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Student shopping Drake Circus Student shopping Drake Circus

The ultimate student guide

From the best dupes to student discounts…

Heading to uni? Whether you’re at University of Plymouth, Arts University Plymouth, Plymouth Marjon University or City College Plymouth, Drake Circus and The Barcode are your go-to places for student discounts, fashion, tech and phone plans, beauty and homewares, food and nights out.

To get you started this term, we’ve put together the essential stores, student offers and insider knowledge you need to know (sign up to our newsletters here for extra info too).

The best student discounts and offers

H&M bag for students

Image provided by H&M

Sign up to UNiDays and Student Beans for discounts at Drake Circus stores including New Look, Levi’s, Accessorize, Foot Locker, Next, Laser Clinic, JD Sports, Footasylum, River Island, schuh, Waterstones, Lush, Ann Summers and more.

Don’t miss our offers page (you can filter by student) which lists all the latest discounts from Tommy Hilfiger, M&S Opticians, Apple, River Island, YO! and Boom Battle Bar. There are ever-changing offers so it’s worth bookmarking.

Get all the discount vouchers out there

Krispy Kreme students

Image provided by Krispy Kreme

Clear out unwanted clothes and shoes, save the planet and get vouchers or money off your purchases at H&M, Marks & Spencer (donate an old M&S item at an Oxfam store), schuh and River Island. Lush encourages you to bring back five empty pots for either a free face mask or discount in-store.

Maxing out your birthday has become TikTok legend so get organised by signing up to loyalty schemes everywhere… Get 25% off one item at H&M, £5 off at Hotel Chocolat, 10% off at Pandora, extra points at Boots and a Superdrug surprise.

Hungry? Krispy Kreme will give you a free donut, Costa a free slice of cake, Kaspa’s Desserts a free milkshake (or cake) while you can get in the party mood with a special treat from Zizzi or a build-your-own caipirinha at Las Iguanas. For a night out, book Brewdog for free birthday cake for all and a free beer for you.

Food, drink and evenings out

Boom battle bar student night

Image provided by Boom Battle Bar

The Barcode is home to amazing student specials with Boom Battle Bar giving 15% off games Monday-Thursday, Brewdog does £15 offers plus student hot desking, Cosy Club (15% off) while Las Iguanas, Nando’s and Zizzi all do excellent discounts. Head to Paradise Island Adventure Golf on Wednesdays for two rounds of games for just £8.50 all day. Cineworld always offers student prices and, if you get your insurance via comparethemarket.com, you’ll be able to get two-for-one Meerkat Movie tickets on Tuesday or Wednesdays for the whole year.

Amazing student tech deals on laptops and phones

Get verified with UNiDAYs and you can save on Macs and iPads with their education discount plus gift cards worth up to £130 at Apple. They’ll also offer discounts on Apple Pencils, Magic Keyboards and 20% off AppleCare+. O2 have 20% off plans and accessories, Three offer a whopping 50% for students via UNiDAYs and Save The Student while Vodafone has 10% off.

Insider fashion and beauty and the best trending dupes

Primark bag students

Image provided by Primark

As much as we’d all like a designer wardrobe, we’re working on a budget here so let’s all celebrate the rise of the dupe. Accessories-wise River Island, Primark, and New Look are leading the way with handbags, totes and shoppers that conjure up the aesthetic of everyone from Balenciaga to Vivienne Westwood; H&M has some gorgeous muted shapewear and bodysuits while schuh has pleasing flatform sandals in a rainbow of colours.

Primark mascara students

Image provided by Primark

Marks & Spencer’s breakout fragrances include Pink Pepper and Velvet Amber (£6) plus their Ultimate Cleanse Rose Cleansing Balm (£12) is the thinking alternative to beauty hall icons. Primark is dupe heaven with its Wonderlash Mascara and Tinted Moisturisers currently trending.

Also, don’t forget elf at Boots and Superdrug which has everything from bronzers and brow gels giving the major names a run for their money; Avène’s Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream, £7 at Boots, has been likened to luxe brand La Mer and Collection Gorgeous Glow Filter Finish, £7.99, is giving flawless finishes.

Stationery and books galore

Flying Tiger student essentials

Image provided by Flying Tiger

Waterstones plus student lets you earn points as you shop (every 10 plus stamps you earn gives you £10) with 5% of every purchase so it’s an essential for text books and research. For cute diaries, notebooks, pens and post-its, head to Mooch and Tiger.

Student living made chic

Primark home students

Image provided by Primark

For throws, bedding, cushions, cutlery, storage and laundry bags, head to Marks & Spencer, Primark, H&M, Next, Tiger and Mooch (which has lots of fun finds to give your bedroom some character). Fairy lights, photo collages, jewellery storage, over door hooks and rugs can transform your space from bland to bespoke.

The freshers’ essentials

Primark waterbottle students

Image provided by Primark

Earplugs for those first few weeks; Vitamin C to ward off freshers’ flu plus ibuprofen (always invest in the own labels from Boots and Superdrug); dressing gown, onesies, slippers and crocs at Primark, schuh, Marks & Spencer and H&M; a hot water bottle, plasters and a big water bottle will see you through everything (Tiger and Primark has you covered) and don’t forget some self-care from Rituals.

Happy new term!

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