(Original post by freija)
The campus really isn't in the 'middle of nowhere': certainly not in the same way as Warwick, and I'd say even York is quite far out of the city in comparison. You can walk from campus to my house in Penryn in about seven minutes: it's no further really than halls were, and just as close to ASDA. There are a lot of student houses in Penryn now, for second and third-years, including some lovely period stone cottages. There are pubs, fish-and-chip shops/takeaways (Chilli is an awesome Indian takeaway!), corner shops, a laundrette, a post office and cash points in Penryn: a nice, quiet community and a good place to live when you need to get your head down and work in peace for a bit!
From Penryn/the campus, it's a ten-minute, 60p bus journey into Falmouth - or, as it's only three miles, it's a pleasant walk when the weather is good. Falmouth is a really nice little town with a general range of shops, and some absolutely incredible restaurants (great if your parents come to visit!), and is where all the rest of the 'living out' accommodation is. Trains are pretty reliable in Cornwall: you can go to Truro, Plymouth, Penzance, Newquay, St. Ives, or up to Liskeard and along the Looe Valley Line (you get stunning views from the train, and there are lovely country walks from some of the stations). You can even go up to Exeter to use the main campus library or go shopping.
True, there isn't much in the way of clubbing, but there's Club I in Falmouth if you're interested, there are a few places in Truro (only good if you have a driver, though, as the last train back to Penryn is at 10pm) and the student union holds a couple of club nights per term. The bars and pubs are really nice! Seriously, there's plenty for a Fresher to do (I truly don't know of anyone who feels they missed out on the usual student experience), and by the time you're in your second year, you have too much work for a lot of heavy nights out each term and will probably have started to prefer going to the beach, out to the pub, or having a house-party with your friends, anyway. You can always go clubbing at home, in the holidays.
The campus isn't always great, but it's getting better. I agree, the accommodation is too expensive (there is only one sort, and therefore only one price), the shop is pretty crappy compared to most campuses (it's still very useful for emergency milk, bread or booze, though!) and the canteen only serves hot food until 2 p.m. on weekdays (so when they say it's 'self-catered accommodation' they really
mean it) but we're getting our first free cash point next year, and major campus developments are in progress at the moment to extend the library among other things. It'll be finished next year.
The countryside here makes up for everything, though. Cornwall is just gorgeous. In the summer you can take ferries across from Falmouth to the other side of the bay and go exploring secret little beaches. The view from Pendennis castle across the harbour to St. Anthony's Head and the lighthouse, especially as the sun is setting, is amazing. Trelissick and Glendurgan are National Trust properties with beautiful gardens. Even Penryn has some lovely woodland walks and fields all around it. There are sea-swimming clubs, surfing schools and loads of watersports societies. There's a rock-climbing society that tries to get out on trips as much as possible, the campus has allotments for the students, and the bee-keeping society gives you the chance to help set up and maintain bee hives on campus. I know that the Eco-soc goes out on bat-walks and nature trails, and a lot of the conservation biologists/zoologists go to the Isles of Scilly in their second year, as a summer firld-trip. My friend drifted back last year looking very sunburnt and happy!
I come from Kent, and yes, sure, it takes seven hours to get home, but it's not a bad journey. The longest part is from Truro to London, but the trains are comfy and you can always find a quiet coach if the screaming toddler or the leaking iPod earbuds get too much! It only costs me £18 each way with a railcard, as long as I book well in advance, and I've even managed to get tickets home for £12 before.