Going Higher: Venture out for mischief

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The Independent Online
YOU CAN get away with anything if you are aged 18-24, and chances are you will need to if you spend three years as a student in London. With so many opportunities for adventure, it would be a waste to fritter away your social life in student bars and club.

But if you must, the cheapest places in town are at the University of London in the Duck and Dive bar and the Room 101 venue.

Students at Imperial work hard and play hard - and make full use of the main site's four internal bars and cheap club nights.

The Collide-a-Scope night at King's College in the Strand is one of London's best indie nights. Kingston University holds events of all sorts at its three union bars and the Volts, its 2,000-capacity venue. This year's freshers' ball will be held at the Harlequins Rugby Club. According to a union spokesman, "Kingston students are quite conventional, I suppose. All they do is get drunk, have sex and go home."

Royal Holloway students cannot hop over to the big city every night, so the union works hard to keep them happy. Something is held every night in one shape or another, the more eccentric evenings extending to barn dances, pyjama parties and foam parties in the main dance hall. The town of Egham itself is quite a dry place, but boozers can take advantage of the union's late bar licences.

Middlesex is renowned across North London for its thrice-yearly student balls, the 36-hour-long summer incarnation attracting over 3,500 students. The union venues have drawn the likes of Space, Audioweb, Soul II Soul and the Dub Pistols.

Brighton has a justified reputation as "London by the sea", giving the capital a run for its money in clubbing and pubbing as well as homelessness and high prices. The college's bars are quietening down, with the authorities beginning to instigate a prohibition on smoking, but the town's youth culture remains vibrant.

Whilst not quite as happening, Bournemouth can be cheaper and holds its own in clubland with a sister version of London's Gardening Club. Bournemouth International Centre has hosted Oasis, Pulp and Bjork, and the students' union Lush, Dubstar and Ocean Colour Scene.

The University of Kent is a wonderful place to be if you are in the student chapter of the Real Ale society. The fruits of this brewing centre can be sampled at pubs such as Simple Simon's and the Three Compasses.

On the other hand, club licences run only to 1am in Canterbury.

Not so long ago, Essex was a hotbed of anarchy and student protest. Things have calmed down somewhat since then, and the opium of the people of Essex university comprises three venues which have attracted such bands as Pulp, Embrace and The Prodigy and comedic talents of Lee Mack and Ricky Grover. The infamous Essex girl is elusive.