You are not logged in. Login
Home » Current Students » Guide

Student Life

This page contains information on just about everything you need to get by in Cambridge. More detailed information can be found on the University Graduate Union website and the College-maintained pages for graduates (please note that this is a password protected website - you should have been issued a password).


The main 'Island Site' of St. Catharine's is reserved for first and third year undergraduates - all the 2nd year undergraduates live in St. Chad's, the College accommodation block at the end of West Road on Grange Road. Graduates wishing to live in college-owned accommodation also live away from the main site, in one of the residences listed here (which include some flats for couples). Cleaners will empty your bin daily and clean your room weekly. Leave your bin outside if you don't want to be disturbed. If you don't want to live in College, the University Accommodation Service on Silver Street will be happy to help you find lodging. They have a website or can be emailed at


There are plenty of banks in the City Centre and know plenty about student matters. The following have branches in Cambridge:
Barclays, Cambridge Building Society, Cheltenham and Gloucester, Co-operative, Coutts, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Metro Bank, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander.


Often considered one of the better college bars due to its size and popularity, the bar is the main centre for mixing with the rest of the college. John the barman always provides a friendly face from 6:30pm until 11pm, after which the MCR is a popular destination for some late-night socialising.


Postgraduates all live out of college and invariably require a bicycle. Secure storage space is available in college in the bike shed underneath the Fellows' Car Park. Parking places are also provided at the college residences. There are cycle repair shops all over the place. A good lock is essential for your bike and as a further precaution against theft you should mark your bike with the number given to you by the college. If you don't want to bring a bike but still need one here, there will be an opportunity to purchase one cheaply at the Police bike auction at the beginning of term. Cycling in Cambridge can be dangerous, but if you cycle safely, wear a helmet, use the cycle paths and have good bright lights, then you should have no problems.

Bus & Coach

The bus station is located on Drummer Street, beside Emmanuel College. National Express provide connections all over the country, especially for Stansted Airport (45 mins), Luton Airport (1h), Heathrow (2h), Gatwick, (3h) and Oxford (3h). Stagecaoch Express also provide some faster services. Local buses serve various areas of the city and other towns in East Anglia.


The College Chapel holds regular services, the details of which are displayed on a notice board on the Main Court doors. The College Music Society and Choir also put on various performances there during the year.

Cinemas and Theatres

The two main cinemas are located at the Grafton Centre (VUE) and Cambridge Leisure Park (Cineworld). The Arts Picturehouse (St. Andrews Street) shows a variety of non-mainstream films (and hosts E4 Slackers Club, showing films for free to students the day before they're released) whilst the ADC Theatre (Park Street) and Cambridge Arts Theatre (St Edward's Passage) show a large range of theatrical productions. The Corn Exchange (Wheeler Street) regularly hosts a variety of concerts and performances.

College bills

The college bill is payable quarterly, in October, January, April and July. The college office in Bull staircase deals with payment of bills and grant cheques. The person in charge of the college accounts is Kathy Malley, so any queries should either be addressed to her or one of the Presidents. The college billing system is fairly complicated, and this is dealt with by the Bursar's and Dean's enclosures.


There are two computer rooms in College, beneath the Porter's Lodge and at the bottom of I staircase. These are equipped mainly with PCs with various word processing and remote access packages. All of these are connected to the Internet. You should be automatically allocated with an e-mail account on Hermes (the central mail store)and a PWF account enabling access to college and university computers. If not, go to the computing service on the New Museums Site. There are also three terminals in the College Library for accessing the University Library on-line catalogue. Wi-Fi is also available throughout the island site and most of the graduate residences. Contact the computer officers for the password.


CUSU is the University student's union, which represents the junior members at the university level, as well as providing a common welfare support structure and other services.

CUSU/NUS cards are accepted all over the country for student discounts on anything from cinema tickets to haircuts. CUSU makes arrangements with shops all over Cambridge (see the CUSU handbook). Cards, handbooks and diaries will be distributed at the beginning of term.

GP Services

Register with a doctor in Cambridge. There's one just opposite college on Trumpington Street and others are on Lensfield Road and in Newnham. Addenbrooke's Hospital is at the end of Hills Road. There is a University Dental Service at 3 Trumpington Street.

Formal Hall

Graduate Halls generally take place every Thursday during term time and are advertised by e-mail. Sign-up is performed online using the link on the navigation bar and your Raven password. The deadline for signing up is Wednesday at 11.30am. Tickets for undergraduate formal halls should be obtained in advance from the Porters.

Dress is fairly smart, including a gown. Guests not from the college do not require gowns but should be smartly dressed; with gents wearing jackets and ties. Most people bring a bottle of wine as well. We meet in the MCR at 7 pm for sherry before. Dinner consists of a starter, main course and dessert followed by cheese and biscuits, coffee and port. A vegetarian option is always available (inform the formal hall officer when you sign up). Guests are more than welcome. The charge for them will be put onto your college bill.


These are needed for the first week (for Matriculation) and thereafter only for seeing the Dean, for Chapel or Formal Hall and other official dinners. Cambridge graduates wear the gown of their highest degree. Graduates from other universities who are over 24 should wear MA gowns, others BA gowns. These may be hired from the Graduate Union in Keynes house for the night for £6 or the week for £20, or bought in one of the three tailors on King's Parade/Trumpington Street. At the beginning of the year, these shops tend to sell ex-rental stock and so if you are looking to buy a gown then this is the time to buy.


It is worthwhile insuring your possessions. The cheapest way of doing this is to add yourself to your parent's policy. If this is impossible, try Endsleigh (leaflets in the Porter's Lodge), which was set up by the NUS, and provides inexpensive cover specifically designed for students.


The Sherlock Library covers English, History of Art and Modern Languages. As well as books, it has lots of wood in it, giving it a very 'traditional' feeling and is found between the 2nd and 3rd floors of E staircase. The New Library, situated in Chapel Court beside the Bar, covers all other subjects. Access to both libraries is by your college key. The College also possesses around 1,000 classical music CDs and a growing collection of European art-house videos - ask the librarian for details.

The University Library, a copyright library with over 1.5 million books on the on-line catalogue, is found on West Road. You will need to register your univeristy card for access by bringing along your course confirmation of acceptance. For more details visit their website. All departments have their respective specialised collections. The Scientific Periodicals Library contains most journals and is on the New Museums Site in the centre of town. Cambridge Local Library is situated in Lion Yard.

Mail service

There is a free intercollegiate mail service, the ICMS, (run by CUSU). The post-box for this is situated just opposite the porter's desk. The UMS is run by the University and provides an internal mail service from your department.


The University Map of Cambridge can be found here. You can find places to work around town on Spacefinder.

Night Clubs

There aren't many night clubs in Cambridge; Ballare (AKA Cindies) in the Lion Yard is the biggest, with a popular student nights on Tuesday and Wednesday. Other night clubs with a variety of music include The Fez Club in Market Passage, Lola Lo's outside the Lion Yard, The Place (AKA Life) beside Waterstone's on Sidney Street and Vodka Revolution on Downing Street. Larger events are often on at The Junction or in the Corn Exchange. Watch out for special grad nights organised by the committee and other MCRs. Often after Formals the MCR will organise guestlist bookings for a particular club (usually Lola's or Life) including a discounted entry rate.


The college office is situated on the ground and first floors of Bull (Chapel Court). The Graduate Tutorial Administrator, Heather Green, is on the first floor and she is the normal first point of contact. Kathy Malley is in charge of student billing (college bills can be paid on the ground floor of Bull).


The JCR photocopier is located next to the entrance to the New Library (beside the Librarian's Office). It is operated on a Flexicard system, at 7p per copy. The cards can be obtained and recharged from the machine in the room. There are also photocopiers at all libraries, the Graduate Union, CUSU and in most departments.


Individual pigeon holes are situated below the Porter's Lodge. Bulky letters are put in the large pigeon holes, opposite the porter's desk. Private mail (cheque books etc.) and parcels must be collected from the porter: look for your name on the list in the porter's window. Your postal address is: St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, CB2 1RL. You are expected to check your pigeon hole at regular intervals, as this is your primary point of contact. If you are away from college for any length of time, arrange with the porters to have your mail forwarded.

The postal address for Russell Street is: Room no., 4 Russell Street, Cambridge, CB2 1HT. For South Green Lodge: South Green Lodge, South Green Road, Cambridge, CB3 9JR. For Barton Road: 29 Barton Road, Cambridge, CB3 9LB.


The first person you will meet when you arrive will be a porter. The porters are responsible for issuing keys, directing people and running the day to day life of the college. You will receive a room key and a master key that opens the college front door, libraries, computer room, bike shed and other doors. The porters generally know what's going on so it's a good idea to keep them on side.

Post Office

There are branches at Hills Road (Russell Street), Trinity Street (Trinity), St. Andrew's Street (Main Post Office), Newnham and Regent Street. Post boxes near college are situated outside Corpus and in the wall of Queens' (outside the back gate of college).


Too many to mention (there are over 100 in Cambridge), but some good ones to try are the Mill and Anchor off Silver Street, The Granta on Newnham Road and the Bath House and Eagle (good food) on Bene't Street off King's Parade. Cambridge also boasts (arguably) the largest pub in Britain; The Regal, a Weatherspoons pub on Regent Street, where the beer is cheap and there are club nights on Fridays and Saturdays. If you're at South Green Lodge, The Vicarage or Barton Road, it's worthwhile checking out the Red Bull (especially on quiz nights and Mondays when all mains are 2-for-1) on Barton Road. The Alma, The Emperor and The Panton Arms are near Russell Street and Brookside. Make sure you go to the pub-crawl in Freshers' week for a guided tour of a few of the popular pubs around the centre of town.

Rail Travel

The station is close to Russell Street, on Station Road. London (King's Cross/Liverpool Street) is about an hour away - to Kings Cross is the faster route. Non-stop trains leave Cambridge for King's Cross at a quarter to and a quarter past the hour throughout the day. Trains leave King's Cross at a quarter past and a quarter to most hours until about 8pm when the times become slightly more erratic. The last train back from King's Cross is at midnight. Direct trains are also available to: Birmingham, Bury St Edmunds, Ely, Ipswich, King's Lynn, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newmarket, Nottingham, Norwich, Peterborough and Sheffield. Change at Peterborough for: Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.


This is by no means a complete list, just a selection:


Don Pasquale (Market Square), La Margherita (15 Magdelene Street), Pizza Express (7a Jesus Lane/St. Andrew's Street), Mamma Amalfi (Grafton Centre), Trattoria Pasta (Mill Road), Cafe Uno (Magdelene Bridge), Bella Italia (the Mill Pond/Grafton Centre).


Charlie Chan, Seven Days, Yim-Wha (Regent Street), Chato Singapore (Lensfield Road), Hotpot (66 Chesterton Road), Tai Cheun (12 St Johns Street).


Curry Queen (Mill Road), India House (Newnham Road), The Koh-i-Noor (Mill Road), Maharajah (Castle Street), Meghna Balti (Mill Road), The Saffron (Hills Road).

Haute Cuisine - Most of these are expensive

Le Jardin (Garden House Hotel), Michel's Brasserie (Northampton Street), Midsummer House (Midsummer Common), The Riverside Restaurant (Grad Pad), Twenty-Two Chesterton Road.

Fast Food

Gardenia (Rose Crescent), Van of Life (Market Square), Fagito (Mill Road), McDonald's (Rose Crescent), Burger King (Grafton Centre), KBC (Hills Road).


Bangkok City (Green Street), Brown's (Trumpington Street), Footlights (Grafton Centre), Hobbs Pavilion (Parkers Piece), No 1 King's Parade, Sala Thong (Newnham Road), Trinity Vaults (Trinity St.), The Depot (Regent St.), Dojo's (Mill Lane), Sushi Express (Hills Rd.), The Dome (Regents Street), Al Casbah (Mill Road).



Cambridge Wine Merchants (Kings Parade and Mill Road), Thresher's (Market Street/Hills Road), Bottoms Up (Bridge Street), Victoria Wines (St. Andrew's Street).


Sainsbury's (Sidney Street), Mark's and Spencer (Market Place), Tesco (Newmarket Road), Asda (Newmarket Road), various Co-ops (Newnham/Chesterton Road/Hills Road).


In Market Square! Open 7 days a week with an antiques and craft market on Sundays.

Sport at Catz

If you are at all sporty, Cambridge and Catz should have something for you. The college sports clubs have excellent facilities; graduates are encouraged to join any of the teams. Badminton and squash courts are available at South Green Lodge and can be booked at the Porter's Lodge or online. The football and hockey pitches and tennis courts are also situated there. Later on in the year, the grounds are used for cricket.

If you want to join any of the college sporting societies, make sure you go to the sports squash at the beginning of Michaelmas term in the hall. As you'll find out very quickly, rowing is an important sport in Cambridge; we'd suggest that anybody who would like to row goes to the Sports' Squash. If you want to row just for fun, graduates usually organise a boat for those who are less committed.

For working out on your own, the college owns a gym, which MCR members can use when they have signed up: ask the committee.


If you are going to be away from Cambridge for extended periods, a limited amount of space is available in the trunk rooms in College for storage of any of your belongings. There are also lockers next to the pigeonholes. Ask the porters.


The usual option from college is Panther (715715) or Cabco (312444); there is a free direct line in the porter's lodge. Alternatives include Camtax (242424).


More than likely, you own a mobile phone. However, if you don't, or for some reason you need to use a landline, payphones are dotted around college buildings and most accept incoming calls. Phonecards can be purchased at the Porter's Lodge. If you don't have a telephone, messages can be taken by the porters on (01223) 338300 and will be left on a board opposite the porter's desk. All college rooms have telephone sockets and arrangements to get connected can be made with Virgin Media or BT.

The University has an internal telephone network; there are network phones in all departments and colleges. The five-digit network numbers can be dialled from outside by adding a 3 at the beginning.

University Centre

Also known as the Grad Pad, the University Centre is a rather unpleasant-looking concrete building next to the Mill pub, overlooking the Mill Pond. Despite its appearance, it boasts impressive facilities, for example, a bar on the ground floor, a canteen, a restaurant, a computer room, a TV room, and a cafe on the top floor with a panoramic view of the town. It's definitely worth a visit - don't forget to take your University Card!


You can rent guest rooms in college for a nominal charge; early booking is advised, or more 'flexible' guests can unofficially sleep in your room. Bedding is provided in the guest rooms (see the porter). There are restrictions - please check in advance with the porters.


Life isn't always easy. Remember that someone else has almost certainly felt, or gone through something similar to you before. There are many options including your tutor, the University Counselling Service (funded by the Colleges) at 14 Trumpington Street, or Linkline (run by students) at 17 St. Edward's Passage ((01223) 744444). Also feel free to get in touch with any member of the committee, especially your welfare officer. Alternatively there are various organisations listed in the CUSU handbook that may be able to help you with specific problems.

MCR, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge CB2 1RL, UK
Made with and node.js by souradip. Privacy policy. Data protection (GDPR) policy.