Living off Campus: A Guide to York for Returners

The great and good of Nouse have chipped in to tell you all about what life is like living off campus in York

Fresher’s Week can be a sad time for second year students. After a year of being pampered and cared for, they are shunted to the side to make way for some fresh meat (no pun intended). Luckily for them, their friends at Nouse haven’t forgotten about them.

With this helpful guide to the ins and outs of the city of York, second years can sleep easy in the knowledge that life off campus is just as good life on it.


This sleepy suburb on the edge of York offers quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of the campus and the city. Sadly, this means that Osbaldwick is in the arse end of nowhere. If you have a car or bike (and parking for both is ample) then you won’t have a problem. However, if you rely on those two large limbs dangling below your torso to get about, then getting to lectures and house parties becomes a bit more of an issue. The two local shops provide your basic needs and there’s even a B&Q nearby for any emergency DIY jobs that need doing. There are a few other small local shops, including a hairdressers and a fish n chip shop. Asides from that, nothing else actually happens there. Even the local youths aren’t threatening; and the crime rate actually doubled when my household moved into the area for two crimes that were committed totally inadvertently that, thankfully, went undetected. But at least the people there are very friendly and helpful.

In fact, the only interesting piece of information about the place is the history of the dismantled railway that runs round Osbaldwick, which is now a handy cycle path into the heart of the city. The Derwent Valley Railway opened in 1912 and closed in 1981, providing a link line between the East Coast line and the line to Selby. What makes this line so interesting is that it was never nationalised, running as a private railway for all of its life. However, after British Railways closed the line to Selby in 1964, the link line became redundant almost overnight and section by section, it began to close. In 1981, the grain driers at Dunnington closed as there was no longer any traffic on the line, meaning that it closed later that year. A section of the railway was reopened in 1993 by a preservation group, just outside York by the Yorkshire Museum of Farming. The line is nicknamed the Blackberry Line, as it was a major source of the fruit for York and London via rail.

Sadly, that passing anecdote is the only interesting thing about the barren place.

Walking Times and Transport Links

It’s a ten minute walk to the Hes East campus, around double that time for Hes West, and then double again to get into town. The Number 6 bus goes through Osbaldwick to Hes East and into town, and the Number 20 bus heads to Heslington Hall and retail parks Clifton Moore and Monks Cross. You can also walk to Hes East and get the No 4 or 44 (Unibus) bus to Hes West campus for free

Local Shops

Osbaldwick isn’t blessed with a huge number of local shops unfortunately. You can go to either The Last Shop Before Mars, a quirky space-themed service station open 24/7 as well as a Sainsbury’s Local on Farndale Avenue.


Hull Road

Hull Road is the student hub of York. It has Tang Hall on one side – at a comfortable distance, don’t worry, – Osbaldwick on the other and it’s only ten minutes away from the University. Shopping wise there’s a cosy parade of shops down towards the Shell garage end, the Pizza Hut has become a staple part of my housemate’s hangover recovery and there’s a decent chippy just slightly further up. For those who don’t wish to survive off fast food, Co-op is a stone’s throw away and if you can stomach the outrageous expense then it’ll keep you well stocked throughout the year.

Hull Road is a great location for students, most of the houses are fairly decent as well and it’s only fifteen minutes from town (10 if you’re one of those weird people who route march rather than walk). But Hull Road’s biggest failing is that it doesn’t have fibre optic broadband. So you’re stuck with a crackpot provider that provides about thirty minutes of internet a day. When you live in a house with seven people this equates to about five minutes a day. This will inevitably mean that essay deadline day is a tad stressful if your department decides to be all new age and submit things electronically. Despite this, my housemates and I loved Hull Road so much we decided to stay in our house for our third year.

Walking Times and Transport Links

You can get to town on foot in about fifteen minutes. Also, the edge of campus is only about ten minutes away, though you’d have to save a bit more time to get to Derwent. You can get the Number 10 bus next to the Beeswing pub towards town. The number 44 stops only a few minutes away from the Shell Garage as well.

Local Shops

There’s a big Co-Op within a few minutes of Hull Road. If you don’t fancy that, then Morrisons and Waitrose are also relatively near depending on which end of Hull Road you live on.


Tang Hall

Tang Hall does not exactly have the greatest reputation with York students. Even the most fleeting of mentions of the area will cause your friends to grimace, and cringe at the thought of you running home from a night out, being desperately pursued by the Tang Hall Massive. Despite all this doom and gloom, anyone who has actually lived in Tang Hall will tell you to ignore the fuss.

Though the area is not particularly studenty, because of its distance from the campus – about twenty minutes walk – it is easily within walking distance of Lawrence Street and Heslington Road, because of a helpful shortcut via St. Nicholas Fields. The lack of “studentiness” means that you will often get decently sized houses, and town and multiple supermarkets are also within walking distance.

The main advantage to living in Tang Hall though is the price of houses. Because it’s slightly further out than most, you’ll often be able to find some really great deals. Rents are cheaper here than in many other areas, so it’s great for anyone working towards a budget. Cheap doesn’t mean grotty though! Many houses have been entirely refurbished with students in mind, so you can still find a great modern home.

If you can abide these minor drawbacks – some may even enjoy being seen as “that edgy friend from Tang Hall” – then Tang Hall is a more than decent place to live in York.

Walking Times and Transport Links

It takes roughly twenty minutes to walk to either campus or town from Seventh Avenue. If that sounds too challenging, the Number 6 Bus can be caught from Fourth Avenue going in both directions.

Local Shops

Tang Hall doesn’t really have too many shops to boast of. On Fourth Avenue there is a good sized Nisa, for a few basic groceries, and about ten minutes away from there are the bigger Morrisons and Asda. Further in on Tang Hall Lane there is a Co-Op as well.

A.S. and C.W.


Apart from a few minor drawbacks, Fulford is a lovely area to live for students. The rent tends to be fairly low, so you can enjoy a nice gaff for less than the equivalent price elsewhere in York. Fulford, though not the most studenty area, is greener, and generally nicer than the other parts or York. The area has ample transport links into the city, and is just about within walking distance to campus, on a good day. Fulford also has plenty of places to get groceries, and even has a chemist and clinic. You can walk back from town via the river, which is a sight to behold as the sun up after a night out.

All of this peace and beauty comes at a price however; living in Fulford means living very far away from the majority of other students. You’re looking at a thirty minute walk to get to Hull Road, even longer for Tang Hall or Osbaldwick. This will make getting to drinks and socials a real pain after a while. Being able to share a taxi back after a night out also becomes a rare and sacred occasion.
If you (and your social life) can live with these sacrifices, then Fulford is probably one of the nicest areas of York to live in.

Walking Times and Transport Links

It’s only about 25 minutes walk from fulford to town and 20 to Hes West campus. You can also get the number 7 and 26 buses into to town and the railway but no buses go towards campus.

Local Shops

Fulford has a few decent sized local shops within walking distance. On Fulford Road there is an Aldi right next to an Iceland, which are probably only a few minutes walk away from most of the Fulford student housing on. A little further up the road you’ll also find a Sainsbury’s Local. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, then there is a Co-Op on Broadway itself.

Zoe Robson

Lawrence Street

Of all the Lawrences that our world has been blessed with, it is perhaps Lawrence Street in York that can boast of being the most glorious. The majesty of York is encapsulated in this one street, with beautifully studenty houses nestled between a glut of petrol stations.

Lawrence Street and its surrounding area is considered part of the ‘golden mile’ of student property in York in that it’s conveniently fifteen minutes between both town and Uni, perfect if you have lectures before lunchtime so you can stop off for a nap at home on your way from Willow. It’s also really convenient for when your alarm clock doesn’t go off and you wake up fifteen minutes before a 9am. Remember how you were able to do that in halls? Well, you can do that on Lawrence Street too, give or take 10 minutes. All it takes is a quick stride up the road and you’re there, back in the concrete jungle that is Hes West.

Unfortunately, the brilliant location means that Lawrence Street is pretty expensive, and the only two real places to get food are the two petrol stations; you may think that you’re living near Morrisons, but it is unlikely that you will ever summon up sufficient energy to complete the ten minute walk there and back carrying everything…

Furthermore, you should choose wisely when house-hunting in the area; the main road is so busy that it is unlikely you will ever be able to cross it. This will become your standard excuse for missing so many lectures in the coming year. There is also a really steep hill up Green Dykes Lane which will seem like a march to the green mile if you have a 9am lecture in winter.

When people dubiously mention that “York has a pub for every day of the year”, a walk around the Lawrence Street area will probably be enough to convince even the deepest of doubters, that this is the truth. From the Rose and Crown to the Rooke and Gaskill, the Lawrence Street area enjoys a wide selection of different pubs, to fulfill your every boozy need.

Although he is an independent icon of York, Lawrence does not stand alone – he is accompanied by his enviable entourage featuring the likes of Milton, Nicholas, Herbert, Arthur and of course, their trusty Bull. Much like Dame Helen Mirren, they may be past their best, but you still would.

Walking Times and Transport Links

You can walk to either campus or into town in around fifteen minutes. The number 8 bus also goes through the Lawrence Street area on its way into town.

Local Shops

The Lawrence Street area is not exactly blessed with a glut of places to do the food shop, most probably because of the innumerable pubs up and down the road. You can get the basics from the Shell and Jet garages, and Morrisons is just about within walking distance as well, if you have the willpower.

H.L. and J.S.

Heslington Road

Home to the legendary ‘Efe’s Pizza’ takeaway, the Heslington Road area is a favourite for students on a budget. Students will inevitably walk through Hes Road in an attempt to save taxi money by walking home from town on a night out during Fresher’s Week. Littered with takeaways, pubs, and restaurants, Hes Road maintains a strong student vibe, whilst actually being a pleasant place to live!

Placed firmly within the ‘golden mile’ of the university, the area is known for its student-filled streets, yet remains almost completely safe and generally quiet. Despite its proximity to the university, the area boasts some of the most reasonably priced student accommodation to be found at York. The Victorian terrace houses add some much needed edginess to the area.

One of the main highlights of the area is the proximity to the centre of town. If you’re craving the sweet sting of Sambuca, or the questionable taste of prawn crackers call your name, Willow is only a ten minute walk away! The money saved on not needing for buses will be worth at least a few extra shots a week. However, the area is covered by both the No. 4 and 44 bus routes, which come approximately every five minutes, meaning you can be at the university within 5 minutes, and the rail station within 10.

Similarly, the main shops are located just a quick walk away. Foss Islands Way boasts a Morrison’s and Waitrose, and Heslington Road itself is home to a OneStop, in case of emergencies. The closest pubs include the moderately priced ‘The Victoria’ on Hes Road, as well as ‘The Rook and Gaskill’ and ‘The Rose and Crown’, which can both be found on Lawrence Street.

So what should you realistically expect? The area caters for both the partygoer and the bookworm. The quiet atmosphere ensures that those who do not want to be disturbed aren’t. Hes Road has everything you need for living off campus, and everything that isn’t located on the road itself can be found within a ten-minute walk.

Walking Times and Transport Links

The number 4 and 44 both pass through Heslington Road on their way to the railway station and both sides of campus. You can walk from the far end of Hes Road to campus in about fifteen minutes. You won’t need to get the bus into town unless you’re feeling particularly lazy!

Local Shops

There aren’t a tonne of local shops to get grub from around the Heslington Road area (probably driven out of business by Efe’s), but the shops in town are within walking distance. There is a microscopic Spar for the most basic of groceries however.

Caterina Soave


  1. Hull Road’s fibre cabinet was connected last month – literally the week after we left after spending an absolutely terrible year on DSL, so you should be able to get some better speeds on some streets now!

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  3. Zoe: Aldi, Iceland, the Sainsbury’s Local and the Co-Op on Broadway are all in Fishergate, not Fulford.

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