How to survive living in Kingswood

Is it really ‘Holloway Prison’?

Congratulations on passing those dreaded A-Levels and making it to what is commonly referred to as “the best three years of your life”. If you’re (un)fortunate enough to be living in Kingswood this year, you might come to doubt uni’s all it’s cracked up to be as it really is the Marmite of halls at RHUL.

By the end of the year you’ll either love it or hate it, but hopefully these insider tips will help make sure this year is one you’ll remember for all the right reasons. As for those of you who aren’t living in Kingswood? Well, you’ve got no right to pass judgment.

Why does Kingswood have a terrible reputation?

B Block

Doesn’t look that bad, does it?

It’s a 20-minute walk from campus, so waking up late isn’t an option. There are buses, but these are very regularly overflowing with zombie- like students.

The rooms are small with no en-suite and the experience of sharing a bathroom with nine others really does depend on who is in your hall.

There are no locks on the hall doors in Kingswood 1 ,so you could be visited by any neighbour. This is simply resolved by locking your door and fridge.

You’re not as close to the shops so you have to be a bit more organised.

Lastly, the heat is on full blast 24/7, so be prepared to pre-drink in a sauna.

How to survive moving in


Not too shabby, right?

Your initial thoughts of Kingswood upon arrival will probably be something along the lines of  “Get me out of here” or “Take me home”. There’s no sugar coating for the sinking feeling you’ll experience when you step through the threshold of what will be your bedroom for the next year.

I promise you’ll get used to the stain on the wall and the awful curtain design which doesn’t match a single colour scheme in the history of Holloway.

Charlotte Rudd (Psychology) told us her thoughts on moving in: “I will be the first to admit I nearly cried when my mum dropped me off, I wanted her to take me home. But I spent a little time and effort on my room and even gave it a theme and my cell was reformed.

“Don’t listen to the slurs of Kingswood. It was a great year and given the right people I would honestly live in my cell again (honestly).”

How to survive your hallmates

You may be missing out on the hustle and the bustle of the main campus by living here but Kingswood creates its own. Elle Henley (English) said the most important thing you can do to enjoy living in Kingswood is make an effort to get to know other people: “I think being social is the key, as even though isn’t the best looking place or doesn’t have the best facilities, your friends will help get you through.

“You’re all in the same boat and as a result the community feel is stronger in Kingswood than any other halls – you never feel lonely, as you aren’t in separate blocks or a flat which is separated from the others (like in Butler and Tuke). Most people leave their doors open too, which is automatically friendlier.”

No other hall can offer something on the same level as Kingswood’s infamous common room, home to many a pre-drink session every year.



How to survive the food

There is a skill you’ll learn at Kingswood which you’d never refine if you lived in any other halls: how to cook in a microwave. Although you’re in a catered hall, the rota of “Monday: Build a Burger” to “Sunday: Roast” can become a little repetitive.

In first term you’ll see everything from microwave meals to creative five star carbonaras but the novelty soon wears off. By the end of the year you’ll appreciate how good it is to have a canteen which cooks you three meals a day, week in and week out. One top tip though: don’t eat the paella.

Microwave food has its limits

Microwave food has its limits

So, when someone asks you if Kingswood is really as shit as it sounds – which will happen a lot this year – remember the answer is absolutely not. Despite all the “flaws”, this might just be the best hall at Royal Holloway. Kingswood represent!