Its time of the year when people start hearing back from LSE and start making accommodation applications. Last year when we were deciding there was absolutely no clarity on where to go and how to decide. I thought of writing something about each student hall, may be useful to some.
* Grosvenor : The most expensive and upper class hall. I haven’t been there so its all I’ve heard. The location is perfect, a few minutes walk from LSE and great area. People who live thr have mixed reactions. No real complains. The only one I’ve ever heard is rooms are small.
* Northumberland: The best location ever! Next to Trafalgar, makes it easy to go attend all the events and fireworks including the new year’s eve celebrations. I’ve been there and its quite nice in many ways. Kitchens are reasonably big, I personally don’t think they are good enough for everyday cooking. The hallways are like a hotel, in fact it is a hotel converted to student hall. My biggest no deal is the bathrooms. They look like airplane restrooms, only slightly bigger to accommodate shower. Rooms are tiny and to get a decent view out of the window, you need to be on floor 7 or 8, which means more expensive rooms. The best is that the area is always awake making it safer to move around and go for walks around thames anytime of the day. Its 5 mins from Big Ben and Hyde Park. The most amazing area ever to live in. If you’re looking at shared acco, its got awesome rooms. While the view may not be as good as upper floors, the rooms are thrice the size of single rooms.
* Bankside: A friend living at Northumberland said people talk about location for Northumberland when Bankside has a lot better walk. Its 20 mins walk from LSE and you have to cross milenium bridge which is absolutely gorgeous! Not sure about neighbourhood. I haven’t been to bankside so wouldn’t know. I do remember going for a walk around the bridge and found that area relatively quieter and not many people around. Another friend who lives there had once said she wasn’t too happy with the neighbourhood. The biggest drawback is limited kitchen. Biggest positive is that its got a bar and you get dinner. It was my second choice and while I haven’t been there I think it is real nice.
* Butler’s Wharf: Don’t know much. Everyone who lives there loves it. Its just too far! at least 45 mins walk to LSE. I know people who have bicycles – it would be tough in winters though. Buses and tubes are well connected. I’ll go there probably this weekend, might update my blog after.Some people have told me its a nice location too. Its further away from bankside on the other side of thames (the south side I think). The kitchens are supposed to be bigger and people have this bond they share with their flatmates. The only other place I’ve seen the flatmate bonding is at Lilian which is the next hall I write about
* Lilian Knowles: I love the hall. Its weirdly awesome area to be in – near Liverpool street, a minute from Spitalfield market, brick lane, St Pauls etc and I hate the neighbourhood. The entrance is opposite a car park in a lonely street. The straight road from liverpool street station to LK is smaller than service lanes and is quite shady to walk in after 10 at night. Oh and that’s also the area of Jack the Ripper to scare some people. What’s good is that the rooms are good, nice bathrooms, good kitchen and super strict security, so you cant walk into another flat unless you a resident opens it. I’ve seen their studio and like it as well. Clean nice place. Its popular to have thin walls and people get to hear what their neighbours are upto. If you have loud neighbours, well you hear everything! A nice common room which I haven’t seen people use. People usually stay in their own flats and have this flatmate bonding which is real good.
* Sydney Webb: The hall most popular for mugging and unsafe neighbourhood. I haven’t heard first hand info but friends of friends have been mugged. I’ve been thr a few times. The flat system is like LK, good bonding with flatmates but no one talks to others. Common room is used more than at LK. The neighbourhood can be quiet. Its all residential for most part. 10 mins walk and its the best area ever – London Bridge borough market and tower bridge. Its near Ministry of Sound – elephant and castle. The point is to get anywhere there are dark roads to cross which is scary at night. The other side of the story is that I personally think its a nice area and the only mugging incidents I’ve heard were after 3 in the night/morning and I would wonder why would anyone be out alone at that hour. I know people do that but still go out with friends if you’re partying out late. Almost forgot to mention, this is the only place with fridge in your room.
* Rosebery: This comes at the end because this is where I stay. Fantastic neighbourhood and relatively cheap. Its also the smallest hall with only 300 students. The plus is unlike bankside and high holborn, we have different wings for undergrads and post grads. The hall is not automated on security systems. We still have old key locks and you could pretty much walk across any flats. In fact flats are only for name sake. Bathrooms are shared which can be bad on some people if your flatmates dont keep it clean. The plus is the housekeeping staff cleans bathrooms and kitchen everyday. Saves you the effort of cleaning bathrooms. Low side is you may be sharing it with 2-4 people. There is kitchen but not you can use to cook everyday. Its small and shared by 10-12 people. What I love about this place is how informal it is. People usually mix up easily because you see them at dinner table or in common room. There are no restrictions on going to another room so you dont think before walking up to someone. The low side is expect your things to disappear from the kitchen. I’ve lost plates, pans, spoons and lots of food items like bread and milk etc. Nothing that would worry me though. Sometimes they show up and then they dont. You could always reserve a place for you in a cupboard which no one would touch as long as ur careful about it not lying around in common drawers (all implicitly organized areas). I know kitchens where no one touches each other’s stuff. My kitchen is the worst of all in disappearing things. Common room is small but nice. There is dinner which is easy for those who dont want to cook everyday. There is TV room which now has a playstation. The student committee is good here. Oh and I love the neighbourhood. Walking around at any hour is mostly safe unless you go to quieter darker streets behind the hall. You wouldn’t ever have the need to go thr. Its a 25 mins walk from LSE, nothing fancy on the way to look at though.
I havent written about High Holborn cuz all the info online is all I know. I’ve been there and its the same thing. Too many people, large common room, awesome location, next to LSE etc.
So how do you select?
Don’t want undergrads around at all – Remove High Holborn, Bankside and Rosebery. Northumberland has some undergrad but its mostly a post grad hall.
Want to be able to go back and forth LSE and room many times a day – Grosvenor, High Holborn and Northumberland are your options.
The most scenic walk – Bankside
Need food served for you – Bankside and Rosebery (Not sure about High Holborn)
Quieter rooms – Lilian Knowles, Sydney Webb to some extent – northumberland and rosebery. Rest of the halls may or may not depending on how social you get, ur room location etc. And I do not know about a few halls so take this with a pinch of salt.
Party places – Bankside, High Holborn, Northumberland. All the halls party, depends on how social you are.
Tourist areas within 10 mins walk – Northumberland, Grosvenor, High Holborn, Lilian Knowles and Bankside
The rest is online to read, contract duration and other facilities kind of stuff.
Hope this post is helpful to some!