Welcome home: guide to St Andrews’ halls of residence

Photo: University of St Andrews

Nearly every student moving away from home for the first time has nerves about what life will be like at university. Will I miss home? Will I get on with my roommate? Is it possible to survive entirely on a diet of cheap wine and Pot Noodles’?

While The Saint can’t solve all these problems, we can at least let you know a little bit about your future home.

Do you have an insider tip to help Freshers settle into their new home? Post it in the comments and we will add it to the article.

David Russell Apartments (DRA)

Photo: Jim Bain / geograph.org.uk
DRA Photo credit: Jim Bain / geograph.org.uk

The newest hall of residence in St Andrews, DRA comes with modern facilities, en-suite bathrooms, and its own on-site bar! The University website describes it as the “largest and most diverse residence.” But one thing they don’t tell you about DRA; prepare for a healthy cardio regime – the walk from the hall into town is infamous amongst its residents.

Insider tip: Don’t forget your building map the first few days or you’ll walk around in circles forever. Never try to do laundry on a Wednesday.


Agnes Blackadder Hall (ABH)

Not to be confused with Andrew Melville Hall – Agnes Blackadder boasts ensuite bathrooms, which already makes it prime student property as far as this writer is concerned. Agnes Blackadder is also only a short distance away from the medical and science buildings.

Insider tip: Living in ABH should be an incentive not to lose your matriculation card, not only is it your access to the building and your room, it is also your access to your food. Try not to do what I did and drop it down the lift shaft!


Fife Park

The rundown Fife Park was closed during the last academic year for redevelopment, so Freshers living in Fife Park this year will be some of the first residents to experience the new facilities. It is made up of five bedroom flats, each room with an en-suite, and is completely self-catered which makes it perfect for those who want a bit more independence.


Andrew Melville
Andrew Melville Hall Photo Credit: Maria Faciolince

Andrew Melville Hall

Designed in the “brutalist” style and used for the filming of a dystopian movie, Andrew Melville is well known for the love it engenders in its residents, having one of the higher rates of returning students compared to other halls.

Insider tip: Wait 15 minutes before going going down to dinner to avoid the big queues.


John Burnet Hall

The smallest hall in St Andrews, John Burnet, more than makes up for its size with a close community of residents and more central location than most halls, with a fairly equal distance to both the North Haugh and the centre of town.

Insider tip: Learn how to play as many board games as possible in the next few weeks as there’s no getting away from the endless stream of tournaments in the front lounge. Any new Freshers will be roped into a tournament on sight!


McIntosh Hall

One of the most central halls in St Andrews, just a few minutes away from the Union, this former hotel is probably one of the most convenient halls to live in. With views overlooking West Sands and The Old Course, if you get a top floor room McIntosh is also probably one of the most scenic.


St Regulus Hall

St Regulus Hall Photo credit: The Saint
St Regulus Hall Photo credit: The Saint

More commonly known as “Regs” or “where?!” – St Regulus Hall, while still one of the most central residences, is located in one of the quieter areas of town, near St Mary’s Quad and several of the Arts buildings. A relatively smaller and traditional hall, Regs residents and its Wardennial team boast of the informal “family” feel of the hall.

Insider tip: The salad bar is super small. It usually runs out about 5 minutes into lunch – so if you don’t fancy eating the hot meal, you definitely need to get there and queue up before the doors open.


University Hall

University Hall is one of the older and more historic halls in St Andrews, looking from the outside like a cross between Downton Abbey and Hogwarts. The hall has possibly one of best locations in St Andrews, being very close to both the centre of town, North Haugh and the University sports centre (a life saver during exam season). If you’re in Old Wing or the all girls Wardlaw the rooms are likely to be more spacious and quirky; some have old fireplaces and some even have balconies. The newer Lumsden rooms, however, are much warmer in the winter.

Insider tip: Remember that as a resident of University Hall, you can use the tennis and basketball courts in the garden for free, just pop down to the sports centre to ask to borrow the keys and equipment.


Photo credit: Remi Mathis
St Salvator’s hall Photo credit: Remi Mathis

St Salvator’s Hall

Perhaps the most famous of the St Andrews halls since Prince William stayed there during his first year, St Salvator’s (or Sallies) is well known for its grand building and central location, being right in the middle of town while also near The Scores and many University buildings. Sallies may be one of the most visually appealing halls, but the rest of the University get their own back by ruining its grass every summer with glitter-filled post-exam soakings. Sallies is also known for its hall traditions, such as High Table, where every Thursday a small group of students are selected to attend a formal dinner in Hall with a prominent member of the community and/or University academic staff.

Insider tip: Become best friends with Colin, the warden. Always send Billy a post card. Gannochy kitchen parties might sound like a good idea but they rarely are.


Gannochy House

Gannochy used to be completely postgraduate accommodation but was opened to undergraduates last year. Essentially an annexe of Sallies but infinitely less grand and imposing, Gannochy makes up for its lack of grandeur with more modern rooms and amenities, as well as retaining access to Sallies’ famous dining hall and the central location in the middle of town.


Photo: University of St Andrews
Albany Park Photo credit: University of St Andrews

Albany Park

Possibly the most underrated of St Andrews halls, Albany Park makes up for the quality of its actual residences (fairly basic six-person flats) with a close community atmosphere, regular house parties and a beachfront location that is the envy of the town during the annual May Dip.

Insider tip: Establish at least polite relationships with your housemates, fights over who gets to use the space in the fridge for their weird vegetarian dish are never pretty. Take part in hall events, Albany house parties and pub crawls were among the best nights I had in first year!




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