This snapshot, taken on
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.


What’s the accommodation really like?

Accommodation during training

For the first few weeks during basic training, you’ll share accommodation with other new recruits so you can get to know them. There can be about a dozen people in a room, so it’s a great opportunity to build friendships. As well as providing your accommodation and food, the RAF will launder your bedding, but you’ll be expected to wash your own clothes (there’s a launderette on base), look after your kit and equipment, and keep your sleeping area clean and tidy.

Do I have to live on an air base?

You live on base for your initial training so you can get to know people. It’s also a chance to find out what life in the RAF is really like.

After that, it’s your choice.

Justin Woolley
Weapon Systems Operator (Crewman)

‘Even though I now live off base, I still attend Squadron functions, Mess balls and dining-in nights.’

Living in the ‘Mess’

You might choose to live on base in the ‘Mess’. This is a bit like being in halls of residence at university. You usually get subsidised accommodation and food, great leisure and sports facilities, and a real sense of community. Living on base also makes budgeting simple, as your rent and food costs will be deducted from your pay at source.

You might prefer to commute from home, or rent nearby.

Mal Graham
Aerospace Battle Manager

‘I live on base in the Officers’ Mess. To be honest, it’s a cheap way of living. Subsidised meals are provided and the food’s first class.’

Accommodation on base for married couples and people in civil partnerships

To qualify for Service Families’ Accommodation, you need to be married or in a civil partnership and expect to remain on the same base for a minimum of six months. The property will have up to four bedrooms, based on the size of your family. To give you an idea of how much rent you’ll pay, a furnished, two-bedroom property for an officer is between £114 and £453, and between £75 and £242 for other ranks – rates are based on a 30-day month. How much you pay depends on the standard of accommodation provided.

I'm gay – can I live in Service Families’ Accommodation with my partner?

You can if you’ve been through a civil ceremony (civil partnership) first – just as heterosexual couples must be married to qualify. As a gay couple, you would be treated in the same way as everyone else.

What about the food?

If you live on base, either in a barrack block or a Mess, you can expect good quality food which will cost you around £28 per week (which includes three meals a day). There’s a whole range of food on offer and lots of choice available.

We try to cater for all dietary requirements, including religious and vegetarian preferences. We also apply similar standards and variety to our ration packs.

Can I have visitors if I live on base?

Yes. Your family and friends can visit you, whether you live on base or in families’ accommodation.

Follow us on social media
Explore the team
RAF Afghan diaries
Text size:

Follow us