Rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021.

If you don't live in Guildford or the surrounding areas, but want to study at Merrist Wood College or Guildford College we can help you to arrange accommodation.

Halls of residence

Where you live is a really important part of your life as a student and a good home will help you settle into student life quickly and succeed on your course.

Guildford is an excellent place to live and study and with just over 100 residents on our picturesque country campus, Merrist Wood provides a supportive community for students living away from home for the first time. All students studying a course at Level 2 or above, including degree-level programmes are welcome to apply for a place. Some places are reserved for students under the age of 18 who must go home at weekends.

At the last Ofsted inspection the Merrist Wood residential provision was rated as ‘outstanding’. The report stated "The college provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good. The actions of the college contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for young people."

For further details or to make an application, please call the Accommodation Office on Tel: 01483 884093 or 884059 or email: halls@activatelearning.ac.uk


The Halls of Residence, Woodlands, Cobbett, and Merrist Wood House Annexe at Merrist Wood, provide secure accommodation for students and is staffed 24 hours a day by the Accommodation Team.

All rooms are furnished with a single bed and mattress, desk, desk chair, wash basin, bedside cabinet, notice board and wardrobe. Wi-Fi is available in all areas within the Hall of Residence. The communal area includes shared showers, toilet and sitting room facilities. Each sitting room is equipped with a kettle, toaster, panini maker, fridge, microwave and television.

Life at Merrist Wood

Merrist Wood is a quiet, peaceful and beautiful space to study and live. Situated just four miles from Guildford town centre, there is plenty to do!

The Halls of Residence are only three miles from Guildford College and the bus service from the main road will take you to Stockton Road which is a short walk to the college. There is a gym onsite and you can join via their website.

There is a fantastic community feel with regular on-site social events organised by the wardens. Woody's is the main social area on campus and is open Monday to Friday for all students until 5pm. After 5pm is for residents only. Woody's Den and hall are open to residents Sunday to Thursday evenings from 6pm until 10:30pm and a pool table and table tennis are available for students to use.


Your accommodation fees include meal provision, all bills (gas, electric, water), Wi-Fi internet connection and 24-hour support and security.  

Five-night term time only accommodation for students under the age of 18 
Fee: £5,103.00 (for the year)
Five nights term time only. Accommodation from 6pm Sunday to 8pm Friday and includes 10 meals (breakfast and evening meal Monday–Friday).

Five-night term time only accommodation for students over the age of 18
Fee: £5,103.00 (for the year)
Five nights term time only. Accommodation from 6pm Sunday to 8pm Friday and includes 10 meals (breakfast and evening meal Monday–Friday).

Seven-night accommodation for students over the age of 18
Fee:  £6,489.00 (for the year)
Seven-nights term time and half term. Accommodation includes 10 meals (breakfast and evening meal Monday–Friday).

Seven-night accommodation for students in Higher Education (for a 30-week course)
Fees: £5,366.00* (for the year)
Seven-nights term time and half term. Accommodation includes 10 meals (breakfast and evening meal Monday–Friday). * Prices may vary depending on length of the course

Charges are for academic year 2023/24 (fees are subject to change). Please note that the Halls of Residence are closed during the Christmas, Easter and Summer vacations and you will need to make alternative arrangements if you need to stay in the area. 

Accommodation is available for short courses. Prices are available on request.

A Residential Bursary may be available to students aged 16–18 on a specialist land-based Further Education course. Families must be on a gross income of less than £32,000 and in receipt of Working Tax Credit. Please note that there will still be money to pay. A bursary is not guaranteed.

For further details see our designated page on fees, funding and bursaries.

There is a £150 halls deposit which is returnable at the end of the year provided there is no damage to your room or block and you have not lost any keys or fobs. 

  1. Pay fully in advance, at least seven days before moving in
  2. Full-year students: pay a deposit and the balance in six instalments from October to March
  3. Nine-week tree surgery students/short stay students must pay in full at least seven days before moving in.

Recharge catering provides all food services at the college and residential meals are served in Woody's Restaurant. Breakfast and evening meals Monday to Friday are included in the accommodation charge. Mid-day meals, snacks and drinks are available for purchase at the College and there are microwaves, kettles, toasters, panini makers and fridges located in each sitting room. The restaurant and cafes are closed at weekends and half-term. There is always a choice of meals and dietary requirements are catered for. No credit can be given for meals not taken.

Application process

If you're ready to apply, please make sure you have checked what accommodation package best suits your needs.

Call the Accommodation Office on 01483 884093 / 01483 884059 or email halls@activatelearning.ac.uk to make an application.

You will then be invited to the accommodation interview. This includes a tour of the accommodation and facilities on campus and gives you the opportunity to meet some of the Accommodation Team. For those under the age of 18, parents/guardians must also attend the interview.

After a successful interview, an offer will be made. Students who are offered a place must pay a non-refundable booking fee of £60 to secure their place.

Nearer the start of term, you will receive a letter with a moving in date and time. On arrival, policies and procedures will be explained and you will be given your keys and shown to your room. After dinner there will be a welcome meeting, tour of the campus and some fun activities to help you get settled in.

What is the deadline for applications?

We will accept applications right up until moving in day, however it is best to apply early to ensure a space. A last-minute booking may cause a delay in being able to move into Halls.

When will I hear if my application has been successful or not?

An offer will usually be made at the end of a successful interview.

Can I bring my pet(s)?

No, the keeping of animals in the residences by students is not allowed at any time. Permission must be sought for Assistance dogs. Contact the Accommodation Manager for more information.

Can I view the accommodation?

You can view the accommodation during one of our Open Events and when attending an accommodation interview. 

What do I need to bring?

You must bring your own duvet, pillows, bed linen, towels and toiletries. You must also bring your own crockery and cutlery if you wish to prepare drinks or snacks in your bedroom or sitting room. A notice board will be provided in your room for any material you wish to display. Please bring any additional items to help you feel at home.

Can I swap my room with another student?

You will be allocated a specific room when you move in however, if you wish to request a move to another room, please contact the Accommodation Office. We will do our best to accommodate your request, but this may not always be possible and will only be agreed if it is believed to be in your best interests.

Is there a laundry service?

Self-service launderette facilities are located next to the Accommodation Office. It is open from 8:30am till 10:30pm. 

Are the rooms cleaned?

Yes, your bedroom will be cleaned once a week and you are required to vacate your room whilst it is cleaned. All communal areas will be cleaned each weekday and your waste paper bin also. 

What is the smoking policy?

Smoking is only permitted in the designated smoking areas. Smoking is not permitted in any building, Hall of Residence or entrances and this includes electronic cigarettes and vapes.

Are there TV's?

There are TVs in the sitting rooms located in each block. If you wish to bring and watch a live television in your room, either through a TV, laptop or tablet, you will need to have a Television Licence in your own name. Your parent's home licence will not cover your television.

Will I be able to store my bike?

Yes, bike sheds are provided for storage, but you are advised to use a safety chain and lock. Bicycle insurance is also recommended. Bikes must not be taken into the Halls of Residence.

Can I bring my car?

Students who have their own car must have a full driving licence before bringing a car on campus. Cars will need to be registered with the accommodation office. The college may ask for proof of valid car insurance.

Where will my post go?

All incoming mail is kept at the Accommodation Office and must be collected in person during office hours. A post box is situated outside Merrist Wood House Annexe for outgoing post. Collections are made Monday–Saturday.

Are guests allowed?

Students under the age of 18 are not allowed guests other than other residents of the same age and gender. Students over 18 may have one or two visitors between 8am and 11pm, visitors must be over 18 years of age, unless they are an under 18 residential student. Students over 18 may apply for a guest pass in advance from the Accommodation Office for a Friday or Saturday night only. All visitors must produce ID if requested by a member of staff.

What will happen on moving in day?

Students will receive a letter with a moving in date and time, please ensure you arrive on time and go to Woody's (directions will be enclosed in the letter and signage is available en route). On arrival, paperwork will be checked and signing in and out procedure explained. Once complete, you will be given your keys and a warden will show you to your room. Dinner will be served at Woody's restaurant and after this there will be a welcome meeting to introduce the wardens, explain some basic rules and a tour of the campus. This will be followed by some fun activities to help you get settled in. It is recommended that all students stay for this.

Can I arrive before moving in day?

No, it is not usually possible for you to arrive early.

What help and support are available on campus?

The Halls of Residence team is on hand to support you during your stay in halls:  

Accommodation Manager, Accommodation Officer, Residential Wardens.

The Accommodation Office: is open weekdays from 8:30am–5pm and is situated at the rear of the Merrist Wood House next to the laundry room. Staff will be available to answer all your queries regarding your stay in the Halls of Residence.

Wardens: The residential wardens all live on campus. There is a Duty Warden available from 5pm-8:30am Monday to Friday and during weekends and Bank Holidays, they are your main point of contact outside of office hours. The warden can be contacted by phone at any time, the number is 07929 021674. There is a free phone situated next to the Accommodation Office which you can use. They are there to help you; their responsibilities include welfare, security, health and safety, the discipline of all resident students and organising evening activities. The wardens work on a rota system details of which are posted at key points around the campus.

In addition to the Accommodation Team there is also the Safeguarding Team and onsite counsellors. The Student Support Team is also available during the college day. Contact numbers and details are displayed on notice boards throughout the halls.

What transport links are close by?

Bus, the kite bus operates a service from Fairlands Avenue (opposite the entrance of the College) into Guildford town centre every 15 minutes at peak times. For further details please contact Stagecoach direct on 0871 200 22 33 or text 82468 from the bus stops displaying a text code, or online at www.traveline.info 

Where are the closest medical facilities?

The nearest NHS dentist is Fairlands (01483 233823).

We don't usually recommend students changing their GP unless they are staying 7 nights a week and live a long way from home. However, if you wish to register as a temporary resident with a local doctor's surgery, you can find details on notice boards or from the Accommodation Office. The nearest doctor's surgery is Fairlands Practice (01483 594250). A letter as proof of address will be required to register, which can be requested from the Accommodation Office.

You can also contact a first aider via the warden phone. 

The full Code of Conduct is available on the Activate Learning website.

Under 18 Students

  • Students under the age of 18 must go home by 8pm on Friday evenings and may not return until after 6pm on Sunday.
  • Under 18 students are housed in their own blocks and are separated by gender.
  • No visitors are permitted in the under 18 blocks with the exception of parents/guardians/family members.
  • Students under the age of 18 must adhere to the signing in and out procedure.
  • Under 18 students must be back in their Hall by 11pm.

Over 18 Students

  • Students on the five-night option must go home by 8pm on Friday and may not return until after 6pm on Sunday.
  • Overnight guests are only permitted occasionally on a Friday or Saturday night for students on the seven-night option, and a guest pass must be obtained in advance. Guests must be over 18 and carry ID, to be produced on request by staff.

All students

  • Smoking is only allowed in the smoking areas.
  • No alcohol is permitted anywhere on site.
  • Students should wear their ID cards at all times.
  • The full Student Code of Conduct is contained in the Resident Student Handbook.

Putting the welfare and experiences of students at the heart of its organisation has secured Merrist Wood College an outstanding grade at the last four Ofsted inspections: 2012, 2015, 2018, 2021,

Quote from Ofsted Report 2021: 

"The college provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good. The actions of the college contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for young people.

Residential students enjoy living in a safe, supportive community where variety, difference and individuality are celebrated and enjoyed. The students thrive and enjoy their success. The community is lively and has a strong feeling of mutual support and respect."