Clare College

Everything you are about to read has been written by current and recently graduated students at the University of Cambridge, to give you honest information about what it’s like to be a student at Cambridge.

Clare College has all the benefits of being a town-centre college, but still has some of the best gardens in Cambridge, which lie next to the River Cam. Clare is reasonably sized, with around 140 students in each undergraduate year. It’s the second-oldest Cambridge college, founded in 1326 by Lady Elizabeth de Clare with the money she acquired from the mysterious deaths of her three husbands!

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Christs College

Key facts

  • Distance to Sports Pitch
    Approx. 2 miles
  • Gym
    Yes- Basic facilities.
  • Music Practice Rooms
  • Prayer spaces
    Our chapel has a multi-faith space
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Vegetarian: Min. one per meal Vegan: Yes (on request)
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Other dietry requirements: On request
  • Theatre space
    Practice rooms available, but no specific performance space.

What is your favourite thing about Clare?

Josie, Clare, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd yr
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd year

Several things… we have a really cool bar. It’s underground, in the crypt underneath the chapel, and is known as ‘Clare Cellars’. Other colleges are jealous! Also accommodation is very well located and much cheaper than lots of other colleges! The gardens. These are really beautiful and a great space for revision breaks in the summer.

Describe your College’s atmosphere

Josie, Clare, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd yr
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd year

Clare is very relaxed. Everyone is really motivated but there is no intense academic competition between students. You’ll find a huge range of people from all backgrounds and with all interests, so there’ll people you get along with. It also means conversations in the common room are very interesting!

What is the accommodation like?

Christie, Clare, History, 2nd yr
History, 2nd year

All first years will live together in Memorial Court on Queens’ Road, which has a variety of rooms at different costs to suit different budgets. After first year, accommodation is allocated on a random balloting system, whereby each student is allocated a number in the ballot for second year, which is then reversed for third year. Bad room in second year= Good room in third year.

Second years all live in Clare College Colony on Chesterton Lane, which also has a range of room prices to suit different budgets and has the option for students to ballot to live together in friendship groups. This is the same for third year, although some third years are lucky enough to live in Old Court, perhaps in a room overlooking the River Cam.

How good is the food?

Christie, Clare, History, 2nd yr
History, 2nd year

Clare has come first in many inter-collegiate catering competitions, meaning our formal is excellent and well-priced- Around £7.50 for Clare students. Our buttery is less consistently good, although it can surprise you. Clare has A LOT of vegetarian and vegan students, so is good at catering for them, and will cater for other dietary requirements as long as they know in advance. Every student will have access to a gyp room (small kitchen) with a toaster, microwave and two-ring hob- This is better than it sounds! Ovens are a rarity for undergraduates.

What about entertainment and extra-curricular activities?

Josie, Clare, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd year
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd year

There are lots of sports societies to get involved in at college level. This is very relaxed, social and the levels of ability are not as high as the university teams! In particular Clare has a big boat club, so many people give rowing a go. There are also less sporty things to get involved in, such as subject societies and charity fundraising. Clare is also known for its fantastic music society and famous chapel choir! Clare has several ‘bops’ a term. These are themed social events in the college bar with live music. Every Friday there’s a student night called ‘Clare Ents’, which is popular with all colleges and known for more alternative bands. We are unusual in having a ball at the end of every year. All these events are student run, so there are lots of opportunities to get involved with organising them!

What welfare support is there?

Christie, Clare, History, 2nd yr
History, 2nd yr

Clare has an excellent and well-trained welfare team. On the JCR, we have two welfare student-elected welfare officers, which must be of two different self-identifying genders. At a college level, we have a college nurse, who is on site most days and available for both appointment and drop-in sessions. She is also trained specifically to provide support for students suffering from mental health-related issues. Additionally, the college dean is available as a point of support for students of all and no faiths during normal working hours.

What about your College would you change?

Josie, Clare, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd yr
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd year

The kitchens are very basic. You get used to it but there are times where an oven and freezer would be useful! As the accommodation is spread out, you might end up living a little further away from facilities such as the library, buttery and gym. It’s not too bad, but some other colleges will be on one site for all three years.

What has been going on at Clare College?

- Recent Events -

Charity ‘Take Me Out’

This was (sort of) like the TV show and held in Clare Cellars. It was very entertaining to watch and all for a good cause!

Green Formal

This is a formal dinner but the menu is completely vegan, and where possible locally sourced and Fairtrade. It’s always delicious and a great chance to think about where our food really comes from.


This is a rowing competition involving lots of boats rowing in a line and trying to catch up with the one in front - a really exciting event to watch and take part in. This term there were 5 Clare boats taking part and overall we did very well!

College Gallery

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