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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
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Value
4.1
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4.2
Service
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13623
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Thank you for having me! The room was excellent, as was the service provided throughout my stay, especially at the Porter's office. Churchill was the perfect distance from where I was working and from town - I will definitely book again next time I come to Cambridge!

(Review Of Churchill College, Cambridge) Churchill College, Cambridge

We couldn't get in through the gates as instructed. The phone was engaged when we tried to call, but got through eventually. Guests should have been informed of alternative entrance -- before arrival --when the other was tarmaced. Breakfast was really good. Overall, I'd recommend the facilities to others.

(Review Of Jesus College, Cambridge) Jesus College, Cambridge

We, and our german guests were quite happy with the rooms and the services. We thank you very much for all supports especially the Porters Lodge. It was a beautiful wedding.

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

I was at Jesus College 1967-70 but never visited Downing! What a revelation. Such pleasant surroundings and a luxurious room. How spoilt are today's students. I'm hoping to visit Oxford this year. Do you know of an organisation there similar to your own? Nick Mawer

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

Such beautiful surroundings and great new rooms in a very central location. Good breakfast served in the adjoining old building . Looking forward to my next stay in a few weeks!

(Review Of West Court (Jesus College), Cambridge) West Court (Jesus College), Cambridge

I very much enjoyed staying at Christ's college. The only thing that bothered me was the noise from King's Street which could be heard quite clearly in my room.

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

Tea and coffee facilities for early morning would be good. I get up very early to work, and it was hard not having access to coffee until 8 am. Other than that, I had a top experience and definitely will come again!

(Review Of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge) Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

Westminster College is a small but pretty College in Cambridge. Easy to get and close to the city centre and Jesus Green park, it is a good option to spend a couple of nights. Staff are friendly and helpful.

(Review Of Westminster College, Cambridge) Westminster College, Cambridge

A good, functional, comfortable room. The cooked breakfast was also much appreciated as some other colleges don't provide hot food on a Sunday morning. Thanks for the opportunity to stay.

(Review Of Westminster College, Cambridge) Westminster College, Cambridge
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