Downing College, Cambridge

Downing College, dating from the early 1800s, has a unique setting amidst 20 acres of grounds in central Cambridge, minutes from museums, shops and River Cam.

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West Range


  • 19th century buildings
  • Breakfast included
  • Free car parking (on site)
  • No smoking
  • Minimum age 16
  • Historic Property


  • Free broadband access (wired)
  • Free broadband access (wifi)
  • Shared gardens
  • Tennis court
  • Gym
  • Television
  • 24 hour security
  • Linen included
  • Towels included
  • Iron/ironing board
  • Hair dryers
  • Central heating

Nearby recreations

  • Pub (walking distance)
  • Museums (walking distance)
  • Gardens
  • Golf course (a short drive)
  • Tennis courts (walking distance)
  • Recommended restaurants (walking distance)
  • Theatre (walking distance)

Downing College, dating from the early 1800s, has a unique setting amidst 20 acres of lawns and trees. While the college environment itself is quiet and peaceful, the museums, shops and River Cam in the very heart of Cambridge is only a few minutes walk away. Downing College is an ideal location for visitors on a leisure break or in Cambridge on business. 

Our spacious bedrooms are fully equipped for the modern day traveller, with facilities such as a flat screen television, a spacious desk and free wifi. A telephone, alarm clock, hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities are also provided, and bedrooms are cleaned daily by our College Domestic Assistants.We have free carparking available within the grounds, subject to availability; please request when you are making your booking. 

Please note: We are unable to accept bookings for children of 16 years and under, or for Stag and Hen parties. Guests of 16 - 18 years must be accompanied by an adult (21 or over). 


History to the present day

Downing College has a unique and magnificent setting amid 20 acres of lawns and trees, yet is in the very centre of Cambridge. The buildings, which are predominantly neo-classical in style, convey a sense of elegance and spaciousness, enhanced by harmonious proportions, graceful columned porticos, and delicate pink and yellow stone.

The College was founded in 1800 under the will of Sir George Downing, Baronet (1685-1749), and the Royal Charter was issued on 22 September of that year. Sir George's grandfather gave his name to Downing Street in London and parts of the house which he built still survive in the present number 10. The highly respected Georgian architect, William Wilkins, designed the College around a great quadrangle of 300 feet square.

Did you know?

Cambridge University and Downing College have been the starting place for many well-known actors, artists and politicians, trace the footsteps of some of Downing's famous alumni including John Cleese, Quentin Blake, Trevor Nunn, Thandie Newton and Mike Atherton.

When a door of No 10 Downing Street London was replaced in the 1960's, the original was donated to Downing College and is now the door of the College Office.

Food and Drinks

Full English breakfast is served in the Hall between 8am -9am.

At certain times of the year a breakfast service may not be available so we offer a  'Room only'  rate during these periods. 

The Lord Butterfield Cafe offers snacks and drinks during weekdays 8am-4pm and on Saturdays between 8am - 2pm.  

The College is located on Regent Street where there are many restaurants and bars offering a wide range of cuisine.

Grounds and gardens

Downing is set amidst 20 acres of lawns, trees and gardens for visitors to enjoy during their stay. 

Visitors can enjoy such activities as punting on the River Cam, taking a guided walking tour of the city which is compact and easy to walk around or attending Choral Evensong in King’s College Chapel.

The Cambridge University Botanic Garden is just 20 minutes walk from the College where you can discover plants from all over the World in 40 acres of beautiful gardens and glasshouses.

Other facilities

The Heong Gallery - Downing College opened the new public Art Gallery on 5th February 2016. Architects transformed the original edwardian stables into the new gallery space which is dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Please visit our web-site to find further information about the Heong Gallery and current exhibitions. 

Opening Hours:  Wednesdays: 10am – 8pm
                           Weekends and bank holidays: 10am - 6pm

Take a tour of the Classical Downing Architecture. Pick up one of our Architecture Tour leaflets from the Porters' Lodge to learn all about the buildings on the Domus and the history of the college.

The College has a small but modern gym facility, located behind the Howard Theatre, which may be used by guests. Please speak with the Porter's Lodge for further information and access.  

There are two outdoor tennis courts situated by the Singer Building. These may be used by arrangement with the Porters Lodge. The College does not hire out sports equipment so if you would like to use these facilities, please bring your own equipment.

A wifi code allows you access to the University of Cambridge wireless network and will be offered to you when you check in at the Porters' Lodge.


Arrival information and how to find us

Address: Downing College, Cambridge, CB2 1DQ, United Kingdom

Address: Downing College, Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1DQ

Check In: From 2pm Check Out: By 10am

Guests should check in and out at the Porter’s Lodge, located at the entrance to the College on Regent Street. It is possible for guests arriving before 2pm or departing after 10.00 to leave a small amount of luggage at the Porters' Lodge.

On arrival all Guests are required under the Immigration (Hotel Records) Order 1972 to complete a registration form giving full name and address and nationality. Non UK guests will also be required to provide the number and place of issue of their passport, their nationality and their next destination. These records must be kept for at least 12 months and be available for inspection by any police officer. 

How to Find Us:

By Train: Downing College is situated about ¾ of a mile (15 minutes walk) from the station and is served by regular buses and taxis.

By Bus: Cambridge's main bus station, Drummer Street is only a 5 minute walk from the College.

Parking on site is free but is subject to availability, so please ensure you add a parking request to your reservation at the time of the booking in the "Additional information" section of the booking form. If parking isn't available we will contact you to suggest alternative parking facilities.

More photos of Downing College, Cambridge

The Hall The Maitland Robinson Library & N Staircase The Hall Set up for a Formal Dinner The Hall Exterior The Rose Garden Superior Double En Suite Room in Griphon House The Heong Gallery at Downing College Superior Twin En Suite in N Staircase The Master's Lodge The Heong Gallery at Downing College Snowfall on the Domus Il. Col. Anderson Gym Springtime on the Domus Wildlife in the College Gardens Wisteria on the East Range

Customer reviews

We guarantee that all our feedback is genuine and can only be submitted by people who have booked through our websites.

Excellent stay in every respect.
Dr Daniel V

All very good. I would recommend it to anbody
Mr Christopher J

Such a pleasant stay. The room was well designed and thought out, with a very comfortable bed, great bed linen and a fantastic bathroom ! I would stay there again
Mrs Cathy J

I wouldnt hesitate to go back. Great and so convenient for sightseeing.
Ms Julia S

Family and friends stayed for birthday celebrations We live at parkside but want to come and stay too having seen the superb facility
Mr paul R

Well pleased. Very grateful for the parking
Mrs gill M

Great accomodation in centre of Cambridge. Easy parking, lovely room. Porters very helpful. Grounds quiet and peaceful. Lots of pubs and restaurants within minutes.
Mr roger R

Excellent base for a visit to Cambridge: comfort and character.
Mr George L

Great location and experience.
Miss Paula R

Faultless short stay; recommended to all.
Dr Richard H

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