What to bring to university

Katy McRae

For many, this is the first time you’re living away from home. Therefore, one of the biggest jobs is deciding what to bring with you. It is worth mentioning that in order to determine how much or what items to take, consider first not only the mode of transport you are using to arrive at university but also what your accommodation already offers. This will be different not only between colleges but also within the college’s different types of accommodation. Therefore, it is worth checking what’s already there to save money and space. But here are some useful things to consider bringing with you to University.

Bright pillows and plaids, isolated on white


At least two sets, so that you can rotate them and allow them to dry between washes.


Similar to bedding, bring enough towels so that you are able to wash and dry them and have spares.


Now the amount of clothing you bring with you to University is going to be different for everybody, but here are some areas you may not have considered.

All weathers – Durham is notorious for erratic weather, so it’s definitely worth packing that extra fluffy jumper or that big waterproof, especially for winter! Don’t forget a brolly!

Fancy dress – Although Durham has a collection of charity shops and fancy dress shops, if you already have a fancy dress outfit, bring it along! You never know when it might come in handy, especially in freshers’ week.

Formal – With the number of events available to attend in Durham, as well as college formals, college events, club/society events it is definitely worth having some formal outfits for these occasions.

Sport – Although the quantity of sportswear you bring will depend on how involved you wish to be in Durham sport, it’s worth bringing some casual sportswear with you, there are so many things to get involved with especially at college and there are so many lovely routes for a brisk walk or run.

Cups, Crockery and Cutlery

Even if you are in a catered college, crockery and cutlery are always good for snacks between meals. Cups/mugs/glasses are definitely a must! If you’re living with a lot of people, marking these with nail polish might come in useful when you’re trying to decide which IKEA bowl belongs to who!

dishes, fork, knife and cup for dinner

Drying rack

If you want to save some money and the environment by not using a tumble dryer, bring along a drying rack. Easy to store as they fit right under your bed, and an easy way to dry off washing.

A good bag and a suitcase

You’re inevitably going to be carrying stuff around Durham, to lectures, to the library, to and from people’s accommodation – so you need a nice, comfortable, good-sized bag that will fit your laptop, books, etc. A suitcase not only comes in useful for extra storage under your bed but is handy for weekends away visiting friends or family.

A bedside lamp

Some colleges may provide one but it’s really useful so you don’t have to get out of bed once you’ve finished your late-night reading!

An extension cable

Really useful to avoid complications from weirdly placed plug sockets.

Home comforts

Pictures are perfect for jazzing up a dull room, they are a great conversation starter and nice reminders of home.

College room workspace
Pictures and things from home can help you settle in

Don’t worry if you forget something

If you are unable to bring all of that with you, there are many shops you can purchase items you need or have forgotten. Your college may arrange a trip to larger shopping outlets like IKEA, Wilko’s or Tesco, but don’t forget you can also shop locally in Durham. Read Emily’s blog where she gives you the lowdown on the indoor market.

Discover more

Check out the Welcome and Orientation Week web pages for lots of advice on starting at Durham!

Follow my fellow students on Instagram and YouTube.

Katy McRae

Hi I'm Katy and I've recently graduated from Durham now working in the charity sector in London

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