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Please help- bristol accommodation options!

(103 Posts)
questioner123 Thu 02-May-19 15:29:28

Hi everyone,

Me again, I'm after some advice regarding Bristol accommodation choices.

DD finally decide after my last post to go with self-catered accommodation. She is both an introvert and extrovert- likes to be social, spend time with friends but isn't massively outgoing, loud, confident etc., doesn't do drugs and isn't a massive drinker, so she is a bit worried about choosing a hall say Hiatt Baker in Stoke Bishop which has a reputation for being druggy and full of people who want to party and get drunk.

Having said this, she does like to make friends, go out maybe once or twice a week, and do nice things- she prefers company rather than being on her own! This is all coming from her by the way, she wanted to see whether any of you have any experience with Bristol.

En-suite has always been a top priority, but she really likes the look of Goldney Hall, but has very few en-suites... so not sure what to do.

Can any of you help with some advice regarding city centre halls/Goldney hall/Stoke bishop halls please??

Many thanks smile

OP’s posts: |
Needmoresleep Fri 03-May-19 17:21:10

adults you can turn to

Dusters, you may be more up to date than me, but I thought that Bristol did away with wardens and centralised accommodations services last year as part of their welfare reforms. Senior residents were only kept on following student protests. They also seem to handle security differently, at least to the University my friend works at. Her University has regular security patrols, so catch people who are breaching noise protocols. They may, though I am not sure, also pick up funny smells. In Bristol, security need to receive a complaint from a student resident. Something many students find hard to do.

Bristol has grown a lot in the past few years. Entry requirements on some courses have fallen. The approach to managing accommodation has changed as people increasing consider 18 years to be young adults capable of managing their own lives without supervision. It has also gained a reputation as a party University, which as discussed above in relation to halls, may have some students self-selecting.

There are lots of lovely students there, and DD is now enjoying both her course and her social life. But says that that first year in Stoke Bishop was the hardest of her life.

questioner123 Fri 03-May-19 18:42:24

Needmoresleep, would you mind if I asked why she found it so difficult? Does your DD sound a similar one to mine, and why would she choose Clifton halls instead? What about city halls ? Glad she is enjoying herself now smile

OP’s posts: |
Xenia Fri 03-May-19 19:28:18

My twins would say they last year in Stoke Bishop was the best year of their life though so do realise some people have a good year there. My sons made lots of friends and had a good year both academically and in Wills and Churchill Halls.

MariaNovella Fri 03-May-19 19:34:03

One of our DCs was at Goldney and loved it. He doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs and he worked very hard at Bristol. He had lots of friends/fun at Goldney and beyond.

Needmoresleep Fri 03-May-19 20:10:23

I am not saying that plenty of people did not have a good time. Bubbles dd also seemed to be having a fabulous time with the general MN view being (though you were less blunt) that the outliers were people who would have struggled anywhere.

My theory is that because Stokes B is quite isolated and the flats quite large, so residents tend to, or expect to, socialise internally. A lot then depends on how the individual student fits in with the group, and who the dominant characters are. Most students are 18 and away from home for the first time so are keen to fit, regardless of whether the dominant characters are party types or people who quickly establish a cooking and cleaning rota. DD had taken a gap year, was involved in sport and whilst reasonably sociable, was not interested in going out night after night so was dubbed ‘boring’. It became like a rerun on Yr 7, where an unwillingness to submit to the will of the alpha girls could make life difficult.

I think she feels that the Clifton halls allow more opportunity to take or leave hall social life. Great if you get on with your flatmates, but it is less important as you are better able to access the students union and societies.

Also the complete absence of a local supermarket bugged her. She chose self catering because she likes to cook. However, perhaps because it was so hard to stock up, food stealing was rife. The packed breakfast/lunch she prepared for placement day was inevitably eaten by people returning after a night clubbing, and milk/cereal had no shelf life whatsoever. (One actually rather sweet flatmate went as far as complaining about her Bran Flakes which he did not like...but ate anyway.) It became a case of keeping muesli bars in your bedroom.

I also suspect from reading Bubbles post that there is a real advantage in having been to boarding school and being used to communal living. Plus DD had less money than some, whose parents seemed not to question why they needed continual top ups.

CatChant Fri 03-May-19 20:24:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BubblesBuddy Sat 04-May-19 00:51:44

Yes I think boarding at school did help DDs transition to university but she is, and was, hugely resilient and a real self starter and very good at making friends. She was allocated Wills but it suited her. There were no issues around cleaning, shopping for food, others stealing food, excessive noise, loud parties and other annoyances because there just isn’t space and it’s catered! No cleaning, buying food or finding your food has gone! Just a few stray noodles in the sink! Catered at SB appears to save a lot of angst. We gave her a generous allowance but we didn’t top it up. Each to their own on that but it’s no use students being jealous of others because parental circumstances are hugely variable. DD didn’t know a single student with a p/t job in term time for example.

Many students at Bristol don’t do much at the Union. DD hardly went there. She thought it was useless. In y2 she Chaired and ran a society for her subject, was Chair of the Faculty Ball Committee plus was in a choir so very busy! In y1 she mostly got on with her work and did a bit of clubbing. She tells me most get this out of their systems by y2 and no one in her flat went clubbing in y2. Clubs are not as popular as they were anyway.

It is highly unusual to live in university accommodation in y2 at Bristol and there is pressure to find accommodation early in y2. I am not sure that a second year has the same views as a fresher. Many students change and mature. However the dedicated clubbers stick together as far as I can see. If they go into the city from SB in Y1, they share a taxi back but this was from DDs catered hall. It may be those who are self catering don’t go out for meals or cocktails but party in the flats and spend their money on drugs.

It almost certainly isn’t true that it’s all quiet in Clifton! Not for first years anyway. They are handy for the bars and the club on The Triangle (think England cricketers) and it’s not so far into the city and the harbour bars! Honestly, if students want this life, they will have it!!

I meant, needmore, that many self catered halls in many universities have larger communal spaces that are good for parties. Big kitchens in flats where parties are held for example. Bristol self catered flats are no different to others I’ve visited or my DDs have visited to see friends. Most self catered flats have a big kitchen! It’s inevitable. Remember the song: “You’ll
Always Find Me In the Kitchen at Parties”. I doubt your friend knows the layout of the Bristol halls in detail.

OP: if your DD is already stressed out by choosing accommodation, can you go and have a look before she decides? It really would not be sensible to finally choose based on experiences here. None of our DC will be there in her year group and many students would say SB is quieter than Clifton due to the fact it’s 2 miles away from anything! A lot will depend on flat mates and you she won’t be choosing them. She will undoubtedly have to be both flexible and resilient though! But it can be fun.

bevelino Sat 04-May-19 07:55:54

OP, your dd can get up to date information about Bristol halls from the student room website. Also your dds school may be able to connect her with students who are currently in halls there.

Please don’t take seriously all the comments you read on mumsnet, which represent a limited view as they are mostly from parents who have not lived in Bristol University accommodation and whose knowledge has been gained from their own dc, sometimes from many years ago.

Xenia Sat 04-May-19 08:57:08

....although some of us on this thread had children in Bristol halls last year so pretty up to date.....

MariaNovella Sat 04-May-19 09:04:51

I was at Bristol myself, though many years ago. I was at Manor. Goldney and Manor have always been hugely popular halls, in part because of their fantastically convenient geographical location. Manor has some quite challenging bathroom issues and the kitchens are shared between a large number of students.

Needmoresleep Sat 04-May-19 09:06:26

And from memory student room threads mainly focus on how lively a hall is.

I would also argue that when a first year student is unhappy, parents tend to know. DD is very good at keeping her cool, but downloads with me. I got a lot of detail about vomit covered staircases, quite often at 4.00am.

Op was asking parents. She has got some varied but honest responses. It is for her and her DD to unpick, along with whatever research her DD does.

DaphneBucket Sat 04-May-19 09:13:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bevelino Sat 04-May-19 09:16:18

Xenia I know that your boys were in halls last year and my daughters are there now. However the idea that new students would choose their Hall based on the second hand views of parents is laughable.

NoYo Sat 04-May-19 09:18:13

Goldney was where I stayed whilst at Bristol many moons ago. Fab place, very social, but may have changed a bit since the early 90s. Nearly everyone was privately educated from what I can remember.
Clifton is lovely.

(Off to check it out now!)

Xenia Sat 04-May-19 09:45:27

My 3 who are or who went to Bristol all chose their halls themselves. Most teenagers do, I agree.

Needmoresleep Sat 04-May-19 09:50:58

DD made her own decision. However she advised a friends daughter, in the light of her own experience, to opt for one of the Clifton halls. Friends daughter loves it, has made some great friends, likes the way the intensity of the student experience is diluted, and is relieved not to have to trek back to Stoke Bishop. But each to their own.

Muchtootall Sat 04-May-19 12:08:50

I just asked my DD and she suggested either Wills or Churchill. I know these are both catered so may not be suitable for your DC. She said on a busy day, it is nice to have a meal cooked and because you sit together you get to meet a wider range of people than in a catered hall. For self self catered, she said the section in Hiatt Baker has been refurbished and seemed good. Goldney is lovely but wildly oversubscribed. She also said don’t worry about en-suite. She has a and a shared bathroom and everyone gets used to it. I am not sure if there are any rooms without sinks but she thinks it useful to have one in your room.

I hope your DD enjoys Bristol and finds the right hall for her. I know others have negative feedback but my DD is doing really well there both academically and socially.

questioner123 Sat 04-May-19 16:03:30

Thank you all for your replies. They are very insightful and it is useful to hear all your advice for my DD, although of course each persons experience is gonna be different! DD is doing a lot of her own research too!

OP’s posts: |
questioner123 Sat 04-May-19 16:05:27

Having spoken to DD I feel we are a lot further along actually with choosing accommodation.

OP’s posts: |
UCOinanOCG Sat 04-May-19 19:00:25

It seems so strange that you are organising your DDs accommodation in Bristol. It feel like we did this not long ago and now we are making arrangements to collect all her stuff from her flat as she is now finished there. The time has flown. If she is anything like my DD she will have a blast at uni in Bristol.

BubblesBuddy Sat 04-May-19 21:19:01

I think school contacts is a good idea. DD has several from her old school speak to her over the years. The student room attracts the sociable types. It’s also a shame 18 year olds are seeking out where they will associate with drug takers. That is a pretty grim situation. I doubt if it’s just Bristol though. I guess they would have done that research anywhere.

I don’t think it’s unusual for students to drink too much and be sick. It’s what happens. It’s not pleasant but most students will tell you that it does! It does seem odd a student medic was so upset by that. I would have thought a medic would have wanted to ensure the vomiting student was safe.

catndogslife Mon 06-May-19 10:37:42

Some posts here are rather out of date. There are now more food shops on Queens road in Clifton near the university so shopping for food shouldn't be a problem for self catering halls.
The bus service to Stoke Bishop halls runs very frequently in term time so it is much less isolated than implied on here. Students are also frequent users of the Uber taxi service.
This info is based on living locally rather than having a dc at the uni.

MariaNovella Mon 06-May-19 10:55:42

It’s a very long way from Queen’s Road to Stoke Bishop for food shopping!

Watchingblueplanet Mon 06-May-19 14:14:16

There may be some halls which are ok in Stoke Bishop but I advise caution. Whether other posters like it or not some Bristol halls now attract a particular type of student. My DD is very uncomfortable with this lifestyle. For a start drugs are still illegal in this country whether you like this or not. My DD does drink but is shocked at how much others consume. In our family, we don’t think it usual for people to drink too much and be sick. Yes the odd mistake but not on a regular basis. Friends who are similar to her at other unis are thriving and have not experienced the extremes that she has seen at Bristol. The removal of any proper security and adult supervision In halls also exacerbates this issue. My DS at another university, had full time security in his hall in case of any problems. Anyone could get into my DD’s hall and no one would know or be around to help. I also warn that you don’t always get your choice. My DD applied for Clifton but was allocated a hall in SB.

Posters seem to suggest that DCs who struggle would have struggled anywhere. I strongly disagree. My DD is a lovely, sociable young woman who has plenty of experience living away from home having spent extended summers abroad on summer camps etc. She went out clubbing and to parties with her large and varied group of friends. She was definitely not the sort to have looked like she would struggle at uni. But the Bristol Stoke Bishop experience has not been good for her. She loves her course and has managed to find a few nice friends who have been her saviour but they are definitely the “outliers”. In some halls there does seem to be a disproportionate number of hard core party people often from public schools with plenty of money for Ubers and their other recreational habits. It sounds to me like some posters on here have DC who fit this description and that’s why they have loved Bristol. This is not my DD and it very uncomfortable to be a minority where others don’t share your values. Thankfully she is moving out soon and will have a house with like- minded friends next year.

questioner123 Mon 06-May-19 18:39:30

Thank you all for your responses. Applications open tomorrow for accommodations and DD still seems to be changing her mind. Watchingblueplanet your DD sounds VERY similar to mine.

We have narrowed it down to a few options: Goldney, Orchard Heights or the Hawthorns for first choice, then Winkworth house/Wills/Woodland Court for second choice.

Does anyone know much about these please?

DD does have medical reasons for an en-suite, so if she applied for Goldney she might be able to get one of these.

OP’s posts: |

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