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“College B&B: lovely to stay somewhere with a unique atmosphere”
Review of Downing College

Downing College
Ranked #35 of 168 things to do in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Downing College, dating from the early 1800s, has a unique setting amidst 20 acres of lawns and trees. While the college environment itself is quiet and peaceful, the museums, shops and River Cam in the very heart of Cambridge is only a few minutes walk away. Downing College is an ideal location for visitors on a leisure break or in Cambridge on business. Our spacious bedrooms are fully equipped for the modern day traveller, with facilities such as a flat screen television, a spacious desk and free wifi. A telephone, alarm clock, hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities are also provided, and bedrooms are cleaned daily by our College Domestic Assistants.We have free carparking available within the grounds, subject to availability; please request when you are making your booking. Please note: We are unable to accept bookings for children of 16 years and under, or for Stag and Hen parties. Guests of 16 - 18 years must be accompanied by an adult (21 or over).
Reviewed 19 October 2013

I agree with most of what has been written so far about the B&B at the college. I did not find the room overpriced as I got a conference rate, but would if it were higher. The room itself was delightful, nicely laid out, very good bathroom in particular, and with a funky large green night-light fitting. Rooms were newly renovated in that building. No slumming it for these students! But I also agree that they lacked any character that could be associated with a grand old College in the best English tradition. I found the breakfast fairly ordinary, not helped by the utilitarian setup of the serving area.

I was there for a conference, and loved wandering the campus. It is as others have noted, wonderfully close to the downtown streets and sights. Good to have free parking, that close to the centre. I also found the porters to be funny, informative, capable and a highlight of the stay. My only bugbear - they should give GPS coordinates to get there. They not only do not give a street number, and with shops either side of the gate this is surely possible, but the gates themselves are not labelled, and you get caught in one way streets etc. trying to go back and have another look to see if it is the destination. The website maps and those we received for the conference only really made sense afterwards - i.e. the classic mistake of giving instructions for those who already know how to find the place.... In particular they need to label the entrance, which is not large and can easily be missed on the way through. But overall, I found it a very enjoyable and slightly different B and B experience.

1  Thank Prattlecette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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48 - 52 of 73 reviews

Reviewed 2 September 2013

Downing College is not on the usual tourist trail, but is well worth a visit. It has some lovely buildings and quiet spacious gardens. It is tranquil place where you can wander around or just sit peacefully, before the hustle and bustle of more well known colleges.

Thank Alan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2013

We stumbled across Downing by accident really, but I'm glad we did. Downing offers beautiful architecture and very spacious gardens. It does not charge and does not have many visitors, but it deserves seeing. This college is charming and deserves more attention. The large gardens are a pleasant place to wander before returning to the tourist trail. Too few people seem bother with Downing , rushing straight to the tourist traps of Kings College etc. Yet these are really beautiful, traditional colleges that sshould be seen.

1  Thank Deb J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2013

Downing is not Cambridge´s oldest college (founded 1800), but it offers beautiful Greek architecture and very spacious gardens. It does not charge and is rarely visited, but deserves seeing. It´s not the medieval image one expects, but this college is very charming and deserves more attention. The large gardens are a pleasant place to wander before returning to the tourist trail. Don´t forget the Varsity restaurant in Downing Street: a Greek classic that was there when I studied here in the 70s (it hasn´t changed much since). Too few people bother with Downing and Emmanuel, rushing straight to the tourist traps of Kings etc. Yet these are really beautiful, traditional colleges that show you true Cambridge life without the hype.

Thank Brian L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2012

We stayed in a new room. It was small, perfectly formed, but also utterly lacking in character. It simply felt like a typical mid-range business hotel anywhere in the country. We weren't able to secure a bed and breakfast rate, and no adequate explanation was given as to why we had to go out for breakfast (we ended up in a bizarre, dingy 'Spoons in a converted cinema a few doors down). The porters are a credit to Downing: delightful, funny, and helpful, and by far the best feature of our stay.

1  Thank EmmaRew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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