Choosing a House: What your area says about you

Moving out of Elms? Become too much of a stereotypical grumpy 3rd year for the Holylands? Here’s The Tab’s guide to Belfast student housing


1. Malone/Eglantine

Price –  £££

Atmosphere – Shh!

Likelihood of being woken up at 3am by students – *tumbleweed* (Likelihood of being stabbed on the other hand…  )

The dreaded walk from Elms Village…

If you ever had to do the painful walk to/from Elms (basically anywhere further than the Spar) in the rain, with a hangover, or after turning your legs to jelly in the gym, halving that journey and turning onto Malone or Eglantine will feel like absolute bliss and more than enough reason to say “Yes! We’ll take it!”

However, Malone and Eglantine have a lot more to offer. It’s just about close enough to the route you’d take back in first year at Elms that you’ll still be in that ‘comfort zone’ you’ve grown to love so much as a lazy student.

It’s also just around the corner from The Eg and The Bot, the obvious choice to start any pub golf/bar crawl and write off any plans you had to go spend the day in the McClay like a good student.

Centra, Dr:nk and Gilgamesh supply everything a student needs: the weekly low budget food shop, the last minute carry out before a night out and the greasy end to a good night.

This place needs no caption

Proximity wise Malone and Eglantine is great: right next to the David Kerr building, two minutes from Cuckoo and Stranmillis, and close enough to the Lisburn road for deep-pocketed students.

Whilst Malone and Eglantine may have many more noise-complaining residents, and has the reputation of being one of Belfast’s quieter reas (and therefore popular with 3rd years), it’s what you make it, who you live with, (above, next to and below) and how many times you want to invite them on a night out to keep them sweet.

2. Lisburn Road

Price – ££££

Atmosphere – Lively

Likelihood of being woken up at 3am by students – maybe…

Running almost parallel with Malone Road, Lisburn Road is just close enough and far away enough! For that reason, students don’t really venture that way except for popular bars, restaurants and a Tesco’s to fill your kitchen with everything you could need.

And honestly, except for Little Wing, the big Tesco and Cuckoo, Lisburn Road is pretty much like the Shadowlands in The Lion King for me, I don’t know anything about it, however it’s much more likely to be because of the distance x my laziness, than of elephant graveyards and creepy laughing hyenas.

It’s got jamjar cocktails, beer pong and ping pong tables you say?!

Despite that, the amount of shopping you could do on that one stretch of road is a scary scary thought for a girl with a student loan to waste! It also has enough takeaways to make a drunk guy with munchies start a fight with himself!

The City hospital and Health centre are extremely close (in case of any health disasters, drunken or otherwise), while the shiny Domino’s sign beams up the road. If you live on Lisburn road you’re spoilt for choice!

3. Stranmillis

Price – £££

Atmosphere – Lively

Likelihood of being woken up at 3am by students – likely

Stranmillis’ House Bar

Probably one of the most popular students areas in Belfast is Stranmillis. It’s close to the Botanical Gardens and the PEC, just up the round from Maggie May’s and has a list of takeaways longer than the complete history of time.

Stranmillis has everything you need, from grabbing a drink at Cinnamon or Got Milkshake before a lecture, to convenience stores, Winemark and it’s own taxi rank. Birdcage has got you covered for any date, meal with the family or any excuse to celebrate and cover your table in chicken goodness!

yummy yummy yummy

The atmosphere is probably the best too, apart from the nightlife in the Holylands. Dominated by students it’s basically Elms without the annoying security guards.

4. Holylands

Price – ££

Atmosphere – Crazy

Likelihood of being woken up at 3am by students – Almost certain.

It’s rumoured to be the busiest Spar in Europe!?

Try and walk past the Spar without realising you want/need something. I dare you.

Similarly to Botanic, the Holylands is 5 minutes away from the McClay library, Lanyon Building, Student’s Union and Botanical Gardens, and only 20 minutes away from the city centre, if you ever make it that far.

The Holylands is known for it’s residents liking a night out or two.. or five or six nights a week.

Hatfield House on the Ormeau Road

There’s a WineFlair and Winemark at either end for your carry outs as well as enough takeaways and convenience stores on Ormeau Road, while the Menagerie and Hatfield House are in walking distance! Try to avoid going to the Hatfield for an after hours carry out on a night out. It’s impossible.

Just a normal day in the Holylands…

It’s definitely not quiet on a night out, and amazing on St. Paddy’s (despite it being heavily policed by frazzled uni security nowadays, thanks to antics of national days past), but it’s definitely fun. It even had it’s own Harlem Shake video! And it was during the five minutes that Harlem Shake wasn’t annoying, so you know it was good.


You can’t get from your taxi to your front door without meeting someone, seeing a fire engine or police cars blocking your way up the almost one-way street.

5. Botanic

Price – £££

Atmosphere – Lively!

Likelihood of being woken up at 3am by students – maybe…

This place has so many plus points I’m just going to list them, Botanic doesn’t need no fancy rhetoric to woo you.

It’s a 15-minute walk to the city centre and takes barely 5 minutes to the McClay library, Lanyon Building, Student’s Union and the Botanical Gardens. It’s home to Build a Burger (site of our Build a Burger Tab challenge ), Boojum, Subway, Chip Company and Maggie May’s. The list seriously goes on and on.

My two favourites. Nom.

There’s charity shops, fancy dress shops, bookshops, barbers and hairdressers, beauticians and tattoo shops and two convenience stores.

And there’s The Empire

It’s got Madison’s, where it’s not even happy hour, but happy evening (5-9pm every single night) £3 cocktails! I said £3 cocktails! There’s the Empire’s famous Comedy night and The Fly waiting for you (more £3 cocktails) just down the next side road.

Madison’s Cocktail bar! Many a happy, blurry evening spent here

Villa Italia sits around the corner so you can casually swing past when your parents suggest taking you to eat somewhere proper. That’s hoping they don’t spot the ridiculously good value China China across the road.

Botanic is probably the best place to live as a lazy student. It has everything you need it a 5-minute proximity and the closeness to the city centre is amazing if you want to skip lectures now your loan is in and go shopping.

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