Halls of Residence are essentially a place to store your junk with a bed, a desk and a wardrobe kindly provided. Outside of that, Halls are what you make them. Their main function outside of being a roof over your head is as a social space. This is the time you'll be making the friends you'll be moving in with after your first year. The degree to which you take advantage of being thrown together with a bunch of strangers from up and down the country is up to the individual, but the less you do, the less you'll be taking from the whole potential experience of university. Also, on a practical note, you should really make the most of all-inclusive bills - it's a sweet deal. As for private landlord accommodation, it's wise to discuss it with your union before you make any solid decisions. Most landlords are good people and understand that, as students, you're going to be pretty clueless. Some landlords will want to take advantage of that. There are various standards and institutions that help you recognise approved landlords, so keep an eye out. Don't be afraid to haggle - if you feel you're paying a lot, there's nothing to say you can't request a new sofa or tv in exchange for your signatures. In some cities, there is surplus housing to students, so your signature has a lot of power - don't sell it short.