Royal Holloway is a part of the University of London and though it's technically in Greater London, it has a rather rural setting near Egham in Surrey. It's a small university having just over 7,500 students but is regarded as one of the better unis in the UK.
Royal Holloway has two libraries, the music library having moved to Founders in 2010:
- Bedford Library
- Founders Library
The Bedford and Founders libraries are located on campus.
The Bedford Library contains most of the science, social science, and history publications, and Founders Library covers mainly English, languages and the arts. Both these libraries have desks and computers and bookable group rooms for students to use, as well as photocopiers and printers. There are also binding machines, free to use, in the Bedford Library. Founder's Library has the beautiful original Victorian reading rooms, and are very popular with students who want to study in absolute silence!
As well as the Royal Holloway libraries students also have free access to the University of London library in Senate House, which is in central London, close to Russell Square.
Undergraduates can have 15 books from Royal Holloway libraries on loan, as well as 8 from Senate House, at any one time. Fines are charged for overdue items, generally about 40p per day, although it is a lot more for items with short loan periods. Items can be renewed online. Founders and Bedford libraries are open daily during term time (8.30am to 01.00am Monday to Thursday) but have shorter opening hours on Friday evening (8.30am to 9.00pm). Both libraries are open from 8.30am to 9.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays during term time, but in the Spring term Bedford Library is open 24/5: so it opens at 8.30am on Sunday mornings, and doesn't close until 9.00pm on Friday evenings; it then opens normal hours on Saturday (8.30am to 9.00pm). Founder's Library continues with the normal opening hours. From the week before the Summer term and throughout the exam period, Bedford Library is open 24/7. Senate House is shut on Sundays.
Royal Holloway also has a lot of journals, and subscriptions to many online collections, including JSTOR, which can be accessed from any computer connected to the college network, or from any computer via the library website.
IT and Computing
Royal Holloway has numerous different sporting clubs including (but not limited to):
- Rowing - Rugby - Football - Lacrosse - Basketball - Tennis - Mixed Martial Arts and Applied Self Defense - Judo - Karate - Ninjitsu - Muay Thai - Horse Riding - Badminton - Swimming
There are several different sporting areas on campus including large playing fields located at the rear of the campus, gymnasium, sports hall, tennis courts and basketball courts.
Although Royal Holloway has a swimming pool, it is not currently in use. The space is used by the Drama department and is also taken up by the Geology department's rock collection. There is however a Swimming Society that organises trips to local swimming pools. There is a swimming pool in Staines.
There is no need to feel isolated or alone at times of stress or personal crisis at Royal Holloway. Apart from your departmental supervisor, there is a student counsellor and the Student Union has welfare officers to atttend to students needing help and guidance. There is also a chaplaincy and student radio station for those needing a chat. The College has financial advisors to help with debt and money problems but the office can get very busy. Hardship funds are available for those in financial difficulty but the strict criteria must be met. Disabled students are also well catered for and there are general grants available for help with special needs.
The university has a Heath Centre in Founders. It's open 9 - 5 Monday to Friday. Students need to register, but once they have they can see the doctor by appointment, or a nurse without an appointment. There are also surgeries in Englefield Green and Egham which students who are living in private sector accommodation can register at, or they can remain registered at the college health centre if they live close enough to campus.
Egham, Surrey, UK
Applicants per place:
Royal Holloway has a campus shop that stocks a variety of things from stationary to clothes to food. The range of food is not huge - fine for grabbing something for lunch, but you'd find it hard to live off it if you're on campus. Essentials like milk are available though. The nearest large shop is Tesco in Egham which is pleasant 15-20 minute walk away. Many students walk there and get a taxi or bus back, though many walk both ways too. Although the Tesco is designated a Tesco Metro, it is pretty large and has almost everything you could want! Egham also has a number of other shops:
- Budgens - open 24 hours a day 7 days a week - very convenient
- General hardware/electrical shop (opposite Tesco)
- Numerous charity shops
- Banks - NatWest, Nationwide, HSBC, Barclays and Santander
- Some opticians
- Lloyd's Pharmacy
- Restaurants, pubs and takeaways (Indian and Chinese), including several pizza places, a chip shop, and a Subway.
Staines is the nearest place with a shopping centre. 5 minutes by train (and £1.70 off-peak return with a student railcard) away from Egham it has every shop you could want (M&S, Waitrose, Debenhams, GAP, etc...), many restaurants (Nandos, Pizza Hut, ASK) and a large VUE cinema. There are also Sainsbury's (including fuel) and Waitrose supermarkets.
London is 40 minutes to an hour away by train, and there are usually four trains an hour. Fast trains leave at 23 and 53 past the hour, and slower ones at 27 and 57 minutes past the hour. Tickets cost about £8/£11 for a return/travelcard, or £5.30/£7.80 with a railcard. At peak time a return travelcard will cost £19.40.
In Englefield Green (where many students live after they leave halls) there are several 'corner shop' type shops, including a Londis and a Spar, as well as a post office, a few restaurants and a couple of hairdressers.
- Hub (cafe, meals and cooked-while-you-wait stir fries)
- Bake 'n' bite (it opened in april '08 and offers pizzas and all nice pastries)
- Cafe Jules (serves baguettes)
- Tapas Bar (Kingswood Halls)
- Crosslands (has bacon or sausage rolls in the morning and baked potatoes with a variety of toppings for lunch along with a selection of biscuits, crisps and sandwiches).
In Egham and Englefield Green there are many restaurants and takeaways, including numerous pizza places that will deliver food to campus or students living in the local area until late into the night.
There is a mini branch of Santander on campus, close to Founders. It has cashpoints that can be accessed 24 hours a day, and are free to use. There are other cash machines on campus, in the Students' Union and Medicine, but they charge.
In Egham there are branches of many of the major banks, including Halifax, Abbey, Barclays, Natwest and HSBC.
Mainline National Rail trains run by South West Train are the main transport to and from Egham. Egham station is about a 15 minute brisk walk from the campus taking the 'back street' route via the College back gate. It takes slightly longer by the 'safer' route down Egham Hill which is recommended at night due to the danger of attack in the quieter 'back streets'.
South West Trains depart from Egham at 23, 27, 53 and 57 minutes past each hour towards London. The trains are quite new and comfortable these days but there are few on-board facilities. Be prepared for delays and long waits on a windswept Egham station during your Holloway years (there's a small waiting room but dominated by a Puccino's coffee outlet). The 23 and 53 minute past trains are fast trains via Richmond, while the 27 and 57 trains are much slower (about 20 minutes longer to Waterloo) and go via Hounslow/Kew. If one misses a fast train it is possible to take the slow one and change at Staines for a slightly faster service from Windsor from the same platform. After a long delay, train users in the outer Greater London area will soon be able to use prepaid 'Oystercard' and save money on fares like those in inner London. Despite the relatively fast train services, there isn't a great need to commute to London unless to visit Senate House Library, a seminar in London or a day out from suburbia. Royal Holloway is somewhat insular and self-contained and there's a chance you may never need to commute into London during your time at the College.
There is a college bus that runs throughout the day linking the station to the campus. This takes about 10 minutes and the buses are meant to be timed to meet the trains into and returning from London, if you are prepared to hop off and run for it just as the train pulls in. However, the buses are old and the 'service' is somewhat unreliable and it is often quicker to walk to and from College. Tickets can be bought on board but will cost more than tickets bought ahead of time in College Reception. There are also public buses which stop outside the main gates as well as Egham and Englefield Green and go to Staines (71/441), Windsor/Slough (71) and Heathrow Airport (71/441). From Staines eastwards buses are connected to the London bus network, on whose services Travelcards and Oystercards are valid. Bus services are not very frequent as Egham is far out from the main Greater London Bus network.
There are also a number of Taxi companies - Gemini Cars being the most well known and used. These frequently take students from the station to the campus as well as to Staines and Egham. For your safety, minicabs should always be booked ahead, especially at night. Only official licensed cabs are supposed to pick up 'fares' without pre-booking.
Royal Holloway has a very high percentage of graduate recruitment aided by its excellent Careers Service. The Service is very proactive and students are urged to make use of its expertise as graduation approaches. The Careers Service also employs a number of students in part-time admin posts.
Jobs at the actual university seem to be highly contended, especially bar jobs. There is work to be had helping run events or 'ents' for short. Part-time work can be sought in Egham, a few on the forum have mentioned working for Tesco or Budgens whilst others have done administration work.
The College has a magnificent, ornate Victorian Chapel in Founders building, and a chaplain. The chapel is famed for its active musical tradition with its choir and highly regarded organ scholars. There are often musical recitals adjacent to the chapel in the Picture Gallery. There is a COE parish church in Egham, a range of Free churches nearby, and a Catholic church nearby to the College. There is a tradition of an active Jewish community at Royal Holloway and there is a United Synagogue in Staines. There is also a Muslim prayer room on campus and a Mosque in Woking. Other domoninations and religions are well catered for in the local area. The nearest COE cathedral is at Guildford which is worth a visit. The Roman Catholic cathedral for the London area is in Westminster, easily reached by train.
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Bars, Pubs and clubs
- Students Union/Tommy's
- Stumble Inn
Near the campus (Englefield Green and Egham):
- Monkey's Forehead (across the road from the campus)
- Happy Man (3 minute walk, Englefield Green)
- Al Ma Ma Ta (was The Railway) (Egham)
- The Crown (Egham)
- The Red Lion (Egham)
The students union organizes various events during the week. There is usually at least one event per day, and the SU publishes a Comm card every 3 weeks which lists all events, and it can be found on the SU website, inside the SU's Orbital magazine, or from the SU itself. This year (2007/08) we had Amerie and Scissor Sisters singing for us. There are many plays starring students from drama school and some others from auditions. Students also organize a fashion show where people can take place as models, make up artists, hair stylists etc.
Outside companies also setup coach trips and clubbing events to students. This includes Monkeys Mondays (Monkeys forehead turns into a club), Liquid Windsor on Thursday and companies like iParty that arrange trips to London Clubs. These coach trips bring Royal Holloway students to famous clubs like Ministry of Sound and TigerTiger for an affordable price.
Clubs and societies
There are a wide selection of societies covering every imaginable interest. You can join any of them at the Freshers Fayre that is held in the first week of term - typically the Thursday and Friday. Or you can join any of them at any point in the year by going to the societies page on the SU website and using the join option on their pages. The price to join a society is £7 each plus you need to get the Student's Activities Membership which costs £10 for 1 year or £25 for 3. (prices are subject to change and are accurate as of 2011).
|Anime and Manga||For fans of the style of comic/cartoon|
|Criminology and Sociology|
|IFIS (Sci-fi and Fantasy)||For people who love reading or watching science fiction and fantasy|
|Labour and Co-Operative|
|LGBT||A friendly and welcoming society for people who are gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/etc|
|Love To Make Noise|
|New Lyell||This is the society Earth sciences students join|
|People and Planet|
|PIR||Politics and International Relations|
|Rock||A society for fans of alternative music|
|SIFE||Students In Free Enterprise|
|The Writer's Society|
|ACS||African and Caribbean Society|
|Performing Arts Societies|
|Absolute Harmony||Acapella Choir|
|BALADS||Ballroom and Latin American Dancing|
|MTS||Musical Theatre Society|
|Voices of Holloway|
There are also several sports clubs which also has a list. Several of which compete nationally and win competitions.
As is apparently common amongst UK universities, guests are strictly not allowed in accommodation. The general consensus on the forum seems to show that nobody takes much notice, although disciplinary action has been taken against some.
Royal Holloway has several halls of residence. Some are undergraduate only, some are postgraduate only, and some are a mix of the two. Generally the principle is (like with most universities) that the newer the better and the more you pay. You can save considerable money by going for cheaper accommodation, and often the cheaper accommodation is found to have a more lively atmosphere. The new '21st century' accommodation can have an 'isolated' feel where you can easily avoid seeing anyone else. Don't worry if you end up without the accommodation you wanted - you'll have a great time wherever you are!
Founders Hall - This is the big red brick "castle" that is on so many pictures of Royal Holloway. It houses undergraduates only and is a catered hall. The corridors are single sex, the 2nd floor is male only while the 3rd and 4th floors are female only. The fifth floor houses final year students, one side (East or West) for female students, the other for male. Meals are severed in the dining hall and can be bought with money put on an "RCS card" to get the cheapest prices (also used for unlocking doors around campus, including the computer centre and for proving your identity in exams).
Reid Hall - Another catered undergraduate only hall. Meals are eaten in Founders dining hall, except when it is closed on Saturdays, when the discount is applied to the hub's dining hall instead. Walking up to Founders can be a drag, especially when it's cold or rainy, but the alternative is to pay more for food at the hub or to cook for yourself using the kitchen's toaster, microwave or kettle.
Runnymede I & II - Built in 1992 and 1997 respectively, these are a bit dated but still reasonably smart. Arranged in a similar way as Gowar & Wedderburn (below), made up of flats of 6 or 8 students with en-suite bathrooms and shared kitchens. Single beds in the rooms though, unlikely the newer accommodation, and smaller rooms overall.
Gowar" & "Wedderburn - Built for September 2004, smart self-catering hall with a mixture of undergrad and postgrad students. Rooms are en-suite and in flats of 8, each flat with it's own kitchen. Flats are generally mixed-sex with half male and half female (normally split with female rooms at the front and male rooms at the back). Cards have to be used three times to get into your room - once to get into the building, once to get into the flat and a third time to get into your room. This isn't generally an issue in itself, but unlike some of the older accommodation, limits who 'passes through'. This can be a good thing of course, but it limits you meeting new people! Rooms are reasonably sized with double beds and en-suite bathrooms. Beds are comfortable and shower works probably too well (the water pressure is high!) Kitchens are all different shapes due to the way the blocks are laid out, but are generally long and narrow, front to back, with a public view at one end and a more private view at the other. Kitchens are equipped with a pair of cupboards each (normally one high one and one low one, but you could fight over this!), two tall fridges with freezers, a hob and electric oven. They also have a large table, the appropriate number of chairs and a pin board. The halls themselves are set around a lozenge shaped area of grass which is enjoyable in the summer and very close to the sports hall and other sports facilities. It's also close to Medicine (bar), The Stumble Inn (pub) and The Hub (hot food). It's about as far away as possible from everything academic (which may be a good thing!), especially drama and music (the other side of the main road, a 10 minute walk up hill(!) across campus).
Butler", "Tuke" and "Williamson - newly built for September 2007, and in the same style as Gowar and Wedderburn. These are essentially identical to Gowar & Wedderburn, but newer and closer to the rest of the main campus (by about a minute). There is not much to choose between any of these, the fitting out is identical, though the external appearance of the buildings is different.
Kingswood I & II - The only off-campus accommodation. 1.5 miles from campus which can be walked straightforwardly (but not very quickly). A free bus service runs between the accommodation and the campus. All the accommodation is catered. Kingswood I is partly an old building and partly a newer extension, and made up of single and twin rooms with shared bathrooms. Kingswood II was built in 1995 and is similar to Runnymede I & II, with rooms with en-suite bathrooms in flats, though of course lacking proper kitchens. Kingwood is generally considered the worst accommodation to be in, mainly due to it being off campus. There have been complaints recently about the quality of the food available at Kingswood. Kingwood's remote location means that shops and other amenities are not nearby. The walk to Tesco's is a good 30 minutes, unless a rather steep muddy track is used. Englefield Green's centre is 10 minutes walk. However, parking is available, subject to the acquisition of a permit.
Penrose - A mixture of undergrad and postgrad students. Penrose is a self-catering Hall comprised of one block of flats, and several groups of houses. The houses are set around a small courtyard which provides parking facilities, and are each split into smaller houses consisting of 6 rooms each, with a kitchen, bathroom, and toilet.
Highfield - A set of flats in the same vicinity as Penrose, for postgraduates only.
The Victorian Houses - These are postgrad-only, self-catering houses on the other side of the main road from the main campus.
There is a wide choice - some people may decide to live in Egham but a large number of students choose to rent a house in the village of Englefield Green. Egham has generally better quality housing and is not really that different in price to Englefield Green, but most houses are further from campus. Much of the accommodation in Englefield Green is on 'the estate' which is made of cheap 1950's housing. Although fairly close to campus (10 minute walk) access is generally down a dark alley beside the cemetery which is not ideal at night, and some incidents have been known to happen there. The other side of Englefield Green has some better quality housing and is closer to the campus (as such it goes very quickly). Egham is made up of a variety of houses - some late Victorian houses that are very good quality and close to the campus. Egham has the main advantage of being close to both Tescos (a major benefit not to be overlooked - Englefield Green to Tescos is a good 20-30 minute walk) and the station. If you travel home at weekends (as many students do) Egham is a good location. Cycling from Egham to campus is a good option and a number of students do this - it is up hill though, but good exercise - once you're used to it, this takes about 7 minutes from the centre of Egham to the campus (up the A30).
The SU building has three bars and the building as whole is often used a huge single venue offering space for 1200 people. Medicine bar has been updated a while ago. It's got pool tables and you can also get small bits of food too. Try out Antidote there at the weekends.
Tommy's bar is usually open in the day if you want to get some food or a drink - also go here if you want to use the wifi-connection. In the evenings there is often something going on too, like the cocktail nights on Friday when the bar is open from 10pm to 2pm before the place shuts around 3pm.
Finally you have The Stumble Inn - a more traditional bar with events such as a pub quiz on Sundays. There is even a beer garden for when the weathers nice!
Media is big at the uni with a SU run magazine (The Orbital) an radio station (Insanity) and TV station (SU TV).
The College has a mix of old an new buildings, the most impressive of which is the Victorian red brick 'Founder's Building' which is iconic of the College, set high on Egham Hill overlooking Runnymede and far beyond. The visual impact is arresting and often overwhelming with two massive quads complete with statues. It has gained a higher profile in recent years through films and TV dramas such as 'Trinity'. The more recent buildings have tended to follow the budget trends of the time with little of beauty of merit. Some teaching is still conducted in shabby prefab huts which are badly in need of demolition.
The departmental buildings dotted around the campus are mostly 20th century and vary considerably in external appearance and quality. Most are reasonable, but some such as the 1970s Bourne building are rather ugly, being made out of concrete and glass sometime in the 1960s. This building has recently had an extensive internal refurbishment. In the mid-1990s, the Bedford Library was opened which is dull in style but now has a 'trendy' social space in its foyer complete with coffee bar. Two new buildings have recently been built on campus - the Windsor building (essentially a conference centre so the university can actually make some money - it's a poor concert hall) and the management building extension with its striking 'onion dome' metallic roof. The old Victorian Boiler House was converted to produce an impressive arts space. There is also a small Victorian swimming pool converted to a lecture and exam room. The extensive woodlands and gardens soften the poor quality of the 20th century buildings and provide an impressive backdrop to Founder's.
The Uni is located around 20 miles from central London. The fastest means of travel is by train to Waterloo or Richmond to catch the Underground, around 40 mins. However, this does not allow for long waits at windy, rainy Egham station and delayed trains. Note, however, that the railway station is not that close to the campus, around 15 mins walk by the 'back route' or take a taxi or college bus. London can feel 'far away' as the campus doesn't relate that much to London beyond being part of London Uni. The camps is near Windsor Great Park which is an amazing area of open spaces, parks and gardens. The Savill Gardens, Valley Gardens and Virginia Water lake are local beauty spots for family visits. Englefield Green is nearby with some small convenience shops, a chemist and a place to look for private student accommodation. The small town of Egham is also close by reached by walking down Egham Hill or taking the backstreet route. There is a small range of shops in Egham and a leisure centre.
The extensive Runnymede (where the Magna Carta was signed) has fields with the River Thames flowing gently are at the foot of the hill on which the university sits. Beyond this is Windsor, Staines and the Colne Valley. Windsor is good for shops and touristy visits to the famous Castle. Eton with its famous boys' school and quaint High Street is good for browsing but mainly touristy. Staines has a reasonable range of chain stores including Boots, a large Waitrose, standard clothes shops and a large leisure centre near the station. Staines and Windsor are easily reached by train or bus. The proximity to the Thames affords for rowing and there are also large reservoirs and former gravel pits in Staines for water-skiing and sailing. Students are warned to avoid the popular 'short cut' via the back gate and poorly lit back streets to and from campus at night as there have been several attacks in recent years. Walking up and down the steep Egham Hill to the shops and station will get you fit but also tire you out if not fit and there's also a lot of traffic fumes from the busy A30.
Teaching quality and research
Royal Holloway is reputed to have a very high standard of teaching quality but the individual experience can be very mixed, especially for postgraduates. Drama, Music, English, Psychology, Languages, History and Biological Sciences are very well respected. The College has a particularly high reputation for its postgraduate research and features high in the tables across many subject areas.
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