Frances Tuoriniemi 1.85
The complete guide to halls at Birmingham Uni
Which are the party halls, the quiet halls, and the halls closest to campus?
The Vale Village
The social heart of campus. Home to classics like Vale Fireworks and student-run Vale Fest, The Vale Village is definitely the place to be if you're looking for that typical Freshers experience - and it's close to uni for those hungover 9ams.
Surrounding the lake on the Vale are Mason, Chamberlain, Maple Bank, Shackleton, Tennis Court, Aitken, and Elgar Court halls.
Mason and Chamberlain
Now, Mason and Chamberlain get a lot of flack for being the snobbiest ones (fair critique), but you are getting your money's worth (well, for first-year accommodation, which is always crazily expensive). If you can afford these and want to host flat parties and such, this may be the perfect new home for you! But definitely, prepare to be called a Mason W--ker or Chamberlain Bell--d - you'll start to wear the label with pride.
OH, and be careful with the smoke detectors in Mason - the number of drills that were triggered by hair straighteners got a bit ridiculous last year, and you do not want to be that person who sets them off. My flatmate did this in the first week, and it raised our flat's profile when everyone else was evacuated - and not in a good way.
Maple Bank and Shackleton
Maple Bank and Shackleton are the older siblings to Mason and Chamberlain. Compared to Mason and Chamberlain, they seem a bit old, but never fear - these halls are buzzing! Being super close to the Hub means easy access to The Duck and Scholar and a ton of Freshers fun.
Aitken and Elgar Court
Aitken and Elgar Court - who? These guys are an enigma to me. Everyone I've met who's lived there seemed to enjoy their time, but because they were so much smaller than the other halls, they're often overlooked and get lost in the crowd - still, you get all the great Vale benefits, and that's what matters.
Tennis Court - ah, my ol' arch rival. I don't know what it is exactly, but if you live in Mason or Tennis Court, you will be enemies. There were eggs thrown at windows back in my day, but things may have changed now that Chamberlain has established itself as the Most Snobby One. Either way, Tennis Court has a great energy to it and is still very much alive, like the rest of the Vale.
Prichatts Park Village
The Vale's cousin - it still has a social feeling and is close to uni, but is tamer, smaller and cheaper. Similarly, Prichatts has a social area with a pub that hosts quizzes, which seems a bit homier than the Vale (where you literally can't keep track of everyone). There's also a dedicated Study Zone to get some work done outside the confines of your room. Plus, there's a bit more parking here than on the Vale.
Ashcroft is your pretty standard six-bedroom flat dynamic, but then there's Oakley Court where flats range from five to thirteen bedrooms all sharing kitchens and bathrooms. This seems insane to me, personally, and every story I've heard from these flats is mad... it sounds like there's a higher frequency of flatmates getting with each other and regretting it, from my friends' experiences.
Selly Oak Village
Selly Oak Village is the closest accommodation to campus by far, but because it's on the opposite side of campus to the others, it's definitely not the epicentre of Freshers life. This means it's a bit quieter, which is definitely a huge bonus when you're studying or need an earlier night.
The other bonus here is that you're in Selly, which means you are about 10 million times closer to Aldi (read: cheap food) and all the other Bristol Rd classics. These are a treasured part of most UoB students in the second and third year, but if you're there in your first year you'll be ahead of the curve, and probably feel just that little bit more independent.
I do, however, remember a friend of mine posting on Snapchat about having fire alarms in Jarratt Hall all the time during the middle of the night, so that's something to keep in mind...
Oh, and the newest Bournebrook facilities have their own Starbucks, which is right on your way to campus (perfect, right?). Also, great access to sports facilities and other such goodies.
Those three villages are the main players, but there are a couple of other partnered accommodations with the uni to consider: Host - The Metalworks, Liberty Court, Liberty Gardens, and Liberty Park. These don't have as much of a rep among Freshers in the same way, so it's hard to know how they feel, but they seem to fulfil all other niches. They seem much calmer (and cheaper) though, so I recommend looking into any of these if you know that you need your space from Freshers insanity.
I do warn you, though: Liberty Court is faaar (but there's an Aldi, so, that's nice).
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