Which type of UK student accommodation is right for you?

By Ekta• Last updated: Nov 27, 2023
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When it comes to choosing the right accommodation it can feel overwhelming, especially if this is your first time living away from home.

There are many factors to take into consideration such as location, budget, and the number of people you want to live with.

Our guide to student accommodation in the UK will give you the pros and cons of some of the most popular options.

4 Different types of student accommodation

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Halls of residence

This is the type of accommodation that most first-year students opt for.  

Halls of residence are normally managed by the university. You’ll have your own room, but will share other spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms. 

Usually located on campus, or at least in the same town or city as the university, they can be a convenient option for commuting in. 

You’ll be living with lots of other first-year students, not necessarily those on the same course as you, so it’s a great way to make new friends. 

It’s also a good first step into living away from home as you’ll get your independence but won’t need to worry about landlords and utility bills.

The good bits:

  1. It’s a no-hassle way to start your university life
  2. Halls are a great place to live when it comes to the social aspects of student life
  3. As halls are normally managed by the university, you’ll get extra support if you need it

The bad bits:

  1. You’ll have no say over who you live with
  2. They can be very noisy
  3. Not all universities will have a place in halls for every first-year student

Also read: Most popular areas for student accommodation in Manchester

Looking to study in UK?
Explore top universities and get free expert guidance with Edvoy

Private student halls

Private student halls are similar to halls of residence, but are managed by organisations.

You might find that they will accommodate students from several different universities - perfect for expanding your social circle even further.

In private halls, you’ll have your own room and share communal spaces with others, but you’ll sometimes find studio flats available at an additional cost. Some private halls even have cool features like cinema rooms and saunas.

Things to check before you decide if this type of accommodation is for you is whether there are any upfront costs and whether utility bills are included in your rent.

The good bits:

  1. The halls are designed and built with students in mind
  2. You’ll get to meet lots of different people
  3. The halls are normally modern and well equipped

The bad bits:

  1. Just like halls of residence, they can be very noisy places to live
  2. Extra costs might apply
  3. You’ll have no say over who you live with

Also read: UK Student cities with Cheap accommodation

Private rentals

Private rentals are where you rent a house or flat from a landlord or letting agent. 

Normally shared with a group of friends or other students, you could also choose to live alone if you feel like you need your own space.

As not all universities have enough space in halls of residence, so you might find that this is an option you need to look at for your first year. 

If you find yourself in this situation, your university will normally be able to help you find somewhere suitable, and may have a list of approved properties that they use regularly.

Most students will choose this option in their second and third years as it’s much easier to decide on a place to live once you know the area a bit better.

Whilst living in a private rental can be more expensive (you’ll have rent and bills to sort out), it gives you the choice of who you live with as well as where you live.

The good bits:

  • You get to live with friends
  • You can choose where you live - close to the university, or within easy reach of the town or city centre
  • You’ve got more options on the type of property you choose to rent

The bad bits:

  • You’ll have to budget for more expenses such as bills, deposits and rent
  • You will have to deal with a landlord and manage any problems that arise yourself
  • Living with close friends is not always as easy as you imagine


Renting a room with a local family can be a great option for students who want some of the home comforts whilst they’re studying.

Host families are inspected and approved by the university so you can be confident that you will be going into a safe environment. The university may also take any preferences you have about who you stay with before offering you a place. 

Homestays are often catered, with meals shared with the family. This can make it a great option for international students who want to practice their English skills and experience real day-to-day British life.

The good bits:

  • The welcoming family environment can be good if it’s your first time away from home
  • Meals are usually provided
  • You’ll get a unique insight into the culture of the country

The bad bits:

  • You’ll have to abide by the host family’s rules
  • You could be living a long way from the campus
  • It can be harder to make friends with other students

If you’re still not sure what type of accommodation will suit you best, get in touch and one of our friendly advisors will help you sort through the options.

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Ekta specializes in writing content for the Study Abroad field. With extensive experience assisting students pursuing ed...Read More

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