Find out what life is really like at Durham University

CollegesDurham CityStudent experienceUndergraduate

Where to live in Durham?

Leaving your family and moving to a different city or even country could be really exciting, but also intimidating. Where you live is a huge part of the experience.

Types of accommodation

In general, there’re three types of accommodation in Durham.

  • University college accommodation
  • Privately rented purpose-built student apartments
  • Privately rented houses/apartments.

Living in College

Most Durham students live in college accommodation in their first year as it’s a massive part of the collegiate experience. Living in college accommodation means that you’ll be able to interact with a lot of people on a smaller scale, making it easier to make friends and get involved in college life. College facilities, events and the abundance of societies will be closer to you read Ruby’s blog about college life). There are generally three types of college rooms – standard rooms, shared rooms, and en-suite rooms.

For students who live in a standard room, you’ll get your own room and share a toilet and a shower with other students.

If you live in a shared room, you’ll share your room with another student. This idea of sharing a room can be a bit scary, however, it’s actually quite interesting. Most colleges with shared rooms will send an email with a questionnaire to students around summer. They’ll get to know about your routine, your music taste, and a lot of stuff to pair you up with someone that could be a perfect match! A lot of my friends who shared a room in their first year ended up being best friends throughout uni! Check out this blog about sharing a room

Last but not least, a single en-suite room means that you’ll get a room with your own shower and toilet! Most colleges with single en-suite rooms are non-catered colleges, students who live in a single en-suite room normally share a kitchen with around 6-7 students.

Student apartments

There are around 6/7 purpose-built student apartments in Durham, located in different areas of the city. Depending on the type of accommodation and the location, the rent may vary quite a bit. Compared to college accommodation, student apartments are more like modern apartments, they may have a little cinema room, study spaces and a gym. They’ve got reception areas and in general, facilities are quite new. They normally have en-suite rooms, a studio (you’ve got your own kitchen as well), and sometimes a twin room (you share with a friend). The most popular one is the en-suite room. The most affordable one is a twin room, while the most expensive one is the studio.

Private housing

Last, we’ve got houses. Most students move into privately rented houses in their second year with their friends. You can rent houses either through letting agencies or private landlords. House hunting in Durham starts around November, I still remember when I first went to a house, checking water pressures and feeling like such an adult! There’re four main areas where students tend to live, they’re close to different parts of the uni and the price range can be quite different. Depending on your budget, you can always find a house that fulfills your needs. A tip about house hunting is that you can always reach out to our Student Union to check your contract! Most colleges also hold housing talks and it’s always good to hear from people who are currently renting houses and their opinions on different areas and agencies!

You’re always a member of your college

Most importantly, no matter where you are living, in college accommodation or private accommodation, you’re always a part of your college, even after graduation!

Discover more

If you have any questions for our students, you can contact them on our Unibuddy chat platform. You can also reach out to our students on The Student Room

Learn more about the collegiate system at Durham in Mia’s video here

Download our latest prospectus and college guide here.

Follow our students on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Jennifer Chang


Hi, I’m Jennifer Chang. I’m from a mixed Asian background and a recent graduate who studied BSc Psychology. I’m the No.1 fan of my college, Trevelyan and I love formals because they give me that reason to dress up! 


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