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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Liverpool - Blink 182 and Staying in University Accommodation

For Christmas, Tom got me a most excellent present - tickets to see Blink 182! I was lucky enough to see them once in their original line up when I was around 12/13, and it was one of the best experiences of my teenage years. As a drummer myself, Travis Barker was my absolute icon, and I know very few '90s kids who weren't raised on Enema of the State and Take off your Pants and Jacket.

I was thrilled; I couldn't wait to see what Matt Skiba (from another of my favourite teen bands, Alkaline Trio) brought to the line up, and the general nostalgia of the experience had me itching to get going.

The only slight snag in the plan was that the tickets were for their Liverpool gig - a fair old slog from quaint old Oxfordshire. Term time was so frantically busy in those final weeks that this detail mostly escaped us, and before we knew it, the weekend of the gig was looming. My excitement was mildly tempered by the fact that it was a 3-4 hour journey and on every feasible hotel site I searched, the prices for rooms near to the Echo Arena seemed fairly extortionate. Factoring in our petrol and ticket costs, we really didn't want to spend £150 for a single night away on top of that...time to get thrifty.





I had searched the normal sites - Trivago, LastMinute.com, even AirBnb, but the prices were still way out of budget. It was Tom who had the brain wave to look up student accommodation options - after all, universities had been broken up for summer for a week or so at the very least. We booked through Hotels.com in the end which offered the most reasonable rates we could find, but once you've found the name of the university accommodation you'd like to stay in it is worth shopping around.

We stayed in Falkland House, a block of ensuite student accommodation. They offer a variety of room types - from 'Classic Ensuite' (which essentially works like a hotel room) to Studio Rooms (which we stayed in - they include a kitchenette and dining area) to full blown apartments with separate living, sleeping and bathroom areas, and of course Twin room options. Our Studio ended up costing us around £70 for the night - half the price of Premier and Holiday Inns nearby. You can book the rooms for an entire week for as little as £140 so it is really worth investigating for your next break to a big city.


Photos courtesy of hotels.com

As you can see, the rooms were bright and modern and they honestly looked exactly as they did in the pictures. I think it's important that a few things are noted, though: these rooms have been lived in by students. They are not hotel rooms so they won't be of that same standard of total cleanliness. The students have also left for the summer and taken all of their belongings with them - therefore you do get a kitchenette but there is no cutlery or glasses/plates/cooking equipment. This was absolutely fine - the only annoying thing was not having glasses to have a cup of water, or facilities to make a cup of tea! The bed is also a student bed - springs and thin duvet/pillow and all - but this really didn't bother us in the slightest. It's just worth noting for anyone who hasn't been a student before!

The building itself in particular felt very safe. When we arrived we were given two codes - one to access the building and one to get through from the reception area into the lift area taking you to the rooms. The reception area also doubles as a communal space with snooker table and sofas.

Photos courtesy of Hotels.com

The area that Falklands House is in is really useful for getting into town - about 5-10 mins in a taxi which made for very cheap journeys in and out of the centre. It is right next to the Royal Hospital but is in a fairly run-down area and we were advised not to park our car outside as there had been damage to other cars the night before. This could be a slight issue if you are driving from afar like we were! But, we drove about 2mins away and found a safe residential area to leave the car in overnight. It may be a problem if staying for longer though, but the trip from the station did not seem to be problematic; other guests were arriving from the train/bus routes regularly.

Overall we had a great stay; it was so convenient to get to and then on into town. Blink 182 were excellent, as was Frank Turner supporting, and we loved going out into Liverpool centre after the gig for Frank's DJ set at a pub/bar. We had some great drinks, let loose, and in true student style bought dirty drunk food and enjoyed it back in our uni flat-for-the-night.

I would really recommend this way of finding affordable accommodation for weekend breaks and city trips. My main advice would be to shop around, expect it to be student standard, and to go in with an open mind. We had a great weekend and saved ourselves some pretty pennies.


x.


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