Founded in 1800, Downing College with its unique historic surroundings offers comfortable accommodation in the heart of Cambridge


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. 
Their 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 the College Domestic Assistants. There is free car parking available within the grounds, subject to availability; please request when you are making your booking. 
Please note: The college is 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

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 8.00am -9.30am.

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

The Lord Butterfield Cafe offers snacks and drinks during weekdays 8.00am-4.00pm and on Saturdays between 8.00am - 2.00pm.  

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 their website to find further information about the Heong Gallery and current exhibitions. 

Opening Hours:  Wednesdays: 10.00am – 8.00pm
                         Weekends and bank holidays: 10.00am - 6.00pm

Take a tour of the Classical Downing Architecture. Pick up one of their 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.


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



24 hour security

Linen included

Towels included

Iron/ironing board

Hair dryers

Central heating

Nearby recreations

Pub (walking distance)

Museums (walking distance)


Golf course (a short drive)

Tennis courts (walking distance)

Recommended restaurants (walking distance)

Theatre (walking distance)

Age restrictions

Children welcome

Minimum age 16

Downing College, Cambridge - Reviews


Based on 1117 reviews
Service 4.5
Rooms 4.5
Food 4.2
Website 4.3
Value 4.3
Overall Experience 4.6

I would like to thank Downing College administrative staff for arranging a disabled access room for my sister after the original booking. This was done without question and very efficiently.
Mr Clive G

Beautiful grounds, friendly and helpful staff (especially Downing College porters and dining room staff), very comfortable, clean and well-equipped room. Overall outstanding.
Dr Sarah W

I am slightly disabled and the porters were incredibly accommodating and helpful without me asking
Ms Halcyon W

1st visit, we will definitely return

we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The porters were very friendly and helpful as were the dining room staff. Lovely weekend.
Mr David H

Excellent location, staff and breakfast. Would happily use again. Thanks
Mr Robert C

Very clean, comfortable and spacious accommodation, good choice available for breakfast, very welcoming and helpful staff. The building where I stayed is very modern, with an eco-friendly design, while the college grounds and older buildings create a sense quietness and history, away from the bustle of the near-by city. I would definitely recommend it and would stay there again.
Ms Janet T

Staying at the college was a great experience.
Mr Maximiliaan M

Fantastic accommodation. Better than some 4 star hotel I've stayed in. Highly recommended.
Mr Usha G

A gem of a place with parking in the centre of Cambridge
Mr Raymond M

Travel Info

Address: Downing College, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CambridgeCB2 1DQ, United Kingdom

Check In: 14:00 (2:00pm) Onwards (no arrivals allowed outside this window)

Check Out: 06:00 (6:00am) - 10:00 (10:00am)

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

Check In: From 2.00pm Check Out: By 10.00am

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 2.00pm or departing after 10.00am 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.