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Covid-19:

We are open for bookings and our properties have safety measures in place. Please see our FAQs for more information.
Cancellations: most properties offer full refunds with 14 days’ notice, with others a £10 admin fee might apply, but please check the property terms when booking.

No availability?

  • Availability is mainly in the vacation periods (Easter, Summer and limited dates in December before Christmas), when students clear their rooms
  • Cambridge rooms typically become available two to three months in advance, so please revisit the website within that period if nothing is available now

Bed and breakfast accommodation in Cambridge University colleges

Not just for students - anyone can book!

  • A unique backstage pass providing the opportunity to stay in a historic Cambridge college during your visit to this heritage-rich city, whilst helping to generate revenue contributing to the upkeep of these iconic buildings.
  • These B&B or self catering rooms are mostly located in central Cambridge
  • Re-trace the footsteps of graduates such as Newton, Darwin, Wordsworth, John Cleese, and Prince Charles; eat in the college hall, wander through the college's gardens or take a punt along the river followed by a drink in the college bar.
  • A great alternative to staying in budget Cambridge hotels, hostels or bed and breakfasts.

Cambridge Visitor information

An introduction to Cambridge

With Cambridge, the word unique takes on a new meaning. Founded as a University in 1209, the city today has preserved much of its outstanding beauty and original character as a quiet place of thought.

Visit Cambridge to wander among its narrow medieval streets or “The Backs”, the outstanding series of college gardens and grounds that lead down to the river. Study architecture of every period and of almost every century, and inspect the University’s many important literary, artistic, and scientific treasures. Some ideas include ghost walks, MP3 guided walks, visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum and of course, no visit to Cambridge is complete without punting down the River Cam!

“Such a balance of garden and building, of shape and form, of peace, quiet and constantly changing scene is only achieved once in the world” (R Tibbs, 1972).

It should be understood that colleges are designed primarily for students: not for children or adults expecting a high level of luxury. However, with this in mind, the colleges do meet level of comfort that we expect most visitors to be happy with, and we will welcome any feedback where this is not the case.

Dates of Cambridge's academic vacations

Rooms are mainly available during the academic vacations.

Easter: mid-March to mid-April
Summer: mid-June to mid-October
Christmas: beginning of December to mid-January

Getting to Cambridge

From London: the best options include train or bus. Trains leave every half an hour from London Kings Cross or London Liverpool St (enquiries: 08457 48 49 50; www.nationalrail.co.uk). The approximate journey time is one hour and the return fare is £15.00 to £17.70 depending on time of travel.  The walk from the station to the centre of Cambridge takes about 20 minutes, or you can take a taxi from the rank at the front of the train station, the approximate cost of which is £5-£6.

Parking: Cambridge is generally not very car friendly, with pedestrianised zones and one-way systems. Some colleges (including Churchill, Downing, Fitzwilliam, Jesus, Lucy Cavendish, Murray Edwards) offer on-site parking facilities, or alternatively there are large car parks in the city, with more information here  We would advise against using the Park and Ride services as they don't allow overnight parking.

If travelling from an airport to Cambridge, the best options are either hiring a car or taking a coach: www.gobycoach.com.

History of Cambridge

Whilst Cambridge possibly existed in Roman times, and grew into a Norman market town (the name of the town mutated from Grentabrige or Cantebrigge (Grantbridge) its University has made it was it is today.

The University was formed in 1209 when a group of Oxford scholars moved to the town to escape the violence prevelent in Oxford at the time. But even in these days the University was having problems of discipline (!). Students belonged to no particular body, were not responsible to any person and came and went in an irregular manner. By 1231 Cambridge students were sufficient in numbers and apparently so unruly that Henry III issued a number of writs for the punishment of the disorderly.

It was the solutions to these disciplinary problems, thought up by Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely from 1257 to 1286 that was to sow the seeds of todays college system. He placed the scholars (now known as the "scholars of the Bishop of Ely") in two houses next to the Church of St Peter on the Trumpington Road. This became known as "The House of St Peter" and thus gradually the college system began to evolve, and Peterhouse, the first Cambridge college, was born.

In 1318 the University was officially baptised with a Papal Bull from Pope John XXII. Other colleges followed soon after: Trinity college (originally called Michaelhouse) was founded in 1324 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time, Hervey de Stanton, and Clare college, originally called University Hall, was next in 1326. Pembroke college was founded in 1347 by the wife of the Earl of Pembroke and the following year, Edward Gonville founded a college of his own which came to be known as Gonville Hall: this was then refounded by Dr John Caius in 1557 to give us Gonville and Caius.

Most colleges were founded by wealthy individuals from the Church, Government or landowners. Corpus Christi, founded in 1352, is unusual in that it is the only college which sprang directly from members of the town. Christopher Marlow, Shakespeare's famous contemporary, was a student at the college and one can still see his rooms in the old court.

King's College founded in the fifteenth century: Henry VI intended it to form part of a double foundation with Eton and in doing this there is some evidence that he was repeating the plan of William of Wykeham, who had founded Winchester and New College, Oxford. Queens' was founded by Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, and later, William IV's wife Elizabeth Woodville became a co-founder (thus Queens' rather than Queen's). This has not unnaturally be described as the first outward symbol of the reconciliation of the houses of York and Lancaster.

The fifteenth century also brought two other colleges: John Alcock, the then Bishop of Ely, founded Jesus in 1469 and Robert Wodelark, a Provost of Kings College, founded St Catharine's in 1473.

Now with 31 colleges, the University has gradually grown in size, stature and influence on the world: its graduates have reached the highest levels in science, the Church, government, and business throughout the world.

Some notable alumni and academics

15 British Prime Ministers including Robert Walpole, considered to be the first Prime Minister of Great Britain

Oliver Cromwell - Lord Protector of England (1653-58)

Sir Isaac Newton

Charles Darwin - developed theory of natural selection

Francis Crick, James Watson, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins - established 3D model of DNA

Sir Ian Wilmut - cloned Dolly the Sheep in 1996

Sir David Attenborough - famous naturalist and broadcaster

Sir John Herschel and Sir Arthur Eddington - astronomers

Stephen Hawking

Rowan Williams - former Archbishop of Canterbury

Nick Drake - singer/songwriter

CS Lewis - fantasy writer

Sir Ian McKellan - actor

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie - actors

George Mallory - possibly the first man to reach the summit of Mt Everest

Deng Yaping - six-time world table tennis champion

 

 

Reviews for Cambridge

4.2
Based on 21545 reviews
Room
4.1
Value
4.1
Food
4.2
Service
4.4
Overall
4.3
★★★★★
13623
★★★★
6046
★★★
1537
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281
58

It was a hot night and the room has no aircon. It seemed, therefore, strange that the bed had a winter weight feather quilt. I expected to find a blanket in the cupboard - but there was nothing. In the end we took the quilt out of the cover and used the cover as bedding.

(Review Of Downing College, Cambridge) Downing College, Cambridge

I had a good experience during my stay. The only problem I had was the lack of a divider into which two-tipped adapter (I hope you understand what I mean by this). This made it impossible for me to use my laptop during my stay. Otherwise, all in all, it was good, and I would like to thank you.

(Review Of St Catharine's College, Cambridge) St Catharine's College, Cambridge

A smart, clean and quiet room with modern ensuite facilities. The breakfast available was excellent, though only for a rather short period of time. Vacating the bedroom room by 9.30am was earlier than hotels require. Nonetheless, I had an enjoyable stay and would happily return.

(Review Of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge) Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

A very pleasant stay. For those who don't study the map immediately they enter the room (!) some clearer signs would be useful in terms of the kitchen location, and where breakfast is served. A very minor quibble: serving breakfast on a Sunday only from 08.00 to 09.00 is a little spartan.

(Review Of Downing College, Cambridge) Downing College, Cambridge

The twin-bedded college room was very clean and neat, quiet, and comparable to a good budget hotel chain. The staff were welcoming, friendly and helpful. The location was excellent for walking into central Cambridge (10mins max). I would definitely stay there again.

(Review Of The Stephen Hawking Building, (Gonville & Caius College), Cambridge) The Stephen Hawking Building, (Gonville & Caius College), Cambridge

Single room was well appointed and comfortable with good en suite. Today's students are lucky to have accommodation like this. A good alternative to hotels and much cheaper. Would do it again.

(Review Of Queens' College, Cambridge) Queens' College, Cambridge

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and could not find fault with the facilities. The breakfast was excellent and set me up for most of the day. All of the staff were friendly and welcoming -making sure I had everything I needed. I shall come again.

(Review Of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge) Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

I had an enjoyable stay. The room was very spacious and it has internet connection (albeit only via cable and not wireless) and coffee and tea making facilities. Very central location. Overall a very good relationship quality-price.

(Review Of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge) Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

Christ's College is centrally situated but still quiet. The suroundings are very pleasant and accessible for most parts of the central city area. Our room was spacous, comfortable and well appointed.

(Review Of Christ's College, Cambridge) Christ's College, Cambridge
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