Battle of the Halls

Where your first year digs a dream or a dive?? Ruth Loeffler, Sam Ree, Katie Ackerley, Beth Stevens, Alex O'Brien and James McCoull battle it out.

4th November 2015

Marris House:

If you can’t settle between luxury of an en suite and the party atmosphere of halls resembling prison blocks, then Marris House is for you. Okay, so the en suite takes the form of a scummy sink in the corner of your Richardson-Road-sized bedroom. But having your own personal plumbing to brush your teeth in, shave your legs over and occassionally stumble and vomit into does have its perks.

The layout of Marris House flats are pretty awesome too; 3 girls sharing a bathroom one side and 3 boys the other. No toilet seat issues  or mangy shower issues that would happen in Ricky or Leazes where everyone is piled in on top of each other. Not to mention the boy and girl division made for room to breathe and rant when housemates clash.

On the website when I applied, one of the tag lines for Marris House was that there were a lot of gap year students here. Seems random, but actually this is just an indication of how popular these halls are. Gap year students tend to get unconditional offers since they already have their grades and so are put first in line for accommodation. In the future, where the gap yah travels, you should follow.

Being right next to Ricky, you can be at the good pres and parties whilst also being able to fall blissfully asleep later on without blaring music constantly annoying you. It shares the main perks of Ricky; being one of the closest halls to the uni, right next to the sports centre and with the medic library just down the road which will be a blessing before exams when the Robinson library is chock-a-block full of seething Second and Third year students.

Aside from having your own sink and sharing your bathroom with three rather than six people, the main way of setting Marris apart from Richardson Road is the communal area. The kitchen/ dining room / TV area (yes we have television too) is huge- great for pres and film nights, sometimes simultaneously.

Marris has the best of both worlds. If you’re not too bothered about spotless bathrooms and having a kingsize double bed, it does offer you a less severe introduction to student life than Ricky does and yet you feel like you’re getting the same experience anyway.

Ricky Road:

Where else can you casually bump into the infamous Debbie Dumpling? Richardson Road is the only halls where everything goes. From breaking the fire safety locks in the showers for the purpose to write in some fellow student bathroom ‘the chamber of secrets has been opened’, to finding a pigs head on top of the bins (watch out David Cameron), it is full of pranks.

Ricky is renowned for being the most social halls, and I believe it deserves this reputation.  After getting to know your whole block within months, due to the nightly pre-drinks it will make your first year memorable.

Its location is prime, and within a several minutes walk you can be practically anywhere on campus. Proving you can rock up to lectures from just rolling out of bed, whilst the Fell cluster becomes a haven for the dreaded essays you’ve left too late.

Being one of the cheapest halls and including a cleaner for you communal areas, with only a 38 weeks contract it helps fresher’s learn how to budget and live independently. Although when you receive your accommodation offer for half a shared bedroom, you must be rethinking the options.

The walls are a little bit too thin, causing you and your flatmate to be a bit too close for comfort. However, the constant heating is a privilege that will only exist in first year; fresher’s make the most of it while you can.

Once the original impression of a prison cell is overcome, and you re-move all your furniture again in the hexagonal room to make more space for ‘activities’ (from experience, no there is no practical way to layout your room), you will love Ricky for what she is. A social hub.     

Disclaimer: the events have already happened, please be original and not reuse ideas.

"Where else can you casually bump into the infamous Debbie Dumpling? Richardson Road is the only halls where everything goes."

Castle Leazes:

Castle Leazes is easily the most hit and miss halls in Newcastle. The proximity to campus and the city centre attracts many but only a lucky few get to stay in the newly upgraded flats of Havelock Hall aka Rah Country.

For those who didn’t take a ‘gap yah’ however, the lowly jail cells of self-catered Eustace Percy await. Don’t fret though, despite the lack of communal space, your flat will bond over the freezing cold weather, mould and grumpy cleaning staff who insist on waking you up at 7am the morning after a night out because you haven’t tidied up after pres yet.

The kitchens in the self-catered sections, usually shared by 10 to 15 people, contain 4 hobs, of which maybe half will work, and two fridge freezers. Really, it’s lovely of them to give you such a useless kitchen as it’s another catalyst for breaking the ice with your flat mates. In a room that’s approximately a metre wide, you get to know people pretty fast.

If cramped cooking isn’t your style then opt for the catering plan which includes two school dinner style meals a day so you don’t even need to feel like you’ve moved on in life at all. The bar also serves a limited range of “food” along with fairly cheap pints if you ever fancy socialising outside of your usual circles (would not recommend).

In short, there’s something for everyone at Leazes. It may not be the nicest of places but , student accommodation shouldn’t be a palace. Starting at the bottom means the only way is up.

Central Link:

Rated as the fifth best Newcastle accommodation in the StudentCrowd Hall Rankings, Central Link is a popular choice amongst students who are looking for spacious, modern and city-central flats.

Located on Wellington Street, Central Link is in the heart of Newcastle City centre, across the road from the infamous St. James Park and just a short distance from the high street and Newcastle’s most popular student nightclubs. Plus, with a mere 15-minute walk to Newcastle University’s main campus, those hangover walks to your 9am lectures are short and just about bearable!

Central Link provides spacious rooms with en suite bathrooms, meaning there’s no risk of having to share your bathroom with someone who is likely to leave dirty underwear and who knows what else lying around! Open living areas are great communal spaces, ideal for socialising with your flatmates, and for hosting pre-drinks and small gatherings.

When you decide not to head out to the clubs, reliable and speedy Wi-Fi connection ensures that listening to your Spotify playlists, watching Netflix (and completing all of your uni work of course) has never been easier. Plus, with a large flat screen TV in every living room with Freeview, entertaining yourselves on a night in shouldn’t be a problem.

With such a large amount of people occupying Central Link, and a courtyard connecting the three main blocks, it’s impossible not to socialise with your neighbours. Whilst Ricky Road often takes the lead in sociability and ‘partying’ Fresher’s Week in Central Link always see’s the converging of flats and the making of new friendships.

"Open living areas are great communal spaces, ideal for socialising with your flatmates, and for hosting pre-drinks and small gatherings."

Windsor Terrace:

The recently refurbished residence of Windsor Terrace is one of the closest accommodations to Newcastle University. With a 3-5 minute walk to campus, and the city centre just beyond it, you cannot get much closer to sleeping in the centre of the campus (unless you have an impromptu nap in the Robinson library). But even that wouldn’t be much closer than Windsor terrace, as the Robinson is right on your back door!

The layout of the building has a very communal feel, having a huge central kitchen / dining area per flat (with a TV included!) The rooms are situated both sides of this large open plan area, each side having 3 rooms, a toilet and shower.

The room allocations are determined by gender as each of the 3-room areas will have same sex occupants. The rooms either come as standard with a washbasin or can be en-suite. At a price of £96.88 per week (standard), this is a great middle ground between the likes of Richardson Road and The View, and is a happy medium between the traits of the two.

The facilities are extremely useful, with a 24 hour laundry, a reception open five days a week, and a café, all across the road! One of the best things about living in Windsor terrace is the location. In those pesky hour gaps between lectures, where your course mates who live in the likes of St Mary’s will have time spent in limbo, you can go home and rest up or make some food. This is also a great way of making friends, as who would say no to a cup of tea in-between lectures? But be warned: your daily walk past the library can be more of a guilt trip more than anything on your days off!

St Mary's:

To open on a blunt point, there’s really not that much special about St. Mary’s. It’s not the furthest accommodation from the city, and it’s far from the closest; it’s not the cheapest, nor the priciest; it’s not the most social, but nor is it boring.

Situated in the less than beautiful suburban district of Fenham, St. Mary’s College is about as typical as halls can get. Straddling a comfortable middle ground between unaffordable mod-cons and unliveable squalor, its modest collection of flats will do nothing to blow the mind, but also won’t give you any diseases.

The facilities are generally in decent keep, the staff are helpful and amenable and the grounds are well-kept. All solid points, but they don’t give the place a great sense of personality. There’s none of Castle Leazes’ prison-like aesthetic, or Ricky Road’s shameless grime. The only thing especially unique about it is the crumbling statue of Mazzer herself in the front.

"The only thing especially unique about it is the crumbling statue of Mazzer herself in the front."

And it’s a fucking walk and a half, too. The more tight-fisted St. Mary’s residents will be reluctant to pay for the bus every day, and so it’s a jolly two-mile walk to uni. Shuttle buses at half eight in the morning and six in the afternoon take the pressure off a little, but if you only have a couple of lectures in the middle of the day they’re no good to you.

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