Accommodation & Facilities

A major benefit of attending a Cambridge College is the extensive, subsidised accommodation that is offered to nearly all undergraduate students. This means potentially never having to take out a year-round lease with a private landlord. All Pembroke undergraduates are offered accommodation in College or in College-owned property for the full three or four years of their degree course. Rents in College-owned property are substantially lower than the commercial rates charged in Cambridge.

At the same time the facilities offered in Cambridge are exceptional, both in terms of daily living, studying and recreation.

What follows is a guide to what Pembroke offers its students, but it should be remembered that facilities at College level are supplemented both by what is available in the wider University, and in the town itself.

Rooms in College

Over half our undergraduates, including all first-years, live on the main College site. The remainder live nearby in College-owned houses. Two rooms on the main site are adapted for wheel-chair use. A student-organised ballot system decides priority in choosing rooms for second and third year undergraduates.

Nearly all rooms in College are single study bedrooms, and none is shared. There are a few sets, i.e. separate study and bedroom. Most have background heating and wash-basins with direct access to baths and/or showers and a small kitchen. Simple cooking is allowed, but the facilities are not elaborate!

College-owned Houses

These are conveniently situated, either very near to the College or near the College sports ground. Our recent experience is that while all appreciate the benefits of residence in College during the first year, many students prefer the slightly greater independence afforded by residence in College houses in their second, and sometimes in their third years. Rents in College houses are also somewhat lower. Most third years are now able to live on the main College site if they wish.


The termly rent covers the eight weeks of compulsory residence and any extra period, up to a total of ten weeks. Residency beyond this period may be allowed for academic reasons, and vacation rent charged. The College operates a means-tested rent rebate scheme.

Information about accommodation is sent to successful applicants in late Spring with a request for an indication as to preferred price-range. Rooms are allocated in late August and notice sent in early September. Find out more about costs and the financial help available.


All meals (breakfast, lunch, supper) are available in the College’s dining hall. No meals are compulsory and most are self-service. At lunch and buffet supper there is a choice of main course, as well as soup, salads, pudding, yoghurt, fruit and coffee. A three-course set dinner is also served in the evening. Vegetarian meals are always available, and other dietary regimes can be accommodated.

A typical buffet supper currently costs around £3-£4, but can of course be lower depending on what you have. The cost of the served dinner is £8.40 (2013/14). Overhead costs (staff, equipment etc.) are covered with the help of a standard, compulsory fixed charge. For those living in accommodation provided by the College it is £148.90 per term, for others £72.70 per term

The Bar is open until 11.00pm during Full Term. It is next to the Common Room (called the Junior Parlour). Both are situated right by the largest of the College’s several garden areas, and this part of the garden is a popular place for relaxation in the summer term. Café Pembroke offers sandwiches, snacks and hot and cold drinks served between 10.00am and 7.00pm on weekdays.


The College has a well-stocked library, which is a quiet and pleasant place to study. It is open sixteen hours a day. In an era when few students can afford many books, it is one of Cambridge’s major advantages that the (excellent) University and departmental libraries are supplemented by the libraries in the undergraduate colleges, each providing copies of books commonly recommended by lecturers and supervisors, among other facilities. Pembroke’s Library has an excellent collection in all the main teaching subjects, and undergraduates are encouraged to order books for it according to need. The Library has a terminal to the University data network for consultation of University catalogues and bibliographic databases. It is also building a collection of CD-ROMs for use in conjunction with lectures and supervisions. The Library includes a Law Library, and a lift to the upper floors.

Information Technology

Most Undergraduate rooms in College, and many College hostels, are now connected to the University-wide data network, and if you have your own computer you can use it in your own room for access to internet services such as email and the web. However, it is certainly not necessary to bring your own computer at Pembroke: the College has 30 PC machines for student use. The College is very close to the main Computer Laboratory, and many other University departments also have their own facilities. Internet access is free of charge from the College computer rooms. Further information for students planning to bring their own computer, including recommended hardware and software, as well as technical and cost details of networking, will be sent to successful candidates.

Other facilities

Among other things, the College has self-service laundries, a Multi-gym, a Music Room, a room equipped for theatrical productions, party and meeting rooms; a dark room, and an art room.