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Royal Holloway (University of London)

Postal addressMajor FunctionsParkingGreen Spaces
Date of foundationSocial EventsBankingLibraries
University Radio StationSocietiesDisabled facilitiesComputing facilities
Campus publicationsMajor awardsUniversity shopsStudent Welfare
Future PlansPercentage of first years in hallsBookshops
Famous AlumniGeneral accommodationSporting facilities

Postal address

Royal Holloway
University of London
TW20 0EX

Tel: +44 (0)1784 434 455

Date of foundation


University Radio Station

Insanity Radio

Founded in 1997, Insanity aims to provide music, news and an information service for the students of Royal Holloway and the local community. They have won so many Radio 1 awards that we cannot fit them all in here. Go to the RHULSU website and click the Insanity logo to find out more: RHULSU. Their website is excellent and you can even text message the studio!

So far the station has had four one-month FM broadcast licenses. They currently have a permanent AM license, broadcasting on 1287AM. It has over 350 members working in a range of fields including presenting, producing and web design. Through their contacts in the radio industry, they are a good source for work experience and are so adept at drawing in sponsorship that they no longer require funding from the students' union.

Campus publications

The Orbital

The Orbital is the Royal Holloway student magazine. There are seven FREE issues over the 30 weeks the academic year. The magazine was runner-up in the Guardian/NUS student media awards Best Magazine category and was considered 'too controversial to win,' something that pleased its writers greatly!

The paper relies on hundreds of writers, designers, and experts in a range of fields including art, books, film, games, theatre and fashion (the latter being very important at RHUL). The Orbital has had a preoccupation with gay issues but seem to be a bit more balanced lately.

Future Plans

The college is currently building a large sports complex in five stages. The complex will include an upgraded gym/fitness centre, squash courts, and badminton and basketball courts. Stages 1 and 2 are now complete.

There are plans to build a second Student Union building providing more entertainment and bar space.

Famous Alumni

David Bellamy - Botanist
Susan Bullock - Opera Singer
Richmal Crompton - Writer ('Just William')
George Eliot - Author
Janet Fookes - Member of Parliament
Emma Freud - Journalist
Felicity Lott - Opera Singer
Simon Nye - Writer of 'Men Behaving Badly'
Francis Wheen - Journalist

And perhaps not so famous:
Ryan Timoney - Unofficial-Guides Founder
James Werrey-Easterbrook - U-G Founder
Olly Iliffe - U-G Founder


The Stumble Inn - An S.U. run bar with a Scream pub atmosphere. Always very busy in the evenings and especially with first years. Sports teams hold weekly drinking nights here on Wednesdays - the Rugby club is the most vociferous.

Tommys - Tommys is one of the bars in the Students' Union building. The décor is quite relaxed, and caters well for its two customer groups - the daytime academic and the nocturnal beer drinker. It is open 7 days a week from 11:00am until late (1-2am etc.) During the day fresh coffee and hot chocolate are popular. In the evenings it's pretty popular with 2nd and 3rd year students and on function nights it is combined with the main union area after chucking out time to increase the overall venue capacity.

Crosslands - This bar is in the heart of the Founders building and is not run by the Students' Union. Usually people sit outside in the picturesque quads and study, converse intellectually in that classic prospectus style. Despite not being an SU bar it's still pretty cheap.

Medicine - Formerly called Holloways, this bar has been fully rennovated / redesigned. Located above the Stumble Inn this is now a cool bar, with long pale fabrics and stylish brown leather seating. There is a food bar serving a range of healthy snacks and people regularly eat here instead of in halls. There are also a number of pool tables.

Hall Bars - These are situated in Athlone and Kingswood Halls. They are usually very quiet but on rare occasions you might find more people there than yourself and the barman! Kingswood's Tapas Bar does have function nights that are quite good. Also, there are sometimes special offers such as £1 a pint.

Local Area - The local area isn't exactly the social heartbeat of the western world, but there are a few good pubs to choose from. The Happy Man is an old student favorite. The Monkey's Forehead is also popular, but seems to attract an older, more post-graduate crowd these days. Egham has a number of very good restaurants and Windsor provides Liquid for those who want to go clubbing. For the best Indian restaurant in the world - no joke, it has the awards to prove it - head to The Tiger's Pad in Sunningdale. A bit expensive on a low budget, but definitely worth it.

Major Functions

Since Royal Holloway is a campus university, much of the social life takes place in the Students' Union. Royal Holloway has one of the highest turnover Student Unions in the country, and the quality of the entertainments is renowned.

The Student Union Building has a capacity of 1200, with organised functions 6 nights a week. Functions usually cost around £4.00 and the most popular nights are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday when the bars open until 2:00am. In the last few years bands such as Steps, Republica, Dodgy, Another Level, Sash, the Lightning Seeds and Boy George have all performed.

In recent years, attendance levels at the union have fallen. Having canvassed public opion, one of the main contributing factors has been the hugely over-baring security procedures. Photo ID is essential to enter the building after 8pm and every non-Holloway person has to be signed in - other NUS card do not gain automatic entry. Many students have decided that rather than have their friends gather at RHUL, they may as well meet in London or go to a local club where security is less "anal". The reasons for this increased security in recent years are unclear as RHUL has never had any security or drug problems.

Social Events

Black Tie functions tend to be more common at Royal Holloway than many other universities. So for the men out there who have not purchased a Dinner Jacket you might consider doing so (it is cheaper than renting). The first major social event of the year is the Freshers Ball, a never-ending source of amusement as it tends to transform the Union into a "perverted passion pit".

Throughout the year many Clubs and Societies (most notably the James Bond Society) have formal functions and dinners. The Christmas Ball is another popular evening, but the highlight of the year is the Summer Ball at Founders. For those that make it through the night there is a survivors photograph and a champagne breakfast. The Pimms tent is a must for all those "drink driving" on the dodgems and all tastes of music are catered for.


There are sports clubs covering virtually all fields, from rugby and hockey to skydiving. There are political societies for all persuasions and fun societies from the James Bond Society to the Battle Re-enactment Society!

Probably the most welcoming group of campers, though, is the Ski and Snowboard Club. The biggest club on campus and with the most social clout this is a good one to get involved with, whether you ski or not.

Major awards

Recently Royal Holloway has gone through a successful period on the sports field. Their rugby and hockey teams play to a high standard, though there are teams for all abilities. The Ski Club has been successful and the Orienteering and Canoeing Clubs are world championship winners.

Percentage of first years in halls


General accommodation

Lots has happened at RHUL on the accommodation front. Fantastic new halls have been built - Gower and Wedderburn - which are more like plush apartment buildings that student halls of residence, and many of the existing halls have had some refurbishment done.

Most first years live on campus, some in the incredible [/images/RHULfounders.jpg Founders Building (photo)]. Rooms vary in size and some turret rooms are spectacular, although many are doubles. Food is generally abysmal.

Everyone else is accommodated in the New Halls complex, in the North A30 Halls group across the road or at the off-site hall of residence, Kingswood Hall, a couple of miles away. The halls are described below:

Gower & Wedderburn - Brand new halls set in woodland on campus. The buildings reflect their surroundings with wood cladding and good use of materials. When inside, things only get better. Its more like a high priced apartment building than a halls of residence. Study bedrooms come with a double bed - always useful if someone follows you back from the Union - built in wardrobes and a desk area. About 6 rooms surround each kitchen.

Athlone - The largest hall and a simple corridor based catered hall. Rooms are just big enough and from the top floor views are genuinely spectacular with Heathrow, Central London and Windsor castle all visible. It includes a small non-SU bar and Times Square a café.

Cameron - A miniature version of Athlone and a bit more friendly. Its biggest advantage is that it essentially incorporates the Stumble Inn.

Williamson - A multi-storey car park style building. Rumour has it that the New Halls complex was designed using the same plans as a Swedish prison. This story does the circuit at many universities that have basic breeze block halls of residence. If it is true then Williamson was the maximum security wing. Socially lacking and it always has this weird smell.

Reid - Six flats grouped around a pantry. Some rooms are en-suite. Reid residents use the main Athlone dining hall which starts off OK but goes rapidly down hill. Frustrated Holloway students unhappy with the food available have been known to boil pasta in kettles.

Runnymede - The classiest and most expensive of the halls, all rooms are en-suite and 6 share proper kitchen and living space. Not very sociable at all but popular with foreign students and many of Holloway's wealthier applicants.

North A30 Halls - Typically reserved for finalists and postgrads, quiet and relatively pleasant.

Kingswood - It really doesn't seem that many people choose Kingswood. It is a reasonable distance from college and the free bus service to the main campus requires a long wait in the mornings when it is most popular. There is some social focus but there are more whinges than wey-heys.

Second year students and a lot of third years tend to live locally in rented accommodation. In the third year many students return to Halls but the majority still live off campus. Every year the university accommodation office produces a housing list with properties available to rent but it seems that when people call the landlords listed, many of the properties have already gone. In addition to this there are numerous estate agents in Egham and Englefield Green. One problem with Royal Holloway is that due to its position in an affluent area of Surrey, cheap housing is very difficult to find. In the local area the best bets are Englefield Green and Egham. The Green is essentially a student village and Egham is pretty pleasant. Most of the houses in the main council estate of Englefield Green are exactly the same. Standards of repair are pretty variable.

Local area

The University is situated in Egham, Surrey near some of the most affluent areas in the country outside of London. Less than a mile away is the beautiful Wentworth Estate and Golf Club where the Sultan of Brunei and the great Bruce Forsythe live. Windsor is 3 miles from the College and Heathrow airport is about 5 miles away. London is 35 minutes away by train and one day travel cards (return train journey and unlimited tube/bus/rail travel) work from Egham. This is probably RH's biggest physical plus, serious lush setting and pleasant local area.

One common complaint about the University's location is that it is difficult to socialise late in London due to the times of the trains (last train from Waterloo 23:35). There are night buses to Heathrow from Trafalgar Square but it'll take all night. If you are in a group the cost of a taxi is manageable but not desirable.

Nearby Staines (4 miles & about 7 minutes by car) has greatly improved in recently years with the new Two Rivers shopping complex. It has a Warner Bros. Cinema, and all the major shops as well as a selection of restaurants and pubs. The McDonalds Drive Through is a favorite student haunt. It is still however a classic pikey haunt and won't offer you anything above the white jeans and Ben Sherman brigade you'll find in any provincial town.

The relationship between the locals and students is generally friendly, and only one or two pubs out of twenty do not welcome students - and one of those was recently pulled down anyway. There have been a few incidents of random muggings so take care at night.


Parking permits are available for all off-campus students. This does not guarantee you a parking space, as the permits issued outnumber the spaces available. Only 20% of students in Halls are issued parking permits.


There is a branch of National Westminster Bank on campus, which is open for a few hours during the afternoon. Other banks, including HSBC, Barclays, and Abbey National, have branches in Egham, ten minutes walk from campus. There is a cash machine in the Students' Union, but I think this charges a fee to withdraw money.

Disabled facilities

Since the campus is situated on a hill, wheelchair use can be awkward. Some disabled students use motorised wheelchairs. All of the academic departments and lecture halls cater for disabled people with wheelchairs, and there is a limited amount of disabled accommodation in Runnymede Hall. The ground floor of the Students' Union is accessible by wheelchair, but an elevator has yet to be installed. There are plans for this, however, in the future.

University shops

There is a college shop selling groceries, newspapers, stationary and drinks. Prices on many items are competitive with the local area.


There is a branch of Waterstones on campus. They have a good selection of books on all subjects studied at Royal Holloway, and they are able to order additional texts but have a policy of ordering only 70% of the required number, leaving many students to fight over the precious few library copies. From personal experience, if you miss out on a copy of a book that you need, you will almost certainly have finished studying it by the time it is available!

Sporting facilities

There's a new sports centre with a decent-sized gym and fitness suite. The uni plans to add to this in the future. For the moment the range of machines in the fitness suite is a bit limited. They pale in comparison to the main Egham town sports centre which is genuinely amazing. The standard and range is easily equal to the swankiest of posh gyms. This is located in town down the hill from college and probably a 20 min walk away.

Next to the college sports centre, there is a large area devoted to sports fields, including 10 rugby/football fields. The college has 4 tennis courts set against the stunning backrop of the founders building and a dicey grass hockey pitch which you can't use if it rains too much. There is however great access to other pitches in nearby Staines and home matches are sometimes played on the water-based astro pitch in Hounslow, which is excellent.

Transport policy

A Non-resident Bus Service is operated by the Students' Union at night. A charge of 80p is levied to help cover its considerable cost.

During the day there is also a bus service operated by the College, and tickets can be bought at halls reception desks.

Green Spaces

The campus has a large number of green areas with many rare trees and a lake. Many of these areas are protected by law.


There are two libraries on campus. The relatively new Bedford Library holds material for the bulk of science related courses at Royal Holloway, while the Founders library caters for languages. The music department has its own specific library and most departments hold a selection of relevant books and periodicals.

One of the biggest advantages, though, is that being part of the University of London, Royal Holloway students have access to all University of London college libraries and the main University library at Senate House.

Computing facilities

There is free computer access 24 hours a day at the Computer Centre. Computers are also available in the Bedford Library. Every student is issued with an e-mail address, and there are some Internet connections available in the newer Halls of Residence. Some academic departments have computer access.

The computer facilities have recently been updated (it was about time) and all have Windows XP and new screens. There is also Wireless Internet in the libarary. Overall, computer facilities are quite good, but be prepared to wait near essay deadlines!

Student Welfare

The Students' Union Welfare Suite is open Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, giving advice on all aspects of student life from contraception to housing problems. Free condoms are available on request. Throughout the night volunteer students are available by telephone on Nightline, also operated by the Students' Union. The College also has a Health Centre, and counsellors (as well as priests/ministers) are on hand to help with any problems.

The University counselling service is conidered excellent, and is the first counselling service in Britain to be awarded Service Recognition by the AUCC (Association of University and College Counsellors), a division of the British Association for Counselling.