Going Higher: Why being sent to Coventry is a bonus rather than a threat

One million pints per year

COVENTRY, UNLIKELY as it may seem, has one of the hottest night spots around, with Planet, the university's gigantic four-level palace of fun. Inside are five bars with drinks at student-union prices, a bar-bistro and licence extensions until 2am and 4am. Annual consumption of beer at Planet is estimated to be more than one million pints.

The venue also has an excellent entertainment committee. Recent comedy acts include Craig Charles and Alan Parker. Freshers have been known to wander in ... and never be seen again.

Elsewhere in the city, two of the most popular pubs are Club Campbell and the Dog and Trumpet. For seriously cool nightclubs, lots of students venture into Birmingham to share the delights of Bonds, Steering Wheel, The Sanctuary and the Que Club.

Horsing around at Warwick

For those University of Warwick students who live in Leamington Spa, the White Horse is a popular pub, while the club to be seen at is Club Mirage, which has a student night on a Thursday. Kelly's also has live bands, and the many balti restaurants like Shazad are popular, as is the Mongolian Wok Bar.

On the campus of the University of Warwick, the students' union building is a hive of activity, with its nightclub, The Cooler, and The Cooler Diner. Monday is "top banana" night which, one student assures, is a chance to dance to "very cheesy" music. Then there is, of course, the excellent Warwick Arts Centre which as well as hosting world-class bands, has a small bar, theatre and cinema which goes in for rather arty movies.

Birmingham: choice is yours

Over in Birmingham the range of pubs and clubs is vast. For students, the Farce and Firkin is a popular pub, as is Brook and The Hibernian in Stirchley. All-nighters take place at Wobble on Saturday and Crunch on Sunday. The NEC, Aston Villa Leisure Centre, Wolverhampton Civic Hall and the NIA all play host to famous bands.

Venture up-market and you have the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Hippodrome and Symphony Hall in the ICC. Only 20 miles away is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon.

Bop together at Leicester

In Leicester, both university and De Montfort students bop the night away at the Palais de Dance, Krystals, The Fan Club and Alcatraz. Excellent gig venue is Arena at De Montfort. Popular pubs include The Charlotte, The Royal Mail and The Pump and Tap. For theatre, there is the famous Haymarket and the Phoenix Arts Centre. Outside the city is a giant Warner multiplex cinema. For students at De Montfort, popular pubs are the Forresters, the Ship and the White Horse.

Nottingham soda pop

Nottingham students' union does not boast a gig venue, although freshers enjoy the soda pop discos until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Everyone else goes into the town or visits the pubs in Lenton. Dance clubs in the city include the Marcus Garvey, Deluxe, Essence, the House and Beatroot. Rock City is a great band venue, and the Ritzy offers cheap student nights. For theatre there is the Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall.

Union rules in Derby

In Derby, the students' union owns and runs three nightclubs and six bars, including the multi-level Union Arms and the Late Bar, home to the weekly jazz club. Live bands appear at Union One, and at Union Two there is a new indie club night each Friday. The city's Pink Coconut has an imaginatively named "bonk" student night and in the city the best venues are the Assembly Rooms, the Flowerpot, Bar 121 and the Victorian Inn.

Staffordshire is child's play

Stoke and Stafford, you might think, are not especially happening places, but students say the nightclub scene is very much alive and kicking. Hanley in Stoke is the place to be, with The Stage, The Place, Valentino's and the Void. Outside Hanley there is the multi-screen Festival Park, which also has a Quasar and Waterworld. For the child in you, there is the nearby theme park, Alton Towers.

Keele over with survivors

On campus at Keele, every night there is a "survivors" bar with beer pounds 1 a pint and doubles pounds 1. BJ's is non-smoking and loud and busy on Wednesdays and Fridays, and the Main Bar incorporates The Gallery and The Corner Bar. There are also a number of non-union bars such as Union Square, Horwood Bar, The Pig And Rat and the Sneyd Arms. Best clubs and live band venues are The Ballroom and The Club.

Fit to party in Loughborough

In Loughborough students may be very fit but they also like to party. In the town itself are three good bars - Bar Europa, Browns and Cafe Biarritz. There are club nights at Echo's, Pulse and TJ's. SU bars are Rattlers, Que Pasa and The Boardwalk, which serves Chinese food daily. Greasy Joe's does breakfasts and fast food.

Hanging out at Worcester

At the University of Worcester, the most popular bar by far is The Hangar, run by the students' union. It hosts four event nights a week, from pub quizzes to club nights.