Newest Review: ... changed by now. The halls are set out into flats of 8 people with a shared kitchen. The kitchens are very big and have plenty of cupbo... more
The clue's in the name - they are right next Highfield Campus!
Halls Of Residence At The University Of Southampton in general
Member Name: Midrange
Halls Of Residence At The University Of Southampton in general
Advantages: Excellent location, good catered food, great Common Room and bar
I was a student resident in Highfield Halls for one year as an undergraduate, and also visited friends in Highfield Halls in subsequent years. Highfield Halls, catered accommodation at the University of Southampton, were perhaps the least well known of all the University Residences as they are much smaller than the others with only 180 residents. The accommodation was split into two blocks: Aubrey House and Wolfe House, both located around a central, grassy quad. My review will take the following format:
- My Room
- Other Rooms (including Common Room, bar, courtyard)
- The Food
- Location (the main selling point!)
It may sound a little silly to write a review of my room but, naturally, the room I stayed in will be representative of many of the other rooms like it. I was lucky enough to have en-suite shower and toilet. They were tucked away in the corner - the door looked almost like the entrance to a cupboard. It was extremely convenient to have them there, but they did come at an extra cost of approximately £20 a week. I was also responsible for cleaning them, whereas the communal shower and toilet facilities were cleaned by the staff. This didn't bother me at all though - I'd much rather have a shower within 2 seconds walk than have to go up the corridor every morning.
The room was furnished with a large desk (looking out a window into the courtyward), a set of drawers, a very large wardrobe (enough space for four people inside... don't ask!), a bed and two sets of shelves. One of these shelves was where I kept all my music, the other (smaller one) was for my textbooks! The quality of the furniture was very good and I never had a single breakage. The bed was remarkably comfortable too.
My room was an exception as there were only 6 of them in Aubrey House. However, every room in Wolfe House was ensuite. The layout was significantly different though. Instead of a long room, the Wolfe House rooms were more box like in shape. As well as the "en suite" option on the application form, you could also choose to have a sink in your room. None of my friends were without a sink... so I don't actually know if "sink" was an option at all! There was probably one room out of 180 that didn't have a sink!
JCR (Junior Common Room) - a very large space on the first floor with a high ceiling, good lighting, great widescreen digital television, pool table and a mass of comfy chairs and coffee tables. Greaet for holding events in (e.g. open mic nights) or watching sporting events.
The Bar - the world's smallest bar in 1994 (I think it was '94). The party usually spilled out in to the reception and corridors though. Having a tiny bar was something of a talking point and no-one seriously minded that you could only fit about 20 people in there.
The Quad - I've interchangeably called this the Quad and the Courtyard - as did the residents of Highfield Halls. It didn't really have a name. It was sometimes just "The Grass". We used to have barbecues out on it in the summer, or play games. There were some rather worrying "plate throwing" incidents that took place in the quad as well as a bouncy castle day... students, what are they like?
Dining Room - catered halls with a dining room to seat about 140. There were never any problems for seating.
Here's a big selling point for the Halls... and perhaps, sadly, a point to put some people off. Generally, let's be fair, the food was fine. Better than the stuff some of us used to cook up on Saturdays. I should explain.
When I was a student, food was served twice a day on week-days. Breakfast (variety of cereals, toast, cooked foods, coffee, tea and juice) and dinner. At weekends, a "Big Breakfast" was serving on Saturday morning and Sunday lunch on Sunday. We had to cater for ourselves on weekday lunch times and weekend night dinners... hope that makes sense!
The breakfasts could never be complained about. It's hard to go wrong with toast and cereal. Some students liked to moan about the variable quality of the toast - in my experience it was always hot and bread-based. Haha. No complaints there.
Dinners were more debatable. The pasties were disgusting. Really horrible, brought in, heated up on site greasy-yuck. Other dishes to avoid were the vegetarian curry and the pizza. A menu, offering 3 main dish options (always one vegetarian) was posted up at around 5pm every day. Dinner was served from 5.45pm. This meant that, if you were quick enough, you could get in from lectures, check the menu and line up in time to get the "best" dishes. There was always something nice on offer, it was just a questin of "would they have run out by the time you got there?"
Let me finish by talking about Highfield Halls location. It is fantastic. Any resident is within 10 minutes walk of both Hghfield Campus (home to sciences, law, geography and the students union) and 5 minutes walk from Avenue Campus (home of humanities). I feel I should write more to emphasise this point - you will not find any University accommodation that is closer to the two major campuses of the University. All other Halls of residence are at least 20 minutes walk away or require a bus journey. The advantages of being so close are (let's be honest)
- getting up late and still being on time
- getting ghome safely after a night of clubbing at the students union (no need for cabs or waiting around for buses)
- being very close to a major bus route. 2 minutes walk and you're at the U2 stop, which takes you directly into the city centre.
- being 10 minutes walk from Portswood highstreet - which sports a Waitrose and Somerfield for handy (if not expensive) shopping!
- being in a good neighbourhood. Highfield is one of the more "up market" neighbourhoods in Soutahmpton. As a result, I never experienced any problems on the surroudning streets
- being 4 minutes walk from TWO pubs (The Crown is much better in my opinion than The Highfield Pub - but they're both there for you to sample!)
- being very close to the Common
Ah yes - I didn't mention that vefore. Southampton Common is literally on your doorstep if you're in Wlfe House. Lovely for the summer months - you can just step outside and enjoy the acres of parkland.
Summary: Small (180) hall, ideally located in a decent neighbourhood
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