Students laughing in the dining hall

Dining Hall

The college dining hall is located in one of the three original buildings of St Peter's, known as Hannington Hall, which today occupies a site once home to New Inn Hall, one of the earliest medieval halls of the University of Oxford.

During Michaelmas term 2018, the Dining Hall underwent a major refurbishment, with the installation of acoustic panelling and improved lighting in the ceiling and above the portraits. Information about meal times and the new pre-pay system can be found in the sections below.

Student meals begin at dinner on Sunday of Week 0 and end after breakfast on Saturday of Week 8 each term. They are normally served in the Dining Hall at the times indicated below.

Continental breakfast - Monday to Friday 8am - 9am

Lunch - Tuesday and Thursday 12noon - 2pm

Informal Dinner - Monday, Wednesday and Friday 6pm - 7.30pm; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 5.30pm - 6.30pm, Sunday 6pm - 7.30pm

Brunch - Saturday and Sunday 11am - 1pm

In 2021-22 (and future years) undergraduate Freshers will be charged a pre-pay sum of £316 for Michaelmas term (the Autumn term) and £288 for each subsequent term of their first year. This pre-payment will be credited to their individual uPay account at the start of each term. The credited sum can then be spent down gradually in the Dining Hall across the course of the term on breakfasts, lunches and dinners. It can be spent on Informal and/or on Formal Halls and, if a student chooses, it can also be used to pay for guests they might like to bring into Hall with them. The slightly higher sum for Michaelmas term additionally covers a number of introductory meals laid on during Freshers’ Week. Student choice means that meals will cost different amounts but to give an approximate indication of what this cost represents: if a student spends c.£4 on a lunch or dinner, the pre-pay charge would represent 8 meals per week across the term. 

Students can spend down on the pre-pay credit at any rate that suits them, eating in Hall more in some weeks than others if that works best with their own programme, and spending more or spending less on individual meals in line with preferences. The pre-pay charge represents a minimum spend; students can eat in more than this across the course of the term if they wish. At or before the point at which their pre-paid credit expires, students will need to top up their uPay credit and then they will then simply continue be charged for meals in Hall on a pay-as-you-go basis. At the end of each term, any unspent sums from the original pre-payment amount (not any top-up amounts) will be removed from uPay balances. Students are therefore encouraged to use up their pre-pay credit during each term. 

From 2022-23, a minimum termly spend will also apply to Y2+ undergraduate students. The level of pre-pay will vary according to where undergraduate students are living.  Those living on the main College site will be subject to a prepay charge of £288 per term; those living in College annexes, to a prepay charge of £108 per term; those living out of College, to a prepay charge of £36 per term. For graduate students, only those living in College annexes will be subject to a pre-pay charge, of £108 per term. 

College Catering can make provision for many different dietary requirements. However, an exemption from the pre-pay scheme can be given for those whose dietary requirements cannot be met by College Catering. 

What will change with the introduction of a hall pre-pay plan?

Hall currently operates on a Pay As You Go basis. From Michaelmas term 2021 (MT21), in line with other colleges where such a scheme is already in operation, College will introduce a minimum spend (the “pre-pay” amount) per term.

Why introduce a change?

In summary, a change was needed to encourage students to come to Hall because students had fallen out of the habit of using it.

Who will be included in the new system?

Incoming undergraduate Freshers from MT21. From MT22 onwards, all undergraduates will be included, as well as graduate students living in college accommodation.

What will freshers pay?

From MT21 undergraduate Freshers will pay £288 each term. The prepay sums will remain the same in academic year 2022/23 and will be reviewed annually thereafter. There will be an additional charge of £28 through battels for some Freshers' Week meals.

What will 2nd Year undergraduates living out pay?

In academic year 2021-22, 2nd years living out will not participate in the pre-pay plan. From MT22 onwards, 2nd year undergraduates living out will pay £36 per term for their pre-pay plan.

What will 3rd Years, 4th Years and graduate students living in the annexes pay?

In academic year 2021-22, 3rd years, 4th years and graduates in the annexes will not participate in the pre-pay plan. From MT22 onwards, they will pay £108 per term for their Hall pre-pay plan.

How will it work?

At the start of each term, each student will be charged the relevant pre-pay amount on battels and their Upay account will be credited with an electronic token to that value.

As the student attends Hall across the course of the term, in whatever patterns of attendance suit them, the relevant sum for the nature of the meal taken will be deducted from their prepayment plan each time.

When each student has used up their prepay credit for the term, they then revert to the pay-as-you-go model, as they continue eating in Hall. Pay-as-you-go meals will be charged at exactly the same rate as meals on the pre-payment plan.

What happens at the end of term?

To encourage all to use the Hall during term, all remaining balances on the token in the Upay app will expire at the start of 0th week of the following term. Your battels will be debited, and a new token issued, in time for the new term.

When and how can I top up my Upay credit?

Once your Upay account is activated, you attach a payment (credit/debit) card to it that is used to add credit. You can top up Upay as frequently as you wish via a web browser or the mobile Upay app.

Will credit over and above the token ever be extinguished?

Never. Unused credit will always be returned to you. Only unused value on the pre-pay token will be extinguished.

What happens in MT22?

The pre-pay will include all students living on the main site (not just freshers) all undergraduates living out and all students (undergraduates, visiting students and graduates) living in the annexes. Specific pre-pay rates are as given above.

For medical or religious reasons, I cannot eat any of the food produced in Hall. What should I do?

Please let us know of your specific dietary needs. If we can meet them, we will. If not, you can request a dispensation from the pre-pay scheme from the Domestic Bursar.

How will the pre-pay affect graduate students?

All graduate students (e.g., PGR, PGT and GEM) not living in SPC accommodation are exempt.

Can I use my pre-pay sums to pay for Formal Hall?

Yes. The token can be used on any event set up on Upay that requires payment, including formal halls and/or special dinners.

Can I use my pre-pay sums to pay for a guest to come in for lunch or dinner with me?

Yes. The token can be used for guests and/ or for yourself at any college meal at which guests are allowed.

Can I use my pre-pay sums to pay for breakfast?


How will I know the balance left on my pre-pay token?

The token balance can be seen on the Upay app and on your Upay account and is shown separately from any top up balance.

If I top up on my card will the token balance be used before the cash top up?

The token will always be used first before any cash or voucher balances.

If I have insufficient left on token to pay for the entire meal can I use a combination of token and cash top up?


What happens if I have to leave Oxford part way through the term? Am I still charged the full pre-pay sum for that term?

Adjustments will be made for those who leave or are absent from College for long periods, as a result of, for example, medical, disciplinary, or welfare reasons.