Walks index

Some information about Cambridge colleges

Admission to the University of Cambridge is via the colleges. Although the university was founded in 1209, and the first college not until 1284, the oldest buildings in the university belong to the colleges. The colleges are listed below in order of their date of foundation. The coat of arms were mostly taken from the railway station. There is a photo of the older colleges (click on it for a larger version). There are also the college scarf colours and blade colours used by the colleges. There is an explanation of the Bumps, the college rowing races, here.

This page is not a walk. The gates walk takes you around the gates and gatehouses of the older colleges. Some of the old buildings and other buildings belong to the colleges. Please remember that if you wish to visit the colleges (as opposed to looking at their gates from outside), some colleges charge for entrance, and all may close around examination time. The colleges all have a porters lodge at their entrance. The porters will tell you if the college is open, and what you are allowed to see.

Alpbetical index of undergraduate colleges

A - E Christ's College | Churchill College | Clare College | Corpus Christi College | Downing College | Emmanuel College
F - K Fitzwilliam College | Girton College | Gonville and Caius College | Homerton College | Jesus College | King's College
M-R Magdalene College | Murray Edwards College | Newnham College | Pembroke College | Peterhouse | Queens' College | Robinson College
S-T St Catharine's College | St John's College | Selwyn College | Sidney Sussex College | Trinity College | Trinity Hall

Undergraduate colleges in order of foundation date

Coat of armsCollege information Scarf coloursBlade coloursPhotoPreviously
Trumpington Street
founded 1284
part of St Johns Hospital
Clare College
Trinity Lane
founded 1326
University Hall
Clare Hall
Pembroke College
Trumpington Street
founded 1347
Hall of Valence Mary
Pembroke Hall
Gonville and Caius College
Trinity Street
founded 1348
Gonville Hall
Trinity Hall
Trinity Lane
founded 1350
Corpus Christi College
Trumpington Street
founded 1352
St Benet's College
Magdalene College
Magdalene Street
founded 1428


Buckingham College
King's College
Kings Parade
founded 1441
Saint Nicholas
Queens' College
Queens Lane
founded 1448
St Bernard's College
St Catharine's College
Trumpington Street
founded 1473
Lady Katharine Hall
Jesus College
Jesus Lane
founded 1496
St Radegund's Nunnery
Christ's College
St Andrews Street
founded 1505
God's House
St John's College
St Johns Street
founded 1511

Lady Margaret
St Johns Hospital
Trinity College
Trinity Street
founded 1546

1st & 3rd Trinity
Kings Hall and Michaelhouse
Emmanuel College
St Andrews Street
founded 1584
Sidney Sussex College
Sidney Street
founded 1596
Downing College
Regent Street
founded 1800
Fitzwilliam College
Huntingdon Road
founded 1869
Fitzwilliam House
Girton College
Huntingdon Road
founded 1869
Newnham College
Sidgwick Avenue
founded 1871
Selwyn College
Grange Road
founded 1882
Murray Edwards College
Huntingdon Road
founded 1954
New Hall
Churchill College
Storey's Way
founded 1960
Homerton College
Hills Road
founded 1976
Teacher training college
Robinson College
Grange Road
founded 1979


The point of arranging the colleges in order of foundation is to high-light the older colleges. Obviously not all buildings within a college date to its foundations, but some do. Peterhouse hall is the oldest hall in Cambridge; Corpus Christi Old Court is the oldest continually inhabited courtyard; Pembroke has the oldest surviving college entrance (although refaced in Victorian times); Queens has the oldest gatehouse; Clare has the oldest bridge. But other colleges have buildings older than they are. Trinity's gatehouse belongs to a previous college. The School of Pythagoras was a town house later absorbed within the grounds of St Johns College. Jesus took over St Rhadegund's Nunnery, including its chapel.

The foundation dates don't seem to be well-defined. I have taken the dates from the college index of the official Cambridge University website, which I hope is an authoritative source! But a postcard sold locally gives different dates, and once you start looking into it, you can understand why. Colleges were often formed in several steps. Magdalene started as a hostel in 1428, and did not become a college until 1542. They seem to take the earlier date as their foundation (although the postcard disagrees!) Trinity College was founded in 1546, from the merger of two existing colleges, Michaelhouse (1324) and King's Hall (1317). They take the later date as their foundation. Gonville and Caius was founded twice (explaining its double name), and they take the earlier date. Fitzwilliam College was formed out of the Non-Collegiate Students Board, founded in 1869, based at Fitzwilliam Hall, opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum in central Cambridge. The Non-Collegiate Students Board eventually became Fitzwilliam College in 1966 and moved to its present site in the north of the city. The earlier date is used in this case. There are several other cases where the foundation date seems to vary by a few years.

Jesus College is always known as that, but its corect name doesn't even include the name Jesus. It is "The College of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and the glorious Virgin Saint Radegund, near Cambridge".

Mature student and graduate colleges

FoundedName of collegeLocation
1885 Hughes Hall Mortimer Roadwebsite
1896 St Edmund's College Mount Pleasantwebsite
1964 Darwin College Silver Streetwebsite
1965 Clare Hall Herschel Road website
1965 Lucy Cavendish College Lady Margaret Roadwebsite
1965 Wolfson College Barton Road website

Theological colleges

These are not part of Cambridge University.

FoundedName of collegeLocation
1877 Ridley Hall Ridley Hall Roadwebsite
1881 Westcott HouseJesus Lanewebsite
1921 Wesley HouseJesus Lanewebsite

The other university

There are two universities in Cambridge. The other one is Anglia Ruskin University, on East Road. The Cambridge School of Art was opened in 1858 by John Ruskin. In 1960 this became the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology (CCAT). In 1989 CCAT merged with the Essex Institute of Higher Education to form the Anglia Higher Education College. The merged college became a polytechnic in 1991, using the name Anglia Polytechnic, and was then awarded university status in 1992. The name was changed to Anglia Ruskin University in 2005. Click here for their website.


There are other colleges in Cambridge. Cambridge Regional College is a further education establishment. There are sixth form colleges. There are a lot of language schools, teaching English as a foreign language, and they often call themselves colleges. There are other educational establishments as well.