Accommodation used to be one of the worst aspects of the University of Portsmouth - but thanks to some serious investment by the university, it's now one of the best.
There are two campuses - the Guildhall campus, where all the university buildings and some halls are. This is in the City Centre. The Langstone campus is at the border of the city and has some halls of residences there.
The Langstone Campus has a bar which regularly holds events for residents. There's a friendly spirit there, and you'll make friends quickly.
Of the newest halls, Margaret Rule has the largest room sizes, with the other two having the same sized bedrooms. Margaret Rule also has larger windows which means you get more fresh air and light into your room. If you're on the higher floors in any of these halls, expect nice views of the city, and even the sea and coastline! The downside is having to walk further when the fire alarms go off!
Is pretty much equidistant between the City centre (where the shops and supermarkets are) and Guildhall Walk (where the pubs and clubs are). It's slightly further away from the university buildings in the North Zone, but only by about 5 minutes.
Is pretty much on Guildhall Walk. Depending on what block and floor you're in, you can get some pretty nice views from your room or kitchen. It's slightly further away from the city centre but closer to the university buildings in the North zone where most of your lectures are likely to be.
There are three blocks D, N and A - each block has it's own lift but only N block has a lift from the ground floor to the top floor (D and A have lifts from the first floor).
The rooms are modern with a large desk and single bed with en-suite, almost identical to those in Margaret Rule and Trafalgar. One draw back to living virtually on Guildhall Walk is that those whose bedrooms look out on to The Guildhall are disturbed by the clock chiming every 15 minutes from 8am through to 10pm. Your right on top of the main strip of bars which is great when stumbling home from a great night out, but when you catch freshers flu/have an early start in the morning it isn't so fun feeling the bass of Pure until 3 in the morning.
The kitchen sizes vary but can be very large, they usually have four stools at a breakfast bar and four comfy chairs. For flats of six or more there is an extra fridge too.
Isn't too far away from either Margaret Rule or James Watson, but it's slightly further away from the City Centre and the North zone's university buildings. If you're an art student, then Eldon building is a two minute walk away though.
There are two lifts which go from the ground floor all the way to the top floor. There is a Spar directly underneath Trafalgar and the main strip of clubs on Guildhall Walk are a two minute walk away - near enough to be within stumbling distance, yet far enough away to get an easy nights sleep.
The rooms are modern with a large desk and single bed with en-suite, almost identical to those in Margaret Rule and James Watson. The windows are slightly larger and open wider keeping the room cool.
The kitchen has a table and chairs as well as four comfy chairs. There are six rooms per flat and they share one normal sized fridge freezer.
Is one of the older halls - it can be a bit dark inside and rooms can be either stupidly small or stupidly massive - it's pot luck which one you get though! Unlike the newer halls, Harry Law is a corridor style hall. The newer halls are self contained flats.
By far the rowdiest hall of 2004/2005. Squeezed in between the law courts and the Civic Centre it has a multi story car park next to it which has been used for football and games of lazer quest after a riotous session. A block has 9 floors and B-E have 4 floors. Residents on the West side have the added option of coating Harry Law in paintball pellets. Residents of A block can see Guildhall from their kitchen windows which provides much entertainment watching the cream of Pompey stagger out of Wetherspoon's at turfing out time. Other entertainment can be provided by flashing your bum at the office workers in the Civic Centre, wolf whistling at voluptuous young ladies out the window and of course paper aeroplanes :D
Is in Southsea and is one of the catered halls. If you hate cooking or don't mind having set times when you can eat, then this is a pretty nice hall. The room sizes are okay (Unless you get a room on the top floor, in which case the room sizes are massive!), the hall itself is pleasant and if you get a view over the sea, count yourself lucky! Shops are a 5 minute walk away to Southsea's main shopping parade (There's a Co-Op and a Tesco Express as well other stores) and you're also closer to Gunwharf Quays, which has bars, restaurants and designer outlet stores. Be warned though, the food at Rees is a bit suspect at times, but can be gourmet at other times - hit or miss really..
Is the only one I haven't been in but location wise, it's pretty much the same as Rees Hall. It's a concrete jungle though, and doesn't look overly pretty from the outside, but they have large windows so you'll get lots of light in your room.
The Langstone Campus is about a 15-20 minute bus journey away from the Guildhall Campus, which isn't great judging the bus service isn't regular, and is often non-existent. Expect to have to get up early to get to lectures, and to hail a taxi to get back after a night out as the last bus is at about 11PM. However, they are cheaper than the city centre options.
60% of students who apply to the University of Portsmouth get a place in Halls of Residences. Due to the rising popularity of Portsmouth, this figure is going down every year. Inevitably, those who don't get a place in halls are going to look for a house..
Should you find yourself in this predicament - don't panic over where to live next year! There are many students in the same position.
The university organises a "Secure A Home" event which will take place over a weekend. This is when local landlords and letting agencies will come together and present you with the houses they have on their books.
It'll be a social weekend where you'll meet lots of other people who are in the same position as yourself and are looking for somewhere to live. The aim is for people to group together with other people who they seem to get on with and then go looking for a place to live together..
Okay - so that's a bit of a scary way to start off uni life.. living in a house with complete strangers.. What if you don't get in with them? etc..
Everyone's in the same boat in the beginning and you'll all be helping each other out. Your new housemates are likely to become your closest friends!
Where to live
I suggest you live in Southsea - it's where most of the student population lives. Roads adjoining Albert Road seem to be the most popular, although these are mainly your typical council houses - be careful that you don't end up with a complete lemon!
There are some very (and I mean VERY!) nice student houses in Portsmouth, if you look around. Unfortunately, these will most probably already have been snapped up if you don't move quickly, but nevertheless keep your fingers crossed! My tip is by the seafront near Time & Envy - Burgoyne Road and that general area has some very nice houses! A bit far from the Uni Campus, but if you have a house like that, who cares?!
Areas to avoid
Eastney, Somerstown and Paulsgrove are probably the areas you don't want to be in. Fratton and North End aren't really ideal either, but if you're low on options, then they're the ones you should probably settle for.
The areas aren't really student friendly and the crime/violence is generally in these areas. Keep your wits about you, avoid eye contact, all the usual stuff and you should be fine. Again, Southsea is where the main student population is so that's the safest place for students (obviously )
About £60-80 per week is the current going rate in Pompey - you should only pay much more than that if your bills are included or you have a really nice house (like me!). Some houses have been refurbished with new carpets, furniture and appliances so keep an eye out for these and check them out! Just bare in mind that if the rent is presented as a 'per week' figure, it won't be calculated in the sense that there are 4 weeks in a month.
If you're in the first year and in halls, you should probably think about looking for a house around March-April. If you want the best houses in Portsmouth, you'll want to do what me and my housemates did and go looking in January - February when everyone is preoccupied in their end of semester exams.
Its up to you if you want to wait for the University-accredited housing list, as it doesn't come out till March/April and some students have had bad luck with it. If you do decide to go out to Letting agencies (Tully's & Co, Devonshire, Universal, Aztec spring to mind - all based in Southsea), be warned, many a student has fallen foul of a bad agency - the first one in the above list regularly gets slated and causes so many problems. Ironically, the students who do choose agencies and end up down the pan, end up in a house that's on the Uni list.
The Benefit of going with the Uni list is that they are all checked by the University and have to comply with certain standards, e.g. carbon monoxide detectors, internet connection provided etc etc.
The benefit of going with an agency is that you know sooner where you're going to live - I think most would rather have the weight of a University behind them with a landlord than some random agency.