I started looking for accommodations when I already knew I was going to NCH. Since I deferred my application, I knew a year before and I must say that was an advantage to get my hands on a room early. So, my first point of advice would be to start looking for accommodation ASAP!
On my search, I looked at those recommended on the NCH website, as well as some others I just found online and compiled a list of all I found relevant, including room prices and distance to uni. I made this list last year, so I would double check if the prices haven’t changed since.
Janet Poole House (6 min by foot) – starting at 245 pounds / week
iQ Bloomsbury (13 min by foot) – starting at 395 pounds / week
Urbanest St. Pancras (13 min by bike) – price: 264 / week
Helen Graham House (5 min by foot) – from 185 pounds / week
Tufnell House (20-25 min by bus) – 225 – 245 pounds / week
Mannequin House (27-30 min by tube) – 189 pounds / week
Urbanest Westminster (15 min by tube) – 269 pounds / week or 209 pounds / week for twin room
First, I only considered Tufnell or Mannequin House, and I have since met a lot of people who are very happy with their rooms there. However, I ended up going to Urbanest Westminster and it was a very good decision for me. You have the option between single, double or even studio rooms. Most of the single ensuite rooms are located in either 11 or 6 person flats who share a kitchen. The single rooms were a bit over my budget, but I luckily had a friend from back home in Berlin who moved to London too. We decided to share a twin room. If you know the person you move in with and are comfortable sharing a bathroom with them, this is honestly the best value for money you will get. If you don’t, however, I wouldn’t recommend moving into a twin room with a stranger. I know from my flatmates that they were all very happy with their ensuites.
Sharing a kitchen with so many people is definitely a challenge. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and the number of times that the trash was overflowing was ridiculous. But to be honest, this is probably something you will have in any student accommodation and it is a challenge to overcome and grow from. Other than that, I really enjoyed meeting people from very different universities and courses. I made incredible friends, with both NCH and non-NCH people at Urbanest.
If you want you can additionally pay for a gym membership, and you will be able to use their gym, swimming pool and sauna. Which, yes, sounds quite decadent, but if you think it will benefit you it’s quite worth it. You should be warned that a lot of rooms face directly towards Waterloo station, so if you are very sensitive to noise, make sure to get a room facing the other way. If you are okay with a little train station noise, however, you will be blessed with the most amazing view over the city. The study spaces available are very helpful and the view you have from the 18th floor (I would recommend watching the sunset from up there as often as you can) is beyond compare.
The location of Urbanest made everything really worth it. It’s located directly on the south side of Westminster Bridge, just a few minutes walking distance from Westminster and Waterloo station. Lower Marsh is right around the corner with co-op and Sainsbury’s and a bunch of little bars and shops to explore. It is only 15 minutes away from uni with the tube, but recently I have grown accustomed to just walking for about 35 minutes which I would recommend to anyone. It clears your head before class, and you get to enjoy a beautiful view from Waterloo Bridge every day.
My first year is coming to an end and I will move out of student accommodation and into a flat next year and although I am very excited about only having to share my kitchen with three other people, I am very thankful for the time I got to spend here and the people I met.