Founded in 1800, through a bequest made by Sir George Downing 3rd Baronet, the Downing College Charter granted a perpetual college for students in ‘Law, physic and the other useful arts and learning’. Downing elected its first Fellow in 1808 and admitted its first undergraduate in 1817.
Known as the 'newest of the old and oldest of the new', the College was the 17th to be founded within the University of Cambridge, after a gap of 204 years, some 69 years before the founding of Girton College, which was the first women’s College in Cambridge.
Downing College was originally formed ‘for the encouragement of the study of Law and Medicine and of the cognate subjects of Moral and Natural Science’.
How to get there
Arriving by road:
From leaving the M11, A14 or A10 head towards Lensfield Road and Regent Street, where the entrance to Downing College is situated.
Arriving by train:
There are regular trains to Cambridge railway station departing from London King's Cross, London Liverpool Street, and London Bridge station. Downing College is a 15 minute walk from Cambridge station: exit the station and walk to the end of Station Road, and then turn right and walk along Hills Road until you reach Downing College.
See the College Map for parking and other information:
This information is available on the College web site: www.dow.cam.ac.uk
Accommodation and nearby attractions
Additional accommodation is available for an extra fee, and is dependant upon availability. Please specify if you would like additional accommodation when you complete the booking form.
- King's College Chapel: explore the largest fan-vault ceiling in the world, and the Rood Screen that was a gift from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn which is still considered some of the best Italian wooden carvings that still survive in the UK.
- Punting: go punting along the River Cam, which passes by some of the prettiest areas of the city like the city’s own water highway.
- The Mathematical Bridge: considered one of the most famous wooden bridges in Southern England.
- The Corpus Clock: situated on the corner of Bene’t Street and Trumpington Street, it was built and paid for by inventor and alumni, John Taylor.
- Market Square: full of independent traders and craft stalls.