Ok.. I have to say, I am spending my first year at Uni of Sheffield living in self catered flats - Broad Lane Court to be precise - and I am struggling to pick fault with them. Granted, they are not at the height of luxury, but i think if you are living in halls you have to expect quite basic living conditions. However, although the walls and stuff may seem a little sparse at first, its nothing a few posters and photos won't sort out.
The rooms are mostly identical, fairly spacious, 6 rooms in each flat, one of which is slightly larger and en suite. You will have to pay more for the privilege though, and it really isn't worth it to be honest. My flatmate who occupies the en suite room wishes she could pay less and just share. The communal bathrooms are similar to those you would find in a youth hostel or something - basic (there's that word again!) but clean - the main thing. Two showers, two loos. You get a washbasin in your room so you can do your teeth and stuff there!
The only feature that would make our flat complete would be some sort of a living room thing; its what i miss most! However, we do have a massive kitchen/diner thing, so we have improvised by putting all the armchairs from our rooms down one end of it to create a make-shift living room. It does the job!
Broad Lane Court (and Mappin Court too) are excellently situated. If you are one of the lucky few who manages to get a place here then you have everything close by. West St, which includes loads of shops, bars and take-aways plus the all-important Tesco Express (the staff will actually feel like members of your family after a year here), are about 2 mins walk away. Plus you are just over the roundabout from the main Uni campus, where as an English student, most of my lectures are. Although, as a tiny drawback, its close proximity can make you feel extra-guilty for missing lectures! :)
I should probably mention one little thing that may put you off living around here, and that is the fact that this area at night is actually on the outskirts of the red-light district of Sheffield. However, before the alarm bells start ringing, it doesnt make much of an impact on the area. For one, you will only ever see the odd prostitute (!) hanging about very late at night (eg, 3/4am) and there is never any trouble round here. It stills sounds dodgy but i promise, no-one has even noticed it really (apart from the occasional drunken walk home, etc). Just make sure that, as with any big city, you dont walk home alone at night (especially the girls!).
Okay... what else. I've mentioned that its a short walk from West St, which is great for bits and bobs, and also Division St, which is full of studenty shops and stuff (Forum is good)but its also only about ten mins walk from the city centre itself. If you're really lazy, you can hop on the tram at West St and get off at either Cathedral or Castle Square for the city centre shops etc, but i recommend the short walk instead.
All in all, i would say that Uni accommodation - particularly Broad Lane Court (or 'BLC' as its affectionately known round our block) - is 100% worth applying for in your first year. Last year i went to a different Uni down south and was placed straight into private sector accommodation (a house in a residential area) with a four strangers. Having that experience - which wasn't a good one - has made me appreciate all the more being able to move Uni's and try halls. So glad i moved; much better!! Sounds dead cheesy but i have had the best year ever, and i reckon i've made some of the best friends i'll ever have. It's great that there's always someone around to have a chat with, or watch tv with, or traipse up the Union with for a couple of pints. Like living in a big mad boarding school or dormitory or something! So as soon as that little 'Home from Home' brochure hits your doormat, apply for BLC!!! And don't delay cos its the most popular residence! x
Wanna live in Sheffield? Well heres a quick rundown of Crookesmoor. (the number after each subtitle is the rating out of five I give each thing. ie 'Bars (5)' would mean i give the bars there 5 out of five) ====CROOKESMOOR==== Distance from Student Union (4) - About 5-10 minutes depending on which end of Crookesmoor you live on Shops (4)- A Late shop, Laundrette, Offlicence, few Newsagents, couple of second hand furniture shops, phone shop, chippy, curry/balti houses, cafe, petrol station and a Bookies. Cash machines (2)- One in the Petrol station but your charged to use it. Theres a free one at the bottom of Crookesmoor just before the arts tower by the Coop. Best Bars (5)- Hadfiled, Proper student pub. Fairly cheap, nice inside, 3 Pool tables, table footy, quiz machines, owned by the MrQs chain so should stay cheap, cashback available, 3 big screens and loads of small TVs. Springfield, second best bar in Crookesmoor. Big screen TV, Pool table, Quiz machine, cashback, Buy one get one free on wednesday and fairly cheap pints again. Distance to West Street Bars (4) - 10 mins walk Proximity to Freshers (3)- 15-20 mins walk to all the Shef Uni halls Town (3)- 30 Mins walk Bus Routes (3)- 95 runs directly through Crookesmoor and town and ends up just infront of the Sheffield interchange. Quality of Houses (4)- Varying. Nearly all terrace houses with a very similar inside layout. Some houses are lovely inside some are horrible. Expect to pay (5)- £40-£50 a week Distance to other Student areas (4)- Broomhill 15 mins, Crookes 5 mins, Eccelshall road 25 mins, Hunters bar 25 mins. Crime (5 (this means low :)))- As with most parts of Sheffield there is a pretty low amount of crime. However there is the odd burglary/mugging unfortunately. Unlilkely to be asked for a fight. Proportion of Students to locals (5)- High Overal
l I think Crookesmoor is the best place to live as a student in Sheffield. It's close to pretty much everything and has most things you need minutes away. Thats why I've decided to live ther this year.
Halls is definitely the place to spend your first year at university, the year you spend in halls is different to anything else. You make so many friends because you're thrown together in this new environment, everyone is in the same boat and so everyone is as scared as everyone else. It's probably the first time you've been living away from your parents and so it's gonna be very daunting, you are actually gonna have to look after yourself for a change. Halls eases you into the independance thing, with main meals being provided so you only have to fend for yourself at lunchtimes. Everyone complains about the food, and yeah it's not great, but think of what you would be eating if you were cooking it, enough said. Freshers week in halls is probably the only time when you can walk up to absolutely anyone and just start a conversation about anything at all, make use of it. There's always plenty of people to go out at night with and more importantly loads of people to share a taxi back with after. All in all halls in the place to go for your first year! All those that have been in halls, you know you miss it!!
After your first year in halls, you're ready for somewhere a bit different, perhaps a bit cheaper. But where should you live, how much should you pay, when should you start looking? In general there are three main areas that students live in, Broomhill, Crookes and Hunter's Bar. All of these locations are about a twenty minute walk away from the university. Hunter's Bar is where I spent the majority of my undergraduate years, and I found it a great place to live. There's a few good pubs, which aren't quite as busy as those that are in Broomhill. There are supermarkets nearby - particularly a Tesco's and a Somerfield. The hills aren't too bad - compared to those in Crookes, anyway. The place is safe after dark, there's a huge park nearby, and a selction of chip shops and curry houses, not to mention a Firkin Off-License. The one complaint that could fairly be levelled at Hunters Bar is the lack of buses to the University, one every half-hour - compared to ten-an-hour from Crookes to the University. In general, you shouldn't pay much more than £40 a week to live in Hunter's Bar. But if you've left it late to find a place - you may find you have to. If there is a large group of you wanting to live together, it's wise to start looking in February/March time, as these houses go fast. If you want a smaller place, you can probably leave it a bit later.
Are there any decent and affordable areas to live in ? Are there any flats/houses which are within short walking distance to my department ? Are there shops which provide basic necessities within reach ? These are the questions that haunt students who are looking for private accommodation. But fortunately here in Sheffield, there is only an answer for all these questions... And it’s a big YES. West Street : Tremendously convenient for engineering and business schools students. With Sainsbury’s, Safeway and The Moor (an area with lots of High Street shops) just a stone throw away, shopping (especially for food if you intend to cook yourself) is dead easy. There are a number of shops along West Street, ranging from restaurants to chemists; you can get almost anything that you want. The only downside is that it is difficult to secure a place, as there are not many houses/flats available here. Broomhall : Well known for having houses with cheap rent. Besides, there are 2 shops specialising in oriental foodstuffs. So, it is an easy way out for students from the east to feel at home. Ideal location for students from all disciplines since it is relatively near to almost all the departments. However, this area is also well known for being notorious, with lots of break-in cases reported all year round. Some houses here have been said to be in a very bad shape as well. Crookesmoore : Situated in between Crookes Valley Park and Weston Park, it’s a beautiful place to live in. Although it is exceptionally convenient for law students, it is also popular among medical students. Houses here are quite old, but they provide you with a very ‘homely’ and cosy atmosphere. For those of you who are actively engaged in sports, the Goodwin Sports Centre is just 5 minutes walk away. Shopping can never been any easier with all types of shops available in Broomhill, which is approximately 5 minutes away. However, rent here can be quite
expensive with gas bills that run pretty high during winter due to the poor insulation system in these old houses. These are just a general overview of the areas available for students. For further comments on places like Crookes, Broomhill, Hunters Bar and Walkley, please refer to opinion written by colmans mustard.
So, you've spent a year in halls. You have mastered the art of stealing two puddings in the lunch queue, know all the best times to go down to the computer room to avoid the arts students frantically typing up their essays and most importantly made friends with the barman so you can harass him to put countdown on the big screen in the bar.... But lets face it, halls are for freshers. All the civilised cultured folk live elsewhere. But why? Is it a highly secretive plot to stay away from the freshers and hence the obligotary questions "where are you from?" and "what course are you doing?" and the suchlike? Or is there an actual reason why there is a mass exodus out of halls at the end of the first year? In short yes. Halls are great for making new friends when you first arrive, finding your feet and creating a feeling of independance whilst still getting all your hoovering done by someone else. In my personal opinion, I liked my year in halls, I met a lot of people that I wouldn't have otherwise and generally had a good laugh. But you wouldn't catch me going there again, after a while the constant noise from someone in the building, set meal times and random cleaners waking you up when you want to sleep really get upo your nose.... For most people this means a move to privately rented accomodation, which in itself throws up a whole new set of questions, like where? The main student areas for sheffield uni are Crookes, Broomhill, and Walkley. Broomhill you will probably already be familiar with, the famous home of the worlds best record shop and possibly the best place to end up after a really good piss up (the infamous balti king) and of course ainsley harriots favourite chippy, the broomhill friery. On the living in broomhill front, prices are slightly more expensive than elsewhere, mostly due to the lack of terraced housing. But this does come with the advantage of a respectable area and a very han
dy supermarket in the form of somerfield. If your wallet is particularly important to you, then walkely is the place to be. The Steel Press is pretty mercilous about walkely, and with good reason. It just isn't a very nice place, short on decent shops, street lighting and police riot squads. Housing is cheap for this reason. However it has been known for people to find quite nice, reasonably priced accomodation in a semi decent area. This is a place for the bargain hunters amongst you! And finnaly crookes. Well, this is probably the most popular area as housing is plentiful, cheap and has a fairly decent shopping centre close by (if you don't mind shopping in the coop that is). Other handy ameanaties include no less than four decent pubs all within a drunken stagger of each other, lots of take outs and a video rental shop. All in all not bad.
For 1st year students, the most common choice of accomodation is University halls of residence. Whilst each of the 6 halls does have its own unique features, there are more similarites than differences between them. Everyone has there own opionion as to which is better; the only advice I would give is don't believe everything that the Uni housing leaflet tells you - often they advertise features which no longer exist, such as snack bars or darkrooms. It is best to go and visit the halls to get a feel for them if you can. Hall food isn't too bad at all, as long as you don't go expecting top-class restaurant quality. Halls also have the advantage that you don't have to clean much for yourself - bins get emptied and your room gets a cursory hoover once a week. However, there are down sides. If you don't get on with the people on your corridor, then there isn't a lot you can do about it. (Although room changes are possible sometimes.) Also, the cleanliness of the bathrooms often leaves a lot to be desired, especially at weekends. If you can afford it, it is probably worth choosing an en suite room in the halls that provide them. Certainly less disgusting when you go for a shower in the morning. University Flats (such as Broad Lane and Mappin Court) offer a good good compromise between living in your own house and living in hall - you are automatically placed within a community, and you get your cleaning done for you. However, you have to cook for yourself, and there tend to be far fewer organised social activities. The flats I've been in have all seemed very nicely furnished and modern. If you choose to live in a house, you can opt for a private landlord or the Uni owned houses. In theory, being in a Uni house is a good idea because it reduces the chance of you being screwed over by your landlord. However, the houses are not always great, and somehow feel less "homely" than most priva
te ones. Rent in the student areas of Sheffield (Crookes, Broomhill, Hunters Bar) is usually around £35 - £45 per week which is quite reasonable. They are all good places to live, with plenty of shops and pubs etc near by. Most older students opt to live in houses rather than halls; it certainly feels a lot more civilised.