home to UEA’s Law School (Earlham Hall) and follows the River Yare. This is a wonderful green space to just chill out in and do some dog watching if you like man’s furry best friend, and catch some stunning Norfolk skies as the sun is setting. There’s also a café in the park that serves drinks and food at cheap prices, so you don’t have to worry about food whilst you’re watching the world go by.

Dramatic skies over Earlham Park
  • Bowthorpe Marsh

Ever wondered what is actually behind UEA Village? It’s Bowthorpe Marsh! Follow the path down from upper to lower village to the river and hitch a right, and then a left, and you’re there. This a very secluded area that not many people visit, so it’s the perfect place for a walk if you’re feeling like you need some space and relaxation time. All you have to do is follow the river and you’ll end up at Bowthorpe Southern Park, which is yet more luscious green space. You can often see some very friendly horses that appreciate some fuss, and other creatures that call the park their home.

  • The Plantation Gardens

The Plantation Gardens is a converted quarry that’s just off of Earlham Road, one of the main roads leading into the city centre. There’s a voluntary £2 contribution for entrance and it is well worth it as it’s a quiet and a nice, secluded spot of nature that you can get lost in when you want to forget the stress of university. Should weather permit, it’s a nice place to go to get some reading done where you don’t need to be worried about any interruptions.

The Plantation Gardens in May
  • Eaton Park

I’m probably just telling you something you already know, but Eaton Park is also an amazing place to go when you need to get away from it all. It’s not as quiet as the Plantation Gardens as quite a few families come through and there’s always dogs being walked, but with the small independent café at the park’s centre it’s got more than enough to keep you busy or not so busy, whichever you’d prefer.

The sun sets over Eaton Park…
  • Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library

The library at the Forum is a great place to go when in the city centre and you want to have some quiet time. It’s got multiple floors and, especially on week days, it’s never too busy. Plus, it’s a library! Quiet is pretty much in the job description! And if you’re worried about not having anything to do get a library card! All you need is some kind of ID- a provisional driving licence would do- and you’ve got endless access to books and films throughout Norfolk.


All photos courtesy of the writers, unless specified otherwise. 

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