What you need to know about living at Xenia (An Imperial student hall ran by Chapter 1 Charity)
As many of you are prospective students for Imperial, I want to share some first-hand experience of living at Xenia, one of the many options for the first year student halls at Imperial. Xenia (which stands for hospitality in Greek), is a student accommodation site owned and ran by Chapter 1 Charity. Located in the heart of London, it provides easy access to numerous attractions. This guide will prove to be very useful to you (especially International Students) as it gathers many valuable opinions from the current residents and can provide you with comprehensive information with both unbiased facts and some personal touch. So all rights are reserved.
Xenia facility condition and overall view
1. The condition is pretty decent as it has been renovated few years ago and the facilities are quite comprehensive as you can find out more from the website. This is something you don’t need to worry about.
2. There are many great restaurants around Xenia, such as the restaurant cluster around the National Theatre, the restaurant street at the opposite of the Underground station main entrance, and the amazing Lower Marsh area which has many decent food, café, bookstore, and so on!
3. Like most halls, sometimes the little furry friends will pay us a visit as well. The pest control contractor responds quite fast if you email this situation on time.
4. If you want somewhere with a cheap rent and good quality, then you should choose Xenia and Woodward. (Of course, you will sacrifice some sleeping time in exchange for the cheap price and good quality.)
5. If you want to get up just before the lectures (for more sleep), then you should choose Beit, Southside, and Eastside.
6. If you want a hall with marvelous hall events, then you should choose Beit and Wilson House.
7. If you want somewhere relatively close to school with a cheap rent (not necessarily good facility condition), then you should choose Evelyn Garden.
8. Henry’s experience: The rent of living at Xenia makes it very good player in the hall competition along with all the supermarkets and food places. You can’t find any other halls with such a great living area surrounding the hall. However, it is such a nuisance that I had to take the tube every morning at 8am for commute, which is not a very pleasant experience. Well, you can’t have everything, make your choice 😀
Transportation and Commute
Public Transportation: it would be much sensible to purchase a monthly/weekly travel card with 18+ student oyster card for daily commute. The 18+ student oyster card would offer a 30% off the adult rate for the travel card. Please register it soon as it could take several working days to be delivered.
1. 2-mins-walking: Train service from the Waterloo Underground Station (Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo, and Waterloo & City lines). Note that the exit for Jubilee line is at the Underground station while the exit for Northern and Bakerloo lines is at the Train station.)
a. Jubilee (Waterloo->Westminster)->District& Circle (Westminster->South Kensington) This is the top choice of commute routes.
b. Jubilee (Waterloo->Green Park)->Piccadilly (Green Park->South Kensington)
c. Both take 15-25 minutes in the tube. Then you walk for 5 minutes in the subway from the South Kensington Station to the campus.
d. For medics, you get off at Baron’s court station from either District or Piccadilly line/ alight here for the Charing Cross campus (after crossing through a cemetery). District (South Kensington->Baron’s Court) or Piccadilly (Green Park->Baron’s Court)
e. Please avoid arriving the station during 8:15-8:30 period as you would almost certainly find yourself in an endless queue. If Waterloo is closed off or if you have waited in the queue for more than 5 mins, please swiftly abandon Waterloo and make your way to Embankment station across the Thames (about 5-min-walking). Then take District line (Embankment->South Kensington).
2. 2-mins-walking: Train service to major UK destinations from the Waterloo Train Station.
3. 3-mins-walking: Bus service from around 15 routes at the Waterloo Station area.
On your feet+bike
1. For cycling, it takes 30-35 minutes (dry) and 35-40 minutes (wet) to the South Kensington campus where the majority of students have their lectures/experiments/etc. (i.e. Medics sometimes have school at the Charing Cross campus.
2. Fancy walking to school every day? If you have that stamina, it would take you at least 50 minutes, which is why this is not the common choice of students at Xenia.
Supermarkets and Pharmacy
1. Common drugs (i.e. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, strepsil, etc. are available at all the shops below. Boots pharmacy sells doctor-prescribed drugs.)
2. For international students, I’ll briefly walk you through these British supermarkets. A price ranking (quality drops as price decreases): M&S>Sainsbury’s and Tesco>Iceland and Poundland and Morrison
3. 2-mins-walking: Sainsbury’s local, Tesco express, (Both face the Waterloo Underground main entrance), and M&S food (On the second floor of the Waterloo Train station).
4. 5-mins-walking: Iceland and Boots (Both are at Lower Marsh)
5. 15-mins-walking: Iceland, Tesco Metro, Poundland, and Boots (All are inside the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre). 15-mins-bus: Morrison.
6. 20-mins-walking: the Borough Market. This is the place where fancy organic food is sold.
7. Chinese groceries and restaurants: It takes to about 25 minutes to Chinatown中国城. Period.
Entertainment and tourist attraction
1. Night clubs: Ministry of Sound, Coronet, and Heaven. (20-30 min walking/drunk-walking) The location of Xenia makes it really ideal for clubbing as you save money from ubering yourself home but walking. But I feel obliged to note that the security in Elephant& Castle area is not ideal (Comparing South Kensington with Elephant & Castle). I advise girls (and boys) not to walk alone especially in this area at midnight.
2. Plays: National theatre (2-min-walking) and Covent Garden area (15-min-walking). Good shows and good locations.
3. Movies: BFI IMAX/ The largest IMAX screen in Britain. (2-min-walking and pricy tickets) The size of the screen will shock you, as well as the ticket price.
4. Some famous landmarks, like London eye, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, National Gallery, Trafalgar square, Imperial War Museum and etc. are within 10-30 min walking distance. These are all really fancy for some new Londoners, but for people who’ve been here for a while, not as fun as before.
Thank you guys for following me. I’ll continue making more great posts. At last, I’m happy to answer any other questions about undergraduate accommodation in the comment box, especially about Xenia.