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What to bring

Not sure what to pack when you move into your College? We’ve put together a helpful list of things you will and won’t need.



Summer to-do list

Starting university can be daunting, but the Cambridge Colleges do their best throughout the year to give you a home away from home in your student city. Feeling prepared will help reduce any anxiety you may be feeling around leaving home so here are a few actions you can take over the summer to set you on the right track:

Join the Official University of Cambridge Freshers' Group

Be sure to join our Freshers Facebook group to connect with new and returning students at Cambridge. You can speak with others starting at your college, find out more about societies and share your excitement about your new life as a Cambridge student.

Contact current students at your college

To help you settle in, your college will assign you with college ‘parents’. These are current students that will be there to show you around and answer any questions you may have. As each Cambridge student has a college ‘parent’, this creates ‘family’ links for you throughout the college and a great way to meet more current students. Most colleges will give you the contacts for your parents ahead of time, so making contact with them as soon as possible will give you the opportunity to get to know them a little, meaning that when you arrive you’ll have someone to chat to.

Consider your travel options

Having a family member or friend to travel to Cambridge with you on your first day is always helpful, but if this is not possible contact your College common room (known as a JCR or MCR) and they can arrange for people to meet or help you when you get into Cambridge. It’s most likely that you’ll be arriving and moving into your College on the first weekend of October. If you think you’ll have a lot of luggage, the easiest way to arrive in Cambridge is to drive. Your college will let you know about parking for arrivals weekend, but if you cannot come by car, you have the following options:

Arriving by train

Cambridge train station is located 1 mile (1.6 km) south-east of the city centre. Cambridge North train station is located 4.2 miles (6.7 km) north-east of the city centre. It is advisable if you have a lot of luggage to get a bus or taxi to your college. The only exceptions to this are Homerton College, which is approximately a 15 minute walk from Cambridge train station, and Girton College which takes about 15 minutes in a taxi.

Cambridge has multiple taxi companies, and it’s always good to have the number of at least one saved in your phone for emergencies.

Here are the numbers for a couple of companies:

  • Panther cabs: 01223 715 715 and via their app
  • Camcab: 01223 704 704 and via their app
  • A1 Cabs: 01223 313 131

Arriving by coach/bus

National coaches will take you to Drummer Street or Parkside bus stops. Both are near the city centre and you can walk with a suitcase from here to most city centre Colleges. If you are taking luggage to a west Cambridge College (Robinson, Selwyn, Wolfson or Newnham) or a hill College (Fitzwilliam, Lucy Cavendish, Churchill, Murray Edwards, St Edmunds, Girton or Homerton) you may want to get a local bus or a taxi.

Travelling from overseas? Check out our page for International students

Dip into your reading list

Depending on your subject, you’ll most likely get a reading list from your Director of Studies (DoS) before arriving at your College, and it might be very long! But don’t worry – here are some tips for dealing with it:

Don't buy all the books

It will cost a fortune, and you don’t have to. Cambridge has over 100 libraries so you will definitely be able to find what you need when you get here. Especially make sure you aren’t buying a very expensive book just to read one chapter of it! If you need to buy a book, buy it second hand. If you find it’s still too expensive, you can always post in one of the freshers groups to see if anyone else has a copy, or ask if your college parents have a copy they want to sell on.

Remember nobody reads it all

Some people will arrive having read nothing and others will have read more. If you want to get going before you arrive, prioritise by identifying key texts, or focus on reading the longer books in the holidays so you only have shorter ones left to read during term. To help you prioritise what to buy and read before you arrive, ask your college parents, your subject’s freshers group or your Director of Studies (DoS).