At Somerville, students are guaranteed rooms in college grounds for the entirety of their undergraduate studies!

Somerville is one of the few colleges in Oxford which has enough accommodation in college for all its undergraduates. This is a huge benefit, as living in college tends to be cheaper than renting privately, and it means you can roll out of bed and stroll across the quad to your tutorials, the college library, the dining hall, or The Terrace (our bar).

Students living in college are guaranteed their room for all of term (Thursday of 0th week – Saturday of 8th week) for all of their three or four year courses. Depending on the building, students can have an extended contract or apply for vacation residence (also known as Vac Res). Vacation residence is not a guarantee of the same room, but a room in college. 

The Buildings

Map of Somerville College


first year accommodation

Maybe not the most attractive building in Somerville, but certainly the friendliest.

Vaughan has around 60 student rooms, a gym, a newly renovated JCR (with TV, computers, sofas, dining table, table football, bean bags), meeting rooms, and on the ground floor the Senior Common Room. Each floor has a two (very) small kitchens at either end with a fridge, microwave, kettle, hob/oven and toaster.

The building is named after Dame Janet Vaughan, Principal of Somerville from 1945-67.

A Vaughan bedroom


first year accommodation

With wooden floors, fireplaces (non-functioning), high ceilings, and wooden doors, Penrose is a grand building with around 30 student rooms.

Each floor has a kitchen of a reasonable size, with full cooking and storage facilities.

Built in the 1920s, the building is named after Dame Emily Penrose, Somerville’s third Principal (1906-26).

A Penrose bedroom


some first year and second year accommodation

One of the larger and older buildings in Somerville, Park has a fascinating history stretching back to its use during the wars as an extension of the Radcliffe Hospital next to Somerville.

With over sixty rooms for undergraduates, Park has a large kitchen on the ground floor, music room, Palmer computer room on the second floor, and a range of vending machines for a late-night nibble. Rooms can vary in size, with many looking across the quad.

The building used to be called West, due to its location within college, but was renamed in honour of Daphne Park, Baroness Park of Monmouth, Principal 1980-89.

A Park bedroom


second year accommodation

Built in the 1930s, Darbishire is the work of the same architect of the college library.

Around fifty student rooms are in the building along with a scattering of tutor’s rooms, the college medical room, and college archive. It is connected to Hostel and thus House. It has various toilets/bathrooms/showers and small kitchens throughout.

The building is named after Helen Darbishire, Principal 1930-45.

A Darbishire bedroom

Catherine Hughes Building

second, third and fourth year accommodation

The latest and greatest addition to Somerville, CHB was completed in 2019, and added 68 new en-suite rooms. There are 5 floors, including the basement laundry room, a lift and at least one kitchen on every floor (floors 2 & 3 have two). It also contains a graduate reading room.

The building is named after Catherine Hughes CMG who oversaw the admittance of the first male students and Fellows, Principal (1989-96).


second, third and fourth year accommodation

Another architectural masterpiece of the 1960s (for which it received a Grade II listing), Wolfson rooms look onto the main quad having one of the best views in Oxford – looking all the way to Hall and Maitland across the beautiful Somerville main quad.

Rooms are taken up by fellows and students with small, well equipped kitchens between floors. Rooms have large windows with window seats. On the ground floor, Flora Anderson Hall can be found (FAH), where lectures, bops (college discos/parties), and other events take place.

Wolfson is named after Sir Issac Wolfson who provided the funds for the building (and for Wolfson College).

A Wolfson bedroom

Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) East and West

second, third and fourth year accommodation

These two buildings flank the north edge of the Somerville site and look out onto the Observatory development; the largest building site in the centre of Oxford which will soon house a variety of new University buildings. The buildings can take a total of 68 new students.

All rooms are en-suite and each building has a dedicated laundry room, with nearly every floor having a kitchen. ROQ East, the smaller of the two buildings has three floors (inc. ground floor), with ROQ West having four floors and a lift. There are a number of accessible rooms, with adjoining carer rooms.

The buildings were made possible by donations from over 1000 alumni and friends of the college (donations totalling over £2.7 million to date) and therefore take their names from their locations alone.

Additional Accommodation

Dorothy Hodgkin Quarter (DHQ)

  • One of the newer parts of college.
  • Has sixteen self contained flats which can take two or four students.
  • Lived in by students in their third or fourth years.
  • Named after Nobel Prize-winning Somerville alumna Dorothy Hodgkin.


  • Above the library extension.
  • Has around ten student rooms, and a bathroom and kitchenette on each floor.
  • Attached to Park.
  • Takes its name from Winifred Holtby, a former English Tutor at the college.


  • The original building for what is now Somerville College.
  • A labyrinth of corridors and stairs.
  • Contains student rooms, administration offices, fellows’ rooms and the Principal’s Office.


  • Stands on the site of the old stables.
  • Similar to Holtby, built between House and Darbishire.
  • 10 student rooms across two floors.
  • Ground floor houses bursary.


  • Main entry to college, the porters work here.
  • Lodge house can take students in flat arrangements (availability of these rooms varies).


  • Maitland houses a few student rooms, but is predominantly Fellows’ offices.
  • It has the IT office on the ground floor.
  • The building is named after Agnes Maitland, Principal 1889-1906.

Margery Fry and Elizabeth Nuffield House

(Graduate Accommodation)

  • Commonly known as Margery Fry, the building is the centre of the graduate community, and is a smaller version (with bigger rooms) of the undergraduate building, Vaughan.
  • It has 24 graduate rooms, a TV room, kitchen, dining room, and computer room.
  • The building is named after Margery Fry, Principal 1927-30 and Elizabeth Nuffield, the wife of Lord Nuffield who provided the funds to enable the completion of the building.