Renting your first house

Whether you’re a first-year looking for private accommodation, or a second year that hasn’t sorted out accommodation. We know that renting your first home can be very overwhelming, so this guide will tell you all you need to know.

Search online

The most important thing when renting a house is to look at what’s available, and the details of the houses you like. Having a look online is the first step to finding your home, it will give you the initial information you’ll need by showing you images of the rooms, where the house is located, and the price of rent.

Letting agencies usually have a  contact us page on their website, so if you have a query about the house, want to book a viewing, or need some further information, it’s best to contact the letting agency or the landlord to find out the information as soon as possible.

Go on a viewing

Going on a viewing will allow you to get a real feel for the place or places you are interested in. You’ll have a chance to fully engage with the house as opposed to just looking at images online, which will help you make a well-rounded decision.

If you are viewing a house as a group, it’s best to have all the potential tenants viewing the house at the same time, that way everyone will get the see the rooms for themselves without any bias.

When looking for a home,  you don’t necessarily need to have a specific place in mind to book a viewing. Any letting agency will be happy to help you decipher a budget and narrow down the houses that fit your specification.

You can contact the letting agency directly and make an appointment, or go into their branch.

Getting your paperwork done

Completing any contract can seem a little daunting, especially when it comes to signing for a house. If you are starting out at university or even if you are in your second year, you may not have ever signed a tenancy agreement before, let alone find a guarantor. For most students, this is the trickiest part when taking on a tenancy.

A guarantor is someone who will guarantee your rent is paid, for example, if you, the tenant, are unable to make a payment, your guarantor will cover you. For many students, a guarantor will be a parent or a relative. Once contracts have been signed, paperwork will be sent to the chosen guarantor to be completed before the tenancy is approved. We understand that not everyone has a guarantor that meets landlord’s specifications, so if that’s the case, you just need to speak to us.

Once a house has been decided on, an admin fee will usually be taken. This fee covers the letting agency’s time to create your tenancy documents e.g. drawing up your tenancy agreement, contacting the landlord to discuss your application etc. It is a standard practice (certainly in Chester) and something most agencies will require. It all may seem confusing at first but we promise, the lettings process isn’t as scary as you might initially think. For more information on guarantors and the general lettings process, check out what it’s like living with us.

We pride ourselves on finding a let that students will love. If you are still in need of accommodation for the upcoming academic year, see what houses we have available for September 2016.


Essentials for Freshers when starting uni

Whether you’re moving into halls or living in private accommodation, there are necessities that every university student needs. Here is a guide breaking down all the items needed to make your first year at university great!

General quick tips

  • Travel light – there’s no need to bring everything plus the kitchen sink! Chester has shops where you can buy things too
  • Sometimes cheap and cheerful will do. There’s no point splashing out on expensive pans and crockery, that might get ruined if you’re sharing with your housemates.
  • Before you move into halls, check what the university says you are allowed to bring and what already comes with the room. Similarly, if you are in private accommodation check with the landlord or your letting agency

Your bedroom

This is your own personal space, so you have the opportunity to make it your own. For some inspiration, check out The Independent’s  10 cheap ways to decorate your university room. This article has great little tips advising how to personalise your room and make it more homely.

We’ve put together a little checklist of things you might want to bring along with you:

  • Duvet – Preferably bring a warm one (10.5 tog) which will be sufficient for both summer and winter
  • Pillows x2 – Bringing two pillows will be enough whether you have a single or double bed
  • Bottom sheet x2 – Just to be safe bringing two bottom sheets will allow for a change when you’re not feeling like doing your laundry
  • Bedding x2 – Similarly bring two lots of bedding for those lazy weeks
  • Mattress topper – If you’re in a CSL fully managed house, then you’ll get one of these with your room. If not, you’ll definitely want to bring one with you. Chances are that you won’t be the first student to be sleeping in your bed, so a mattress topper will help keep your bedding more sanitary, and makes the mattress more comfortable too
  • Furnishings – Bring items such as bins, lamps and full length mirrors as they aren’t always included in your accommodation – again this will be something to check before you move in. When it comes to adding personal touches in your room, bringing photos/posters and cushions really help make your room feel more homely and comfortable, which will help if you start getting homesick. Make sure to check your tenancy agreement to ensure how you can fix posters to the walls, as blue and white tack can leave oily marks. Command Strips are a great alternative.
  • Clothes- We understand that it may be tempting to buy a whole new wardrobe for starting university, however, bear in mind that storage and wardrobe space may be more limited than you’re used to, and you don’t want to over clutter your room. The beauty of Freshers’ Week is that you will get free t-shirts and hoodies so depending on your ability to get freebies, you will probably get enough t-shirts to last you the whole year. Similarly the same with shoes, chances are you will probably only wear four pairs throughout the whole year so just bring a few of your favourite pairs.

Doing your laundry

If you are going into halls, there will be a designated laundry room that will require you to top up a laundry card to use the facilities. If you are in private accommodation, then your house will usually come with a washing machine and a dryer, depending on what your landlord supplies. All houses let through CSL do come with a washing machine.

  • Washing powder/ tablets/ gel – Washing tablets are a safer option, especially in halls where there often isn’t a draw for washing powder. We’d recommend buying these when you arrive in Chester and have seen what facilities are available.
  • Washing basket/ bag – We’d say having one of these is definitely essential. It’ll make your life so much easier when you have to carry your laundry to the washing facility on campus, or the laundrette if your landlord doesn’t provide a washing machine. To check out houses that will have a washing machine, just check our website.
  • If you are living in private accommodation, you will probably have a washing line if your home includes a garden. But if you are in halls, one item to consider is a drying rack or clothes maiden. This way you can dry your clothes in your room instead of paying for laundry services. Make sure that you check your tenancy agreement before doing this though, as sometimes there are restrictions on drying clothes indoors due to black mould.


Depending on the type of accommodation you have, it’s best to only bring bathroom essentials – unless you have an en-suite and know you have to bring a shower curtain, bath mat etc.

  • Bath towels x2
  • Hand towels x2
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Razors and other personal items

Be prepared for first aid

Something that’s easy to forget but is essential, especially during Freshers’ Week is bringing a first aid kit and basic medication. To see some tips about how to combat Freshers Flu check out our “What they don’t tell you about uni” blog, this will show the medication that might help. To keep in your stash and be prepared for the year, we’d recommend:

  • Painkillers – aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol. Typically used for headaches and inflammation, these will become a staple during your university life, especially to help with the ‘morning after the night before’!
  • Cough medicine
  • Thoat lozenges
  • Plasters/ bandages ready for those minor chopping accidents

Your kitchen

Despite the type of accommodation you have, whether it’s shared or a studio, you will still need to bring a few kitchen utensils.

  • Crockery – an easy option is a set of basic dinnerware including  4 bowls, 4 saucers and 4 plates from Wilkinsons. Chances are, you probably won’t use all four (unless you really hate washing up), but it means if any get broken you have spares at the ready
  • Mugs & glasses – similarly getting 4 cups and 4 glasses should be sufficient for the year
  • Pans – when it comes to cooking, again, stick with the basics. Two saucepans and a frying pan should be enough. You can buy an inexpensive set of three pans in most supermarkets too!
  • Cutlery – a 12 piece set made up of knives, forks and spoons will be enough. Make sure you buy some decent chopping knives too, blunt ones will slip easily and you could really injure yourself
  • Utensils –  you’re best to start with essentials like a spatula, colander, sieve, scissors and a wooden spoon
  • Chopping board – ideally bring two, one for meat and the other for vegetables to save spreading bacteria. Alternatively, take the cheat’s way out and make sure to flip it when you’re using raw meat and veg. Just make sure you clean it really well!
  • Trays – a roasting and a baking tray will be sufficient for all the frozen pizzas you’ll be eating over the year
  • Tea towels & oven mitts – chances are if you have a communal kitchen you’ll end up sharing these with your housemates

Get cool stationary

When it comes to stationary, you can easily buy everything when you know what your course requires, as well as some funky bits to jazz up your room.

  • Pens, pencils, and highlighters
  • Sticky notes/ flash cards – you’ll be surprised how often you will use these
  • A4 notebook – instead of bringing lots of notebooks with you all at once, use one for the first week of lectures, that way you’ll know what each module consists of and if it’s necessary to have separate notebooks for each one
  • A4 folders – bringing two folders to begin with will allow for you to use one for lecture notes and the other one for important documents

Electrical stuff

Here are a few tips for any electrical items you may be planning to bring. When moving into halls, you will need to take out content insurance for the year, particularly if you’re bringing electrical items. If you are going into private accommodation and are thinking of ensuring your laptop or mobile phone, Endsleigh offer insurance packages specifically for students, which are also approved by the NUS (National Union for Students).

  • Laptop – you’ll definitely want to insure this if you’re bringing one. If you don’t have a personal laptop, computers rooms are available in the library and you can also hire them out with your Chester University student card that you’ll receive when you enrol
  • TV – if you have accommodation that includes a TV license in the rent,  a TV will be provided in the communal room. However, you will usually have to bring your own if you want one in your bedroom. If a TV license isn’t included in your rent, it may mean that you’ll need to bring your own TV if you want one, but most importantly, remember to pay the TV license fee if you’re watching live TV!
  • Iron – in most student accommodation, small electrical appliances such as irons and kettles are unlikely to be included. You may want to check with your landlord or the university before bringing these in case they are already provided
  • USB-  this can come in exceptionally handy, especially when it comes to printing, emailing/ transferring assignments and presentations
  • Extension leads – something many people may forget, most houses don’t supply extension leads, so it’s better to bring one, especially if you are likely to have many appliances plugged in at once

Important documents

If the university hasn’t explicitly said anything about bringing documentation, it’s still best to bring certain paperwork as it may be useful in months to come.

  • Passport – for when you need ID, this will be useful if you don’t have a driving licence (full or provisional). It will also be useful when signing up for private accommodation as driving licenses aren’t always accepted as ID
  • Medical card – if you have any medical forms relating to your health, or private health insurance, this will be useful to keep on you. This will be particularly useful if you require extra time in exams or need an extension for assignments, as having this documentation will act as proof and make it much easier for the uni to authorise anything you might need
  • Bank statements – if you’ve got a student bank account, it’s a good idea to keep recent bank letters and statements, as well as access codes for online banking etc. They will also come in handy if you apply for a job as bank statements can be used as proof of address
  • Student finance – although it’s not a necessity to bring student finance confirmation with you, it will give you the accurate dates your student loan will come in and how much you should expect to receive
  • CV – if you are wanting part time work, bringing an updated copy of your CV at the start of the academic year will be beneficial ready for temporary Christmas work if you’re planning to stay during the winter, but also means you will be prepared if jobs are advertised during Freshers’ Week
  • Exam certificates – again, this isn’t a requirement but may be useful just in case you go for a job interview and need proof of your exam results

If you are coming to the University of Chester, check out our “Going to be a fresher in September?” blog. This guide will give you hints and tips ready for the big move.

Also, if you are looking for accommodation that’s a bit different to halls for your first year, check out some of the homes that we have available. Some of these will be specifically for Freshers, so it’s definitely worth getting in touch and having a chat with us if you’d like more info.


























The Hammond School accomodation guide

If you are a current student at the Hammond School or a new student starting this year and need accommodation, follow this guide to help you find a let you will love in the Chester area.


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What is The Hammond School?

The Hammond School is a Centre of Excellence funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) under the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS). It is supported through the Dance and Drama Awards Scheme (DaDA) to deliver Trinity College’s National Diplomas in Performing Arts (dance) and Musical Theatre, in addition to a 6th form Drama Course offering a BTEC Diploma Level 3 in Performing Arts (acting).

It offers full-time educational courses from the age of 11 in dance, drama and music alongside GCSE and GCE level academic provision in a broad range of subjects. Students aged 16 and over have the opportunity to undergo a national diploma in Dance and Musical Theatre and achieve 2 A Levels in Drama.

If you are interested in courses offered The Hammond School, check out the term dates for September 2016/2017.

Where is The Hammond School located?

The preparatory school is located within the school’s grounds at Hoole Bank, located just outside of Chester. Due to its location, Hammond School students wanting to live in this area would benefit from looking at accommodation in Chester.

The city is home to the University of Chester. With several different campuses situated around the city, it has a lovely student contemporary feel. It has a variety of bars and shopping outlets great with a host of leisure activities, great for those wanting a student atmosphere.

If you’re recently graduated from The Hammond School and looking to further your studies at Chester Uni, find out more information on the different campuses based in Chester, check out our CSL UoC campus guide.

What homes would be best for me if I’m at The Hammond School?

The popular student area based near the University of Chester is only a 10-minute drive to The Hammond School, or around 25 minutes on the bus.  Equally, if you’re moving from The Hammond School to further education at Kingsway campus (the home of arts and media), you’re only a 7-minute drive, with close transport links including Chester station, for those students who need the train.

12 Brookside Terrace

Located near the Kingsway campus, it’s a 10-minute drive to the Hammond School and a 10-minute walk to the train station.  This house has one double room available, which includes all bills and also has available parking.


1 Queens Road

This house has three double rooms available, inclusive of all bills with parking and outside space. It’s approximately a 10-minute drive to the Hammond School, with a short walk to the train station and Chester city centre.

1 quen

145 St Anne Street

This house has five double rooms available, inclusive of all bills. With large spacious rooms, this house is a 10-minute drive to the Hammond School. It’s in a prime location, with supermarkets two minutes away and only a 10-minute walk to both the city centre and the train station!

145 st annes

Northgate Point

Northgate Point is a halls of residence, offering premier studios especially for students. These halls offer three varieties of flats in varying levels of luxury. Self-contained, the flats include all bills and luxurious furnishings. It’s only a 10-minute drive to the Hammond School, with the train station and city centre only a short walk away.

northgate point

If you liked the look of any of the properties listed above or have any questions, give us a shout, or alternatively, check out our properties page to see what else we have available.

Good luck for the upcoming academic year from all of us here at CSL, we look forward to meeting you soon!

Brexit-Student Perspectives

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At the time of writing, it’s been one week since Brexit and following all the fallout and debate, we wanted to gather some opinions on the result. With  75% of 18 to 24-year-olds  voting to remain in the EU, who better to ask than students. 

Student concerns

Prior to the referendum, online discount site MyVoucherCodes surveyed just under 2,500 students to find nearly half (48 percent) feel  neither campaign  had shed any light on how Brexit would really affect daily life. The results (displayed below) show the concerns students have about leaving the EU in relation to the survey.

Top 10 student worries about leaving the EU:

  1. Harder to travel around Europe – 64%
  2. Harder to gain work in Europe – 49%
  3. Effect on employment post-university – 46%
  4. Loss of education funding from EU grants – 45%
  5. Harder to study in Europe – 41%
  6. Rise in loans interest rates – 38%
  7. Harder for UK and European universities to collaborate – 28%
  8. European students facing higher fees in the UK – 17%
  9. Issues for EU nationals currently studying in UK – 15%
  10. Less protection for workers’ rights – 13%


Published in the Telegraph, Boris Johnson released this statement addressing the public’s concerns about leaving the EU. In his statement, he talked about the effects it will have on education and travel, two of the top 10 worries for students. 

“Britain is part of Europe and always will be”

– Boris Johnson

“British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. There will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market. Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing – all the things we need to do together to make our world safer.”

David Cameron, whilst  interviewed by the Impartial Reporter, commented on the risk of leaving the EU.  Focusing on the trade relationship with the EU, he outlined the benefits this has for the UK.

“If we left we’d lose our say”

– David Cameron

“The UK has free trade with the rest of the EU, including the Republic of Ireland, because we are in a single market. That means no tariffs, no barriers; meaning more jobs, prosperity and opportunities. It’s improved living standards for people in the UK and Ireland immeasurably.”

“There’s also the fact that, within the EU, we have a seat at the table to decide the rules on exporting across Europe. If we left, we’d lose our say.”


With all this debate and discussion, it’s understandable why students and the general public are  confused on the implications of leaving the EU. 

“I’m struggling to see the benefits of leaving the EU”

– Beth Stevens, 20

“The pound has crashed already, mortgages are going up and it’s now harder for us all to travel. I’m struggling to see the benefits of leaving the EU, especially as promises made in the ‘leave’ campaign by Farage are now being denied such as spending the £350 billion saved from the EU on the NHS.

It makes me angry that some people have voted ‘leave’ purely based on racism and immigration factors, they neglect to think about British people who work/live abroad in EU countries. It’s an excuse to try and justify racism. In the news already,  two polish men have been beaten up and told to leave the country, whilst  Muslims are being hurled abuse at, I’m just incredibly disappointed in the result.”

“Our democracy will keep failing until we do”

– Chad Newton, 21

“Britain’s young people overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU [75%/YouGov Poll]. Why? Because we recognise the benefits to our jobs, our travels, our universities, our security and because we see beyond the racist posters to see the positive benefits of migration. And so I really do see where people are coming from when they see we’ve had our future unfairly taken from us by those who won’t live to see it.

We’re kidding  ourselves when we tell ourselves this is a democracy. I really think now is the time that we change our politics at every level to reverse the decades-long rise of youth disengagement. There’s so much we can do to make politics more transparent, accessible, and engaging, our democracy will keep failing until we do”.

“EU funding is essential to the development of the UK”

– Ryan Mottershead, 20

“So Labour are going nowhere, Tories don’t know what they’re doing, UKIP won’t get in because of the way the election works, Lib Dems, who are they? And then the Green Party are just skipping around windmills eating Vegan food, there isn’t a stand out party to lead the country through one of the most difficult and complex procedures in the countries history, well done Britain, well done.

Leaving the EU would be good only if there were agreements from all our trading partners prior to an exit ensuring that British trade doesn’t suffer, but it’s a lot deeper than that. The financial markets and investment in the UK as well as EU funding is essential to the development of the UK”.


Despite the points made previously, not all students are in agreement on the UK’s future in the EU. Here are two perspectives of students welcoming Brexit, believing that leaving the EU will help the UK become a stronger country.

“We can thrive, we always did”

– Chris Bunt, 20

“I feel  the reaction of younger people will be pro-EU due to globalisation, we feel connected to everyone through the internet and therefore establish some sort of relationship.

Historically, the British Empire owned 25% of the earth’s land area and one-fifth of the world population, people forget, but in reality we can thrive, we always did”.

“I am pleased with the result to leave”

– Ryan Williams. 20

“I am pleased with the  result to leave, the campaign to leave the EU was conducted better in my opinion so I feel it was the right choice. I expected  it to be close but I was surprised that leave voters edged it, I thought the fear factor would make people stay in”.

What do we know?

To be honest, we know nothing for sure about the future of the UK  (we’d love to tell you otherwise!).  However, here is what we do know about the upcoming processes the UK faces.

  • Leaving the EU means a level of uncertainty for the UK – it has never happened before so the implications that this will have for students is still unclear.
  • Article 50 triggers the start of a two-year process for the UK to exit the EU.
  • This means that Britain will now have two years to establish its new relationship with the EU, as well as trade agreements with the rest of the world. 
  • David Cameron has resigned following the result, a new conservative leader will be in post by October.


Let us know your thoughts on the referendum through our social media  FacebookTwitter, Instagram and Google+

To keep up with current student blogs and events check out our website and follow us on our social media.


UoC campus guide

Whether you’re a fresher new to the Chester scene, or are returning to Chester in September but will be studying at a different campus, check out our CSL campus guide which breaks down the various campuses belonging to the University of Chester.

Module timetables will be released during Freshers’ Week (26th – 30th September 2016) and you can access which campus you are on from your portal page.

Parkgate Road Campus (Main)


Parkgate Road is Chester University’s main campus. It hosts the majority of students studying at the university, and caters for a variety of courses, as well as featuring a host of facilities.

As this campus incorporates both teaching and student living, there is a mixture of learning and leisure resources. It has an array of self-catered and full board accommodation with a dining hall for students with a meal , plus  a small launderette located next to the library.

The campus is separated into two main areas, with sport playing fields in each section along with cafes, catering outlets and lecture buildings . It also has a bookshop, a small Santander bank,  fitness suite with a swimming pool, as well as a chapel and faith space. Along with all of the above, Chester has its  own Student Union (SU) bar and shop, with the SU hosting its own student night every Friday.

The Seaborne Library is the biggest student hub on main campus. Recently renovated in 2015, it has been extended to feature more study areas and now includes a small Costa Coffee on the ground floor. There is a 24-hour access area, which allows you to use the mac room and the lower portion of the library, however, remember this can only be accessed with your student card.

To get more information on the campus and its amenities why not check out our blog Parkgate Road-  get your study on.

If you are looking for private accommodation near Parkgate Road, we have a variety of properties left. For example 3 Cheyney Road is directly opposite the main campus, you could be sat in your lecture theatre 5 minutes after leaving your house. If you are someone who likes being close to the all the action then this property is perfect.

Kingsway Campus

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Kingsway is the university’s  arts and media campus, featuring the following courses: art and design, drama, media, and music.  It has a large canteen at the rear of the building with the option for books to be ordered from Warrington (there’s no library on site).

It’s a 20-minute walk from Parkgate Road but there is private accommodation nearby if you wish to live closer to it. 12 Brookside Terrace  is only a 10-minute walk from Kingsway. Perfect if you are based on Kingsway campus for the foreseeable, or if you are a combined student, as main campus is only 10 minutes away.

Kingsway may be further from main campus, but it does have brilliant bus service links to Chester city centre and is only a 15-minute walk to the train station.You can use the Upton Service, number 53 to take you from the Chester city centre to Kingsway and vice versa.

For more information on this campus and its courses, check out the university’s Kingsway information page.

Thornton Science Park

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The Thornton Science Park is renowned for being a major research and innovation hub in the North West.  Thornton offers courses including science (natural and computer),  engineering, and mathematics.

Based near Ellesmere Port, it’s approximately 20-minutes drive away from Parkgate Road, however, there is a direct coach that leaves main campus throughout the day. You’ll be able to see the timetable, which becomes available at the start of term.

This campus has purpose-built laboratories specific to each course, kitted with up to date computer suites, programming equipment, and a library – everything needed to support students’ independent learning.

Finding accommodation close to the pick-up point on main campus in this area will make those early starts a little easier. 62 Garden Lane is a 5-minute walk away from main campus, and is situated in the popular student area of the Garden Quarter, close to shops and takeaways.

Riverside Campus

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Riverside Campus is home to the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services, and Health and Social Care. Situated by the River Dee, its a 20-minute walk from the main campus.

It houses the library collections for Education and Children’s Services, as well as Health and Social Care students. There are several IT laboratories for ‘open access’ and teaching use.  All of the teaching spaces are equipped with high-grade audiovisual technology and provide an excellent learning experience.

In addition, it features its own cafe and coffee shop and a has a great ‘student space’ for group work and individual study.

As this campus is located on the outskirts of the city centre, it’s a slightly further walk away from the main student hub. However, 18 Garden Lane  is located closer to the city centre and is only a 15-minute walk to Riverside, whilst being a 10-minute walk to main campus and shops.

Queen’s Park Campus

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Queen’s Park Business School is the designated campus for business and events management. Located in Handbridge, it’s a 5-minute walk from the city centre and a 30-minute walk from Parkgate Road.

The campus provides a great learning environment for its students, with events hosted annually on the campus including some prestigious speakers, welcoming public and private sector partners.

In terms of facilities, Queen’s Park has its own dedicated business library, with student study spaces and IT suites, as well as a canteen and even a Starbucks on the ground floor.

This campus is located on the South side of the River Dee. It’s accessible by walking through the Grovesnor Park and continuing over the Queen’s Park Bridge. Due to the campus’s location, accommodation near the city centre would be best for those looking for a shorter walk. Northgate Point offers modern self-contained and excellent specification studios for especially for students. Being so close to the city centre, these halls are only a 15-minute walk to Queens Park.

University Centre Shrewsbury

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The University teamed up with Shropshire County Council to build an undergraduate/ postgraduate facility in 2014, aimed at students who wish to further their studies whilst simultaneously offering a rounded university experience.

The courses and wider opportunities on offer at University Centre Shrewsbury are designed to ensure that students can develop skills in their chosen field, aiming to produce highly employable graduates. If this is something that interests you, check out their undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

If you are a first year or a returning student looking for a let you can love near any of the Chester-based campuses, check out our properties page and see what we have available for August/ September 2016.







CSL’s guide to a summer in Chester

You’ve handed in all your assignments and sat your exams, now what? If you’re planning to stay in Chester over the summer then check out our summer guide, we promise you’ll never run out of things to do.

Work experience

If you have a few weeks spare, one thing to consider is work experience. Despite the fact you may not get paid, gaining as much experience as you can now will be most beneficial when you graduate and are competing for jobs – CVs are everything.

If you have more free time, an internship may be something to consider. These are usually paid, spanning over a few months  and are a great way of earning some extra money over summer.

You can find work experience adverts online, but the university also offers work shadowing days and a few paid internships. Check out their Careers and Employability page for more information.

As a larger city, there are a variety of placements available in Liverpool throughout the year, so if you’re willing to travel this could be another option for you to consider.


One thing you must do is go to the races. A day at the races is something special, especially if it is your first time going. There’s nothing better than putting on your best frock or suit, having a few drinks in the sunshine whilst getting caught up in the excitement of the race.

There are plenty of events on over the summer, including Ladies and Gents day, (July 8th) and the Stella Artois festival (July 23rd) to name a few. The booking process is easy, you pick your area of choice to stand and collect your tickets the next day from reception via your confirmation email.

If it’s your first time going to the races, the ‘open course’ or the ‘Dee enclosure’ are the cheaper areas located in the middle of the racecourse. From this area you are able to view the race as it comes towards the end. This is perfect if you are going with a group of friends and just want to experience the atmosphere. The better the stall, the higher the price, so its best to decide what you want to get out of the races before you book.

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is the largest zoo in Britain, and one of the most popular.  It won two awards in 2015, one for the  Best Tourism Marketing Project of the Year (via islands project) and the other for the largest Attraction of the Year Award.

The zoo hosts over 20,000  animals of over 500 different species including some of the most endangered in the world. In 2015, Chester Zoo underwent under a £40m  extension, introducing ‘islands’ an area showcasing the zoo’s act for wildlife conservation. Visitors can navigate their way through mangroves, swamps, bamboo and tropical forests either on foot or take the 15-minute lazy boat ride.

With so much to explore it isn’t a surprise that Chester Zoo is named the best in the UK.   If you have a day free this summer, check out the zoo for yourself, you won’t regret it.

Retail and leisure outlets

Calling all shoppers! If you have a passion for clothes and an even bigger passion for discounts then Cheshire Oaks is the place for you.

Cheshire Oaks is the UK’s largest Designer Outlet, with a quarter-million square foot of retail space, comprising more than 145 boutiques offering discounted prices as well as restaurants and cafés.

Set out in a village style, the designer outlet is easy to navigate (which doesn’t bode well for our bank accounts). With all designer stores next to each other, it is definitely every shopper’s dream.

Adjacent to the designer outlet is the ‘Coliseum Leisure Park’ this makes for the perfect day or night out. Compromising of some of the top high street shops such as Boots, Topshop, Lipsy, Game etc. There is also a wide variety of entertainment including the Vue Cinema, Laser-Quest, mini golf and bowling.

A variety of restaurants are located around the entertainment venues including Frankie & Benny’s, Nandos, Prezzo, and also a Costa and Starbucks – definitely something for everyone. Whether it’s a date or just heading out with your friends, the Coliseum Leisure Park & Cheshire Oaks should keep you entertained for hours!

Open Air Theatre

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre is a purpose-built venue with an eight-week annual summer repertory season. This award-winning theatre is considered to be the finest open air theatre outside London.

Produced by Storyhouse, the 2016 season runs from July 1st – August 21st with productions of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ and ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’, as well as a major new adaptation of the children’s classic Stig of the Dump.

This makes for a brilliant day or night out and gives you the chance to experience something new in the beautiful surrounds of the Grosvenor Park! Tickets are available from the Grovesnor Park website.

Tourist attractions

If you’re a current student and by some miracle you haven’t seen the historical elements of Chester city centre, take the opportunity over summer to go explore.

Chester’s history is grounded in the Roman empire, with its historical walls and cathedral gardens, it makes for some stunning stunning photography whilst offering a unique shopping experience on the world famous rows.

The Eastgate Clock is the 2nd most visited clock in the UK, (runner-up to Big Ben of course). At night, the clock is lit up beautifully.

Many selfie-sticked tourists hover around this spot, so if you have time, make sure you walk along the walls and see the spectacular views of Eastgate Street.

There are also guided walks and bus tours around the city, so when the sun is shining make sure you get involved and see all that Chester has to offer.

If you are staying in Chester over the summer and are a fully managed tenant with us, check out our website see what discounted offers are available to you. A little something from us to make your summer extra special, and say thanks for being an awesome tenant.




Things they don’t tell you about uni

University is often described as the best years of your life, but what is sometimes neglected are the negatives that go along with it.  If you are a fresher, here is an honest guide, exposing some of the truths about university and what you can come to expect when you arrive this September.

Sex, drugs and toilet roll

University is a social hub. Whether it’s your course friends or your housemates who make up your social circle, these people will act as your family over the next three years.

Fresher’s week gives you the opportunity to make these friends as well as racking up a large drinking bill if you’re not careful. It is every new student’s dream – you can go out on the pull,  or down shots with your mates. Anything goes as no one’s there to stop you.

However one thing that is conveniently avoided is the sickness that comes with all the Fresher’s week (extremely fun but sometimes wreckless) behaviour. And we don’t just mean the hangover. Freshers’ flu is a real epidemic, not just a lousy excuse made up by alcohol induced bed-bound students. It can range from a mild to severe flu, and can last a few weeks.

To help combat this, stock up on flu capsules and start taking vitamin c to help boost your immune system. Despite all the drinking and cavorting that occurs, simply being away from home means that fresher’s week can take a lot of out of you both physically and mentally, so make sure to take precautions when you can.

It’s probably a good idea to get the tissues and Lemsips ready because once caught, the only partying you’ll be doing is from your bed whilst watching Netflix.


Joining a society, especially a sports society, seems a good idea at the time. However this idea of ‘pledging’ or ‘initiation’ doesn’t just belong to American frat houses, it’s a real phenomenon taking place in universities across the UK and is a secret condition for some sports societies. So bear this in mind before you sign up.

Once you become a member of certain sports or societies, you may be obligated to join the weekly socials on a Wednesday, participating in different themes and drinking rituals. This all sounds great until you realise you have a Thursday morning lecture at 9am.

Joining a society or sport’s club is a great way of making friends whilst participating in something you really (or want to learn to) enjoy. However, every sport and society has a duty of care to ensure that you are safe, and if the activity is risky, prices for joining may be higher to cover insurance costs. Make sure to enquire about these prices before signing up.

There is a sport and society fair at the beginning of the year (usually the first week of October) where you can see the variety of clubs on offer and sign up. However if you want to get ahead of the game, you can check out the sports and societies section on the CSU (Chester students’ union) site to see what’s on offer.

Easy as pie

The general consensus about first year is that it’s a walk in a park;  it’s just partying and snoozing through lectures that don’t matter. Even though your grades in first year don’t necessarily count towards your final degree, the year should be treated as a practice year and taken seriously.

Remember you still need to pass the first year in order to join second year, so skipping lectures and failing modules isn’t the way to go. Equally, the things that you learn in your first year may be referenced when you move into second and third year!

There is a significant jump in terms of difficulty between A-Levels and a degree, contrary to what most people think. At degree level your writing and referencing styles need to change in order for you to receive a high mark during assignments.

One suggestion would be to make sure you read the APA referencing booklet – you could even conduct a quick Google search before you arrive to get yourself prepared. Obviously if you already know that your course uses a different style, research that. The quicker you learn how to reference the better, as not knowing will cost you in the second year.


It’s not always fun and games

Although university is renowned for being fun and exciting,  there will be moments when you feel low and uni may actually not be as fun as it once was . Whether it’s assignment deadline stress, or home sickness, it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to have those down days – everybody has them.

Taking some time out for going home for a few days, or taking the opportunity for a bit of comfort eating and duvet times, just give yourself a few days to relax. You’ll soon get back to your old self and enjoy uni life again.


It’s not all doom and gloom

University is most importantly what you make it; you get out of  it what you put in! Everything has ups and downs, and we are testament to the fact that university can provide you with a roller coaster of emotions, but it is definitely worth persevering in the end.  To gain an insider perspective of uni life, check out our Work Based Learning students soapbox blog. These guys worked with us during their WBL, so we took the opportunity to interview them on their university experience up to second year.

Equally important is ensuring that you have a let you love – having a grimy place to live is just as bad as having nowhere. Believe us, we’ve lived in houses that would make the Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners squad squirm! You can trust CSL will find you somewhere that you’re proud to call yours. Check out what’s available.




Going to be a Fresher in September?

It’s coming up to the end of A-level exams and you’re probably starting to think about what to do with yourself over the next few months. Whether you have a conditional or unconditional offer, it’s time to start planning for university in September.

We have put together a list of 5 crucial things that you’ll need to comple before the big move. Hopefully, this will  put your mind at ease and get you excited for the next few months!

In the meantime, if you’re still revising for A-levels,why not check out our revision tips. Although they’re aimed at our Chester uni contingent, if you’re soon to join us here in Chester, why not start thinking like a degree-level student now!

Student finance

Student finance is the reason the majority of students can afford to live away from home for 10 months a year. Once you’ve applied to university and are receiving offers, it’s wise to fill in your student finance. Student finance offers you a fixed loan for the year, this is calculated based on your parent or guardian’s income. It takes six weeks for this application to be processed, so the earlier you fill it in the better, otherwise, you risk a late loan.

The deadline to complete this application is the 27th May 2016, for more information check out the website.



Once you have firmed up your university choice, it’s time to apply for your student accommodation. There are usually deadline dates for these so check when you have to complete your forms. The earlier you apply the better, as most universities work on a first come first served basis.

When applying for accommodation through the uni, you are required to list your halls of residence preferences. The University of Chester asks you to rank your accommodation in order of 5, 1 being your ideal preference working backward until your least preferred accommodation. One thing that the university takes into account is how far you’ll have traveled i.e. the further away your family lives, the higher the university’s priority to find you a home.

If you decide that halls aren’t for you (perhaps you’re a mature student, or simply want to leap straight into your independent university experience), or you haven’t been allocated halls of residence on campus, you have the option to get a house in the private sector. These tend to be slightly cheaper than on-campus accommodation and some are just as close to campus as actual ‘on-campus’ accommodation. For more information on this check out our living with us page which talks about how private sector letting works.


Start packing

Whether you love it or hate it, packing for university is a necessity – unless you fancy just buying everything when you get here! Though that may be an expensive way around things. Often people rely on hand-me-downs from older siblings or family members. When you’re accumulating, this is your where you get to buy rainbow knives and forks for your communal kitchen, or pick your favourite posters to decorate your room, whether it be a Game of Thrones or a selection from your secret Bieber collection… we won’t judge.

There are plenty of articles out there offering checklists on what to take, a popular one is by The Student Room: what to take to university checklist. Remember though every university is different so you will have to check what you are allowed to bring, for example, TVs and mini fridges are not allowed in certain halls of residences.


Once you have decided on your university, you have to enrol online, this confirms your module selection so the university and your lecturers know to expect you at the start of the academic year.

Usually, when you’ve accepted your offer (or confirmed it), you will receive a welcome pack before through the post, normally filled with goodies and discounts, along with all the information you will need. It will be in here where you will be given your details to login and enrol before you arrive on campus.

Get excited!!

Going away to university and leaving your friends and family can be a daunting experience for the bravest of souls. Starting somewhere new is not easy, but one thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat, and will be feeling very similar emotions to you.

But what is prevalent in almost all new students is the excitement about going to university; it’s the start of a new chapter of your life, and may well set the tone for the rest of your life.

Embrace your excitement and get involved with the various social media platforms – you might even meet your fellow house mates prior to turning up! Joining your course group or your accommodation  page on Facebook will assist with making connections with people beforehand so it will be less scary when it comes to the first day. You can find our social media pages here:


You may be able to find your housemates on there!

Also check the Chester Students’ Union page.  They normally offer a countdown to freshers’ week and will provide you with important dates and times about events taking place when you arrive.

So until we meet you all in September, we hope you enjoy your final pre-uni summer. Keep an eye out in your university enrolment pack for a little gift from us!

If you are looking for somewhere to live when you arrive, don’t forget to check out our properties.




Parkgate Road – get your study on!

Exam season is now upon us so it’s essential that you make the most of your revision. If you are someone who struggles with revising at home, then check out this list of four revision spots on the main Parkgate Road campus. Even if you study at Queen’s Park, Riverside, Kingsway or even Thornton, they’re all only a short walk (or drive from Thornton) to Parkgate Road, so why not make the trip? Sometimes a change of scenery is just what you need to make the most of your revision session.


Seabourne library has been recently renovated and lucky for you guys, the study space has been increased. The library offers multiple facilities for study, with individual study rooms available to book, along with a 24-hour computer space and even two designated quiet areas, one in the upper part of the library and the other on the lower level (next to the cafe).

As well as this there are rows of seating through each level of the library with tables and plug sockets for charging throughout.

Computers become occupied quickly so unless you’re bringing your own, then try to get there early if you require computer access for revision. Think of it like you’re on holiday and you have to get up early to place your towel on the perfect sunlounger!

The front of the library doesn’t open until 12, so if you’re wanting to get an early start you will have to use the ‘out of hours’entrance, located across from the Grovesnor building (adjacent to the laundry room).

You’ll need to swipe your uni issued student card over the scanner to gain access, so don’t forget it! Your student card also works as your library account, so you will need it when checking out books and also to print.



There are plenty of cafes around main campus, perfect for a morning pick me up, but they also make a great revision spot. There are four cafes in total including the Starbucks in the CSU.

Binks building contains the biggest Starbucks on campus with an adjoining cafe for hot and cold food. It has an array of seating inside with two  extra rectangle tables when you enter the building.

The Westminster building has a cafe on the bottom floor, this cafe is ideal if you are on the opposite side of campus (near the sports hall).  There is even a quiet study area in the lower part of the Critchley building, which is located next to the Westminster building.

The CSU and the library both have small cafes. The library has a Costa on the bottom level, which has seats inside and around the outside of the shop. Whilst the CSU has a mini Starbucks next to its shop.

All cafes offer student discounted prices so remember to bring your student card, what better way to sit and revise than with a large coffee? It certainly helps us keep awake!

With a choice of four cafes on the main campus , you’ll have plenty of caffeine to help you through this exam season.



The main uni campus in Chester is blessed with loads of greenery which means plenty of places to sit and revise in the sun (when it decides to come out!). There’s guaranteed to be a patch of grass surrounding each hall of residence, with Grovesnor having the most outdoor space directly next to the astroturf and playing fields.

As well as accommodation, the CSU has lots of outdoor space, perfect if you like revising outside. There are benches and tables on the grass with sofas available inside if you prefer to have a relaxed revision session with friends.


CSU Shop

The CSU shop is often overlooked but it actually makes for a great quiet study area. There are two separate rooms on either side of the entrance, each with sofas and tables, this is great for group study or an alternative to when the library is busy.


If you need further help with your exams and revision take a look at out our revision tips blog, where we suggest 14 suggestions tailored to help you revise and improve your study skills.

Good luck in all your exams from all of us here at Chester Student Lets – here to help you find a let you love!


Make the most of your revision week

It’s revision week 16th – 20th May 2016. It’s easy to get excited about having no lectures, and heading to the Bouverie to enjoy the sunshine in the beer garden.

However, save that for the post-exam celebration, and use our infographic below to make your revision week as effective as it can be. Check out our other blog post with even more details about how to make the most of your revision.


Check out what we have left to find a let you’ll love to study in.