Halls of St. Andrews
If you’ve received your accommodation offer and are curious to know if you’ve: a) drawn the short straw or b) got the luck of the devil, look no further than this comprehensive guide to the halls of St. Andrews, where you’ll be informed about all the dodgy designs, inane perks and quaint traditions that make each one unique.
Established 1993, with 519 bedrooms.
Has ensuite bathrooms.
Located very close to the Sports Centre.
Very original layout, consisting of an extensive network of corridors spanning from the centre of the hall outwards. Like something out of The Maze Runner.
Overlooks a large green area, which can be used for sport if you’re so inclined.
Has its own cafe area, the Forbes, which is open to students 24 hours a day.
Well-loved by residents for its refreshing, down-to-earth feel, as well as its friendly and diverse community of undergraduates.
The IT room is a great study space.
Kitchens are hit or miss: some are tiny and old; some are large and modern. Also, you could be sharing with between 6 and 12 people.
The nickname ‘the prison’ says it all.
Established 1967, with around 275 students.
Quirky octagonal rooms: each has 2 windows and 7 walls.
Has one of the highest rates of returning students, so it can’t be that bad!
It is one of the larger halls, so you won’t be hard-pushed to find friends.
The location is super convenient if you are a science student (but more of a struggle if you have to migrate to and from the Arts buildings).
Residents stand a good chance of spotting the notorious wild rabbits from their bedroom window.
It has its own pond, complete with ducks.
Many report that the architecture grows on you as time goes on.
It is a literal stone’s throw away from the Sports Centre.
Concrete-and-glass, Brutalist style resembling passing ships. Designed by the prison architect, James Sterling (God knows why).
It is so menacing that it was once used as a location for a dystopian Sci-Fi film about organ harvesting.
It is divided into blocks labelled from A to E, giving it an even more Stalinist ambience.
Development for a new hall of residence may start later this year, so brace yourselves for a lot of noise.
Donald Russell Apartments/Fife Park
Established 2007, with around 778 students.
Many say it is inaccessible because it is far from the University and town centre — but there are buses that stop directly in front of reception.
It’s by far the largest hall, so there is no shortage of people to make friends with.
Compared to the other halls, the catering is decent, with lots of food options and a breakfast buffet.
Every room has an ensuite, so you get to avoid the Mexican standoff that comes with a shared bathroom.
If you can’t be bothered making the trek to the town centre, you can hunker down in DRA’s very own bar. That way, you'll only have to stumble a few hundred yards back to your room at the end of the night.
A night bus service runs between 10pm and 2am during term time, so if you’re out late, you needn’t worry too much about making it home safe.
It’s a 20 minute walk to the town centre.
Sharing with 5 flatmates can be a bit of a gamble. Nonetheless, even if you don’t get on with them, it’s not difficult to meet people outside your flat.
It’s near impossible to navigate around, like a directionless maze (every building looks the exact same).
Established 1965, with about 145 students.
Well-situated, overlooking the Old Course and West Sands beach.
Close-knit community (some would say a little too close).
Boasts three communal spaces: Front Hall (equipped with a sofa, several chairs, and a magic spill resistant carpet), the TV lounge, and West Lounge, which has a piano, pool & table tennis table and projector.
Hosts various events, including three annual balls: one in north-east Fife’s Fernie Castle (at the beginning of First Semester), the Hall Ball (towards the beginning of Second Semester), and the Traditions Balls at the end of the year.
As one reviewer put it 7 years ago: “JBH is not a hall, it’s a state of mind”. Whether this is a pro or a con is down to interpretation.
The bitter rivalry with University Hall spices things up a bit (Clan Warfare events can get pretty heated).
The annexe was built in the most regretful decade for architecture to date - the 1990s.
If you are in the annexe it’s a short walk for food and laundry, so in wintertime you will have to brave the cold to feed yourself.
It’s by far the smallest hall, so there’s a smaller chance you’ll find like-minded people.
The hall’s Wikipedia page boasts about a newly installed Nintendo Switch console, which says all you need to know about JBH folk and how they spend their time.
Established 1921, with around 239 students.
In close proximity to some of the main university buildings. 2 min walk from the Student Union, 5 mins from West Sands, and no more than 10 mins to lectures (it is an equal walk to both science and arts buildings).
Views second to none, especially if you’re lucky enough to get a top floor room overlooking West Sands.
Mainly shared rooms, so very social.
Spectacular common rooms give it a posh country hotel vibe.
Staff really listen to your advice and requests, apparently.
There is a risk you may not like your roommate.
Rumour has it that McIntosh is haunted by the ghost of someone who died in a fire back in the Victorian Era.
Established 1868, with approximately 170 students.
Close to St. Mary’s Quad, a space so serene it would make Oxford squirm with envy.
It has an informal, family feel to it (borderline incestual).
The building itself is impressive (typical Victorian).
Great library with a nice piano for whenever you feel like wearing tweed and sucking on a pipe.
Arguably has the most personality and community spirit of all the halls.
Good value for money: some self-catered halls are more expensive than Regs.
Lays claim to an ancient heritage: named after Saint Regulus, a 4th-century Greek Monk who brought the bones of Saint Andrew to the shores of north-east Fife.
Has its very own feast day in the Aberdeen Braviary on the 17th of October, celebrated annually.
Hosts fun events, including the traditional charity auction, ceilidh, Christmas Ball and St Regulus Hall Ball, which takes place on the last weekend of teaching in Second Semester.
Most don’t even know where it is (a pro for those who like the quiet life!).
It’s hard to escape all the traditions if you’re an iconoclast or killjoy.
Rumours spread like wildfire.
Decor outdated (basically a museum exhibit).
The Wi-fi is intermittent.
The communal kitchens are tiny, which makes it difficult if you want to cook for yourself.
St. Salvators “Sallies”/Gannochy
Established 1933, with about 196 students.
Boasts a level of fame that exceeds every other hall, mainly thanks to Prince William, who stayed there in his first year.
Architecturally the most impressive hall, described as a ‘rambling Gothic dormitory’ with oak-panelled rooms and stained glass windows.
The Common Room has a grand piano in it.
Mostly shared rooms, so good for meeting people.
Design modelled on Oxford and Cambridge colleges, so salty Oxbridge rejects will love it!
Amazing dining hall: location of the weekly High Table, replete with wine and a three course meal.
Excellent location for Arts students as it is nearby to St. Salvators Quad and the Buchanan building.
Gannochy (the modern annexe) has excellent facilities, including powerful showers and reliable heaters.
Some of the rooms are a bit on the cramped side.
Sallies’ residents have a superiority complex.
The front lawn is routinely trammelled as a result of glitter-filled festivals and end of exam soakings.
There’s a risk you won’t get on with your roommate.
20-min walk away from lectures for science students.
Puts on lots of celebrations, including Sallies’ Day before exams, when students picnic and drink Pimms on the front lawn.
Gannochy is absolutely hideous.
For those in Gannochy, there is a short walk to get to the Sallies’ dining hall, common room etc.
University Hall “Uni Hall”/Whitehorn
Established 1896 (Whitehorn 2018), with 313 students. Note that Uni Hall is made up of 3 parts: Lumsden, Old Wing and Wardlaw.
It’s the perfect size: not so small that there’s not enough choice of friends, but not so big that you get lost in the crowd either.
Excellent for events, which include BBQs, wine and cheese evenings, High Table, Halloween, and Uni Hall Ball.
The Sports Centre is right around the corner if you are at all sporty or just like going to the gym.
Science students need only hop out of bed and they are a 2-min walk away from their lectures.
Ahead of the curve, being the first female student residence in Scotland (now mixed, except for Wardlaw).
Wardlaw is a picturesque, listed castle built in the Scottish baronial style — one of the prettiest, most whimsical buildings in St. Andrews.
Lumsden has cosy rooms. Plus, the canteen is located there.
Old Wing offers high-ceilinged, spacious rooms, each one a bit different from the other.
Whitehorn is absolute luxury compared to all the other halls of St. Andrews. As well as having tastefully furnished rooms and well-equipped kitchen areas, residents get access to heated, tropical-themed study rooms and a fancy dining room which can be booked for special events.
Arts and humanities students must be prepared for a lot of walking.
Lumsden is nicknamed ‘Slumsden’ for a reason. The 1960s prefab look hasn’t aged well.
Old Wing rooms are cold during the winter months.
Illustration: Lauren McAndrew