How to be popular parents on a visit to your teen’s university

Last updated 28th May 2022

Lexus has put together a brilliant guide to visiting your kids at university right now. Take a look at their top tips on how to be the most popular parent. And don’t miss their run down of what to do and see in the UK’s great university cities.


Lexus NX 450+ plug-in hybrid SUV, Alexandra Park viewpoint, Bath

As the summer months approach, many parents are making plans to visit their children at university. Whether this is for a weekend or a just a flying visit, Lexus has put together some tips about what to do and what to avoid when visiting. Including some first-hand advice from students themselves!

What advice students gave Lexus for visiting parents

Meet the housemates

Joshua, from Durham University, says students love meeting their friends’ parents. He also added this advice. “What better way to introduce yourself than bringing treats for your child’s flatmates too.”  Just remember not outstay your welcome. Settling in for an evening of drinking and embarrassing childhood stories is a no-no!

Bring food and treats

Parents will be especially welcome if they’ve done a big food shop and brought extra supplies a student budget doesn’t always cover. So bring basics but add in favourite treats, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Libby, from Leeds Beckett, says, “Cutlery is always going missing from university kitchens, so new cookware and crockery is always appreciated.”

Take along reminders of home

Claire from Loughborough University, advised, “It’s always comforting when parents bring something that reminds you of home”. Even something as a simple as a familiar cushion or picture is welcome if your kids are missing home comforts.

A car with lots of boot space, like the Lexus NX 450h+ plug in hybrid SUV with its roomy boot, will be really useful for all this ‘essential’ cargo.

Bring the family and the family dog

Harriet, from Durham University, points out that visits from her parents are always more exciting when brothers, sisters and pets come too. If there’s space, why not fill all the seats in the car and make it a real family event.

No surprise visits, please

Plan your visit ahead and make sure your son or daughter isn’t going to be tied up with work or social activities when you’re in town. They’ll also appreciate time to make sure their accommodation is clean and tidy before you arrive. Students Lexus spoke to recommend visiting for one or two days at a weekend, mid-term. By that time students have settled in but aren’t under pressure with project deadlines and exams.

A little extra advice from Lexus

Always check your vehicle follows the area’s environmental rules. More and more urban centres are becoming clean air zones, including university locations like Bath, Bristol and Manchester. Make sure your vehicle’s emissions meet the regulations so you don’t have to pay extra charges, Lexus’s line-up of electrified SUVs, including the new NX  450h+, should keep you on the right side of the rules, being able to run on all-electric power in city traffic.

A guide to visiting great university cities in the UK


Weir on the River Avon, Bath city centre

University of Bath

  • Spend a sunny morning at Good Day Café, known for its delicious brunch, brownies and coffee.
  • Eat all things chocolate at Mrs Potts Chocolate House.
  • Tour Bath Abbey and historic Roman Baths.
  • A visit to Thermae Bath Spa is a perfect post-exam treat.
  • Visit Royal Crescent to see the Georgian architecture.
  • See the city from above at Alexandra Park viewpoint.

Bristol University

  • Take a tour of the Wills Memorial Tower. It’s home to the university’s School of Law and Earth Sciences as well as the venue for graduation ceremonies.
  • Explore Bristol’s historic harbourside for its restaurants, bars, and water sports.
  • Walk across the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of Bristol’s most famous landmarks.
  • Visit Ashton Court Estate, not far from the bridge for its network of cycling and walking trails.
  • Go and browse the stalls at St Nicks Market in the city centre.

Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool

Liverpool University

  • Walk along the Royal Albert Dock and enjoy the restaurants, shops, and museums.
  • Don’t miss the Tate art gallery.
  • Take a trip to Bold Street to enjoy cuisines from around the world
  • Hire an electric scooter and take a tour of Liverpool landmarks.

Durham University

  • Soak up Durham’s history on a visit to the cathedral and castle
  • Newcastle’s Eldon Square is great for shopping.
  • Enjoy food and views at the Riverview Kitchen.

Coventry University

  • Coventry is a long way from the seaside, so try its Wave waterpark instead.
  • Memorial Park is good for a stroll round 100 acres of green space.
  • Try the Jinseon Korean barbecue restaurant.
  • Visit remarkable Coventry Cathedral.

The historic Victorian pleasure pier, Brighton

University of Sussex

  • Visit Brighton Pier for the amusements, rides and views.
  • Wander around Brighton Lanes to see independent shops and specialist jewellers.
  • Ride out to Brighton Marina and have a meal with a great view over the Channel.

University of Swansea

  • Think about an overnight stay in Swansea, there’s a lot to see.
  • Visit Mumbles beach. It’s won awards for being ‘Britain’s Best Beach’ and also ‘Best Picnic Spot’.
  • See Oystermouth Castle on a hill overlooking Mumbles.
  • The Gower Peninsula is a short drive from Swansea. The UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it has glorious beaches.
  • Visit Brecon Beacons National Park for more views, stunning waterfalls and some of the UK’s most famous caves.

Punting on the River Stour in Canterbury

University of Kent

  • Canterbury has a great mix of international cafes, bars and restaurants.
  • Wander round the hillside campus and pedestrianised city centre.
  • Drop in on towering Canterbury Cathedral.
  • Hire a punt on the River Stour and admire the historic city from the water.
  • Day trip to Whitstable for local seafood – oysters in particular – on the seafront.

Leeds Beckett University

  • See a match at Leeds United Football Club or Leeds Rhinos Rugby Club.
  • Wander round Greek Street for vibrant bars and restaurants.
  • Visit Belgrave Music Hall for the rooftop gardens and thriving centre of music, art and comedy.
  • Try Roundhay Park’s 700 acres of parkland and lakes as well as a tropical butterfly house.

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