Living Out in Durham: Answers To All Your Housing Worries

For all you Freshers out there who are worried about housing next year, never fear! Her Campus Durham writers, Jess, Katy and Sarah have teamed together and come up with a realistic guide to the different areas of Durham you might want to live in next year. 

Properties between Durham Student’s Union and the Science Site

Around the DSU and Elvet Riverside you’ll be looking at places like Church Street, Hallgarth Street, Elvet Crescent and Whinney Hill. For proximity to the Science Site you might also be looking at Stockton Road and the surrounding streets like Oswald Court and Boyd Street. All closely -linked and well- situated for more or less anything in the centre of Durham, this area is one which sells out fastest with most people signing before Christmas!

Pros: - Everywhere is a 10 minute walk, including the science site, Bill Bryson, Tesco… even the railway station is only 15-20 minutes away. - It’s also a great place in relation to most colleges, so if you’re living in a house with people from various colleges it should make things like socials and formals much more accessible. - In areas such as Church Street and Hallgarth Street, the properties themselves are mostly quaint, older townhouses, so if you’re into historical and aesthetic value it’s definitely a good area for you.

Cons: - Unfortunately, with such a location, you definitely pay for the privilege. You’re not likely to find houses cheap in this area. If you do, we’d love to know how! - Much of the area is residential, so beware of noise complaints. - Similarly, there isn’t the same party atmosphere as areas such as the Viaduct. - As already mentioned, these houses go fast – most people sign before Christmas. If you want in, it is a bit of a rat-race, but definitely worth it to be able to roll out of bed 10 minutes before your lecture starts.


Properties around Old Elvet and up to Gilesgate

Situated just down from the DSU and Elvet Riverside, and directly across from Elvet Bridge is Old Elvet. If the properties aren’t uni buildings dedicated to departments, or B&Bs/pubs, chances are you might be able to snap one up as a student rental.

Pros: - They’re close to town, Elvet Riverside and probably about 15 minutes from the Science Site. Even Claypath and Gilegate are only a few minutes up the road. You will literally never need to pay for a taxi again. - The properties are mostly older builds with the quirks of aged houses, including things like fireplace features in many of the bedrooms. - If you study anything like Sociology, Psychology or Sciences, there are several departmental buildings down Old Elvet, so seminar punctuality would be perfect. - You’re right next to the University Medical Centre - More importantly, you’re right next to Starbucks. Gingerbread latté anyone?

Cons:- As with the properties nearer the DSU and Science Site, they’ll be gone quickly and at a price.- Because many of these are older properties, things such as damp and drafts might be an issue, so make sure you’ve discussed this with your estate agent or landlord.- You may quite often have awkward encounters with lecturers and seminar leaders down Old Elvet as many properties there are university-owned. So enjoy that awkward smile and nod.


Surprisingly, a lot of people haven’t even heard of this area, so just to clarify: it’s the area with Urban Oven, Pizza Uno’s, etc etc. Recognise it now? This area is practically in the city centre, only a two-five minute walk away from Market Square and Tesco’s, depending on what street you live. The largely terraced housing in Claypath makes for a picturesque, handy place to rent a student house.


-          Unbeknownst to many Durham students, the range of restaurants and cute little cafés up past the pizza shops is amazing! From Indian restaurants, to Tia’s Mexican and the Claypath Delicatessen, livers out are spoiled for choice.

-          The large majority of houses in this area really pretty, especially the red-bricked terraced houses along Ravensworth Terrace where each door is painted a different colour!

-          It’s only a five minute walk into town and to Elvet Riverside, and even better, only two minutes to Jimmy Allen’s under the underpass!


-          It’s a twenty minute walk up the hill and Church Street to get to the Science Site and Billy B. Those based on the Science Site, only sign for a house here if you have lots of motivation, or a car.

-          From a Hill College? Walking all the way up to South Road in heels for a formal is not for the faint-hearted. You’ll have to get on the phone to our good friends, Mac and Polly.

-          Whilst the array of restaurants on your doorstep is hugely exciting, it’s a one way ticket to an empty bank account and an even emptier wardrobe when none of your clothes fit you anymore… 



Neville’s Cross

A small area right on the edge of Durham, Neville’s Cross is out of the way but there is certainly the massive bonus of value for money; big, functional properties at considerably lower prices than the city centre.

Pros: - Good prices for good properties – and chances are, no one will be signing here too early on, so if you’re unsure about choosing housemates and want to give it more time then there will be options here later on in the year. -  A few nice food shops, convenience stores and a post office. - Although it seems a way out, let’s be honest, nowhere is too far in Durham; google maps reckons it’s around a mile to the station and less than that to the centre.

Cons: - Location isn’t great, but manageable. - More popular with post-grads, and the distance makes going out into town a bit less appealing than other areas. Just have a few good taxi numbers to hand. - You’ll probably have to set your alarm a few minutes earlier than you would like in order to make it to lectures on time, and the uphill walk back could end up being fairly soul-destroying, but excellent cardio.

The Viaduct

Everyone knows about the Viaduct! Durham’s party central, favoured by students who want to make the most out of their university experience.


- The reason why the Viaduct is so popular is, ironically, because it’s so popular. It is one of the most sociable places to live as it is almost completely populated by students. If you love a good house party, it is definitely the place to be.

- It’s sociable! House parties with the added bonus Loft and Studio are along North Road.

- You are guaranteed to bump into someone you know while walking to your lectures every day and there is a nice community feel to the area.

- It’s near town, but not in town.

- Even if you are unfortunate enough to have to make the treacherous journey to the science site or the library every day, the bus station has buses that leave at ten to every hour,  that will drop you anywhere you need. The bus even stops at the DSU if you are particularly loaded up.


- It seems ages when you are walking up a hill for example on Albert Street.

- It’s a very long walk from the library, Science Site and Maiden Caste.

- It’s loud, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays. The trains can be a nuisance too!

- You find you only go to Loft. Why walk the extra five minutes to Klute or even to any Bailey bars, when Loft is right there and the queue hasn’t built up yet? Living this far out it seems easier to pre at home, rather than support the college bars, which is always a shame.


Cheap houses, long walks. Enough said!


- It’s so far away you will probably get a fairly decent house even if you sign last minute because no one ventures there unless they are desperate.

- A lot quieter than the places nearer the town centre and has a half decent pub or two.


-It’s really, really far from just about everything and everyone.


Happy house hunting!