Hunting for the best student accommodation in Lancaster? Thinking about your rent costs? Planning your student budget for the year? Wondering what to do when you arrive? Planning how to get around? The answers to all these mysteries and more are right here in this guide to being a student in Lancaster.
Lancaster, the county town of Lancashire, only houses around 50,000 residents. But 15,665 of those residents are students enrolled at Lancaster University (and the less populated University of Cumbira’s Lancaster campus), making it quite a lively, student-orientated town.
The term-time carnage caused by the students is a continuation of the city’s anarchic history which begins 2000 years with the Romans. Visiting the ruins of the forts remains a popular attraction for students and visitors alike. In the medieval period, it was famous for the Pendle witch trials – a witch hunt which is now (somewhat questionably) the namesake of the Uni’s Pendle College. In the 15th century,
Lancaster fought a bloody war with York in the War of the Roses, the name of which is now used for the ongoing equally fierce sports rivalry between the two cities’ Universities. So whilst the beautiful, old architecture and pretty, little paths through the city may seem at stark contrast with the hordes of drunk students, think again.
Some say there are more pubs per square mile than anywhere else – but this claim remains untested. Certainly, though, pubs, bars and restaurants are plentiful.
The ‘Coffee Quarter’ has some of the best coffee shops the UK has to offer – ‘The Hall Cafe’ was recently awarded the country’s best flat white. There’s high-street shopping on Penny Street, St. Nic’s Arcade, museums, theatre, art galleries, and Lancaster Castle towering above it all against a backdrop of the Conniston Peaks in the Lake District.
What Different Types Of Student Accommodation in Lancaster Are There?
There are a few different types of accommodation, and, naturally, what you need will depend on your social and financial requirements. These are the types typically listed when people are advertising student accommodation in Lancaster:
Standard issue for first years, especially in Lancaster. These are owned by the university colleges, and so applying and paying is all done via the university services. There are also private students halls in Lancaster, mostly aimed at Cumbria students.
There is a range of options, encompassing bathroom set-up and catering services. Private halls often also include extra amenities like a gym and cinema lounge. Sometimes student halls are just rows of rooms with a common area, or clusters of flats with a shared kitchen.
This will include one bedroom, one kitchen, and one private bathroom – including a toilet and shower. It’s likely there will also be a living space, but this may be part of your kitchen/bedroom. You could have this all to yourself, or share with a partner or friend. It’s all entirely self-contained and private.
Many students choose this option after first year, with a shared tenancy agreement in a house with multiple bedrooms. You may have one or more shared bathrooms, or ensuite bedrooms.
This term simply refers to a bedroom joined to a private bathroom.
University-Owned Student Halls
Lancaster is a campus-based university, and as such most of its first year undergrad students live on campus. So, if you’re a first year – unless you really want to live in the city, or with particular people in shared accommodation, you’re going to be living on campus in one of the university owned halls.
Luckily for you, Lancaster’s accommodation has been awarded ‘Best University Halls’ eight times since 2010 by the UK’s National Student Housing Awards.
Everything you need to know about your university-owned halls is here. The accommodation you get will depend on which of the nine colleges you end up in, which divide the university into smaller communities. In order of the weirdness of their logo, these are: Pendle, Furness, Graduate, Grizedale, Bowland, Cartmel, Lonsdale, Flyde, County.
All accommodation is located within them. Most of the rooms are ensuite but there are also cheaper, shared bathroom options. There’s also on-campus townhouses and self-contained studios. All in-bound first years are guaranteed a room on campus.
What Are The Best Private Student Halls In Lancaster?
If you’re a student at the University of Cumbria studying in the Lancaster campus, though there are some halls owned by your university, you may well end up requiring private halls. Second and third year undergrads as well as postgrads are also likely candidates for private halls.
There are quite a few providers of private halls in Lancaster. CityBlock owns Gillows, Penny Street and Marton Street, all three of which seem to have premium, modern furnishing and are within a few minutes walk from the city centre. Hello Student have three premium properties on Penny Street, around a mile from UoC. CRM Students own city-centre properties, Luneside and Damside.
Based on our own research, Leonard’s House and Caton Court seem like two of the best Student Halls in
St Leonard’s House
Based in the centre of town, right by the St. Nicholas Arcade Shopping Centre, and of course, with all of central Lancaster’s pubs and restaurants at your fingertips, St. Leonard’s is in a great location. It’s a 20 minute bus to Lancaster Uni campus and a 20 minute walk to the Uni of Cumbria.
There’s a choice of either ensuite rooms in cluster flats or studio flats to choose from. The former is better for a more social experience – each flat has a shared kitchen and living space. The latter is better suited to more independent living – the premium studio flats are perfectly self-contained with an ensuite bathroom and a small kitchen. All rooms are furnished with high standard stuff and include a bed, plenty of storage space and a study area with a desk and chair.
There’s quick, 125Mbps WiFi, a resident-only gym, a common room, a games room, a shared dining room and laundry services. And it’s approved by Lancaster University.
Only a tad more North East of the centre than St Leonard’s House, Caton Court is similarly distanced to the two Unis and central amenities. There’s a Sainsbury’s nearby and the (in)famous Sugarhouse nightclub is just down the road.
Opened by Aparto just a few years ago, this brand-new, stylish place has been designed for a social experience. There’s a games room, a lounge, a study area, a gym, a courtyard and even a Sky Lounge on the 11th floor, offering panoramic views of Lancaster. Free wifi and laundry services are also thrown in.
How Much Will Student Accommodation in Lancaster Cost?
The weekly rent for a room in Lancaster with a private shower and toilet ranges from £129-152, whilst those with shared shower and toilet range from £93-123.
The university-owned collegiate halls will cost around £147- £198 per week if you choose catered, depending on what kind of room and bathroom facilities you have. For self-catered, you’re looking at £95- £155 per week. All university halls come with bills included, and free contents insurance. You can find out everything you need to know about costs from the official Lancaster Uni site.
According to the Lancaster Student Union, average rent for a house in Lancaster in 2019/20 was £95 per
tenant per week, including bills.
What Are The Best Areas For Renting A Student House in Lancaster?
A popular student area just South East of the centre, Bowerham is choice for those who don’t want the busyness of town on their doorstep. You’re just a short walk down Bowerham Road away from town, and yet it’s quiet and spacious. You’re also conveniently close to Williamson Park for a nice jog to burn off all those cheap, local takeaways which are in abundance in the area. Being further South than the city, you’re also closer to the Lancaster University buildings.
As you’d expect, living within the centre of the city provides a student with anything they might need within a few minutes walk. There’s the full smorgasbord of supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl or and M&S for the posher students. There’s a bus stop on almost every street, and it’s simple enough to get to Lancaster University (see the next section).
All of Lancaster’s nightlife is located all within a less-than-two-mile radius, so you could literally crawl from pub to pub if you so wish. When it’s time to go home, there’s no need for a bus or a taxi, just stagger down the road and you’re in your bed.
Some students also live on the outskirts of Town, and especially in between Bowerham and Town. Here you’ll find similar benefits for less of the cost.
What’s The Best Way to Get Around in Lancaster?
Pedalling for 20 minutes will take you from the city centre to campus if you stick to the signposted University cycle route, which is traffic-free from Hala to Bailrigg Lane. At Bailrigg Lane, alternative paths lead to North Campus. Alternatively, you can take the traffic-free route along the Canal from the city centre. Most colleges have secure bike storage and sheltered cycle stands are available across campus.
The number 1 and 2 double-decker buses run to Lancaster University (in Bailrigg) every 10 and 15 minutes respectively. The 4, 41 and 42 and 100 also take you there at less frequent intervals, and these run through Bowerham too. Going to Fairfield and further south, you’ll require the 147. It generally takes about 25 minutes from town, and 20 from Bowerham to get to Campus by bus. A single ticket will cost you about £1.65 to campus.
How Much Does Student Life in Lancaster Cost?
All-in for a year as an undergrad, the university estimates you will need about £9,400 which includes a modest budget for entertainment, and all your necessities from rent and food to clothes and a TV License. Given the extra weeks of study, this figure rises to £12,300 for postgrads. Don’t let student bills in Lancaster get you down, though. Check out our guide to reducing costs here.
Nightlife & Culture
Lancaster’s densely-packed nightlife is usually all-guns-blazing with regular live music and themed events amongst the many pubs, bars and clubs all through the Georgian streets. The Sugar House, the Student Union owned club, is the quintessential night out for Lancs students where memories are made and lost in rapid succession. The SU plans to rename the club (due to it’s colonial connotations) so look out for that. Besides that, there’s Revolution Lancaster, Elements, Hustle, The Friary, Lounge & The Dalton Rooms, which are all fan favourites.
If you’d rather sip a Cortado than neck a VK, the city’s coffee quarter has some of the best coffee in the country. You can smell the aroma drifting down China Street on a walk through town.
There’s theatre – The Dukes and The Grand, and a cinema on campus.
As a student there you’ll be surrounded by nature – walk up to Lancaster Castle or catch a train to Morecambe Bay to relax by the beach.
Find & Advertise Student Accommodation
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