Castle Leazes and Richardson Road are the two most famous (perhaps infamous) halls for Newcastle University. Both are now undergoing renovation and modernisation, bringing them kicking and screaming into 2016.
My experience of Leazes will be markedly different from any of yours, which will be less 1970s decor and more stylish modern flats reminiscent of the photos. Yet the core elements of Leazes will still remain.
It is, along with Richardson Road, the most sociable halls Newcastle has to offer. Even better, they are right next to each other! Leazes offers a wonderful mix of uninhibited freedom and a safe, friendly environment.
In many ways Leazes feels, unlike other halls, like a half-way house. It offers you the brilliance of the liberty and freedom you experience as a fresher but also without being thrown in at the deep-end with no external support.
It is a joy to walk back into the furnace of Leazes after a cold and wet trudge across the famous cow field. Not that you would be walking for long, Leazes is a wonderfully easy 10-15 minute walk from town and uni, which makes the thought of those lovely 9am seminars a little more palatable.
You will still have to dodge the cows, but that just makes for a more interesting walk whether it to a 9am or on a night out.
Many people feel apprehensive about being able to meet people in halls (and rightly so), and indeed having a social life is very important, especially in first year. The size of Leazes (1,100 students) and its structure of rooms off hallways with a kitchen/living space means that people are always about.
And in that first week of chaos and confusion that is fresher’s, the hallways of Leazes are a thoroughfare of students – any of whom could be a potential best mate, girlfriend or boyfriend.
I am not the most extroverted person and certainly not one to go off and socialise with people I have never met. But in Leazes this was easy! I met one of my best friends by first talking to him out in the corridor and my girlfriend through a multi-flat night out.
Leazes becomes its very own social network where everyone knows everyone. You will never be short of company if you want it.
If you are willing to immerse yourself fully in the madness, chaos and brilliance that is first year in Newcastle, Castle Leazes is the place you need to be. It provides a brilliant social side, an excellent location, and – best of all – even its own laundry facilities. (Although try and remain calm when some lad in flip flops dumps all your drying on the floor.)
Leazes has vastly improved since I passed through its doors and it has changed for the better. September’s intake will have all the benefits and none of grimness. Leazes is now the perfect place to be a fresher.