There seems to be a definitive hierarchy at every university about which halls are the best and which unlucky bastards get stuck with the worst. I myself got stuck with one of the worst in my first year, but as that is now postgraduate accommodation I’m not including it on grounds of selection. Dorms at Royal Holloway has seven undergraduate halls eligible for this ranking, so let the ranking begin!
1. George Eliot
George Eliot are the most recent halls to grace Royal Holloway, and though they are the most expensive, it’s for good reason. I was going into third year when they were built and so never actually got to see inside, but the photos online speak for themselves, as do the happy faces of the students I have witnessed walking out of them. Situated directly across the road from campus, with glossy kitchens, plush sofas, and spacious rooms, these halls are truly Royal Holloway’s finest (and if you ask me, a little too luxurious for students – no, I’m not bitter at all!). This is one of the top dorms at Royal Holloway.
2. Williamson, Tuke & Butler
Williamson & Co only just came in second after much deliberation on my part. The reason they beat out their similar counterparts was due to their convenient location, large bathrooms, and generally nice sense atmosphere and sense of camaraderie. Plus, I went to a really good party at Butler once and I’ve thought fondly of it ever since.
3. Gowar & Wedderburn
Gowar & Wedderburn are third instead of second purely because they are situated in that really weird forest bit past Medicine (typical that they decided to do a refurb of that after I’d graduated). Some like the potential for peace and quiet, some think Gowar and Wedderburn is the worst because it’s kinda out of the way, inviting loud music/drug tomfoolery more than usual. Whatever does happen, all I know is that I visited a friend there once, it was nice, and they even had a working lift. What more could you want?
Yes, I know. Royal Holloway students past and present, I know this is controversial, but hear me out. The reason Founders’ is fourth in this ranking is because, if it wasn’t in a really cool building, and people didn’t want to tell their friends they lived at ‘Hogwarts’, no one would want to live there. I’ve heard several first-hand accounts of disgusting shared bathrooms, rampant food theft, tiny bedrooms, and lots of noise from both quads, including from the chapel itself (choirs can be very noisy, guys) and the bell that tolls every hour. That is why, no matter how beautiful it is, Founders’ is fourth. This is one of the top dorms at Royal Holloway.
Runnymede was once again a toss-up but won out against Reid because I have actually been inside it for more than five minutes on an open day. The kitchens are a bit old-fashioned but in a kinda kitschy way, you get a nice big table, and your bedrooms are decent enough with no mould on the ceiling (yes, I am side-eying my accommodation here). The location is a bit weird, but on the plus side you’re close to the Sports Centre and the Back Gate if you’re into either fitness or escaping. Overall, pretty good student accommodation.
Reid is very boring accommodation, but you do get an ensuite, even if it is the size of a train toilet. It is catered if you hate cooking, but you will have to traipse for about five minutes up a hill to be fed, or if The Hub is closed, even further. I looked at Reid on my open day and a girl told me the room was big enough for her to do yoga in so I suppose that’s another plus for it. Reid is the definition of settling. It’s fine, but you know Royal Holloway could have done better, and that’s that. This is one of the top dorms at Royal Holloway.
Any Royal Holloway student worth their salt must have known that this was coming. Kingswood is the bottom of the halls heap, and not just because its old, and just generally sad looking. You either have to walk a sad 20 minutes through lots of greenery or hop on the shuttle bus to get to campus if you are unfortunately placed in Kingswood. Legend has it that Kingswood 2 is better than 1 – or was that the other way round? Either way, everyone will feel sorry for you if you live in Kingswood, including me, and my accommodation was truly terrible. This is one of the top dorms at Royal Holloway.
There we have it – the ultimate ranking of dorms at Royal Holloway! If I had to do postgraduate quickly it would go: George Eliot Postgrad, Penrose, Highfield, and you cannot change my mind about it. Let us know what you think below.
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Hey! I am a recently graduated Classics student who loves writing. I post my poetry on Instagram @ rhanireland and I am currently working on my second novel in my spare time. My favourite thing to write articles about are my own life experiences and what inspires me, open letters, fashion, beauty, or things I generally am enjoying at the moment. I am also a slight skincare addict, and love to share what has worked for me with others.