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Cambridge University/colleges closures during exams: is enough open to make a day trip interesting?

When Cambridge university and the various colleges are closed to visitors during the May exam period, is enough still open to make a day trip from London worth the cost and time?
Is it basically all closed down?
I've read in Rick's London 2014 that even during the exam closure period, the "main sights" stay open. I'm trying to get a more precise idea of what is open during the closure period? I've tried going to the "colleges" many websites (realizing there are many colleges there) but have found it difficult to get precise information there. So in the end I'm trying to figure out if enough is open to make a day trip from London interesting, despite the general closure of the colleges during exams?

Posted by
2023 posts

Several years ago we went to Cambridge in May and it was exam period and we were not aware of it. Everything was closed to visitors including King's College Chapel. We walked through the village, visited a church, and ate at a pub. We chose not to do the punting on the river. I would definitely check on these closures-things may have changed since our visit. Oxford could be an option if you have not been. We loved it and spent a day there.

Posted by
25165 posts

Similar closures at all the colleges in Oxford during exams and the lead-up to them.

Posted by
248 posts

Thank you Susan and Nigel for your replies, which helped clarify for me the extent of the exam period closures and that it is not just Cambridge but also Oxford.

Posted by
248 posts

In case any other travelers are planning to visit Cambridge during the exam period, I wanted to report back that it appears, from the King's College website, that the King's College Chapel will be open during the exam period, although the grounds will be closed.

Posted by
248 posts

Abe, thank you, your post was helpful because, although I've already studied the websites of King's College Chapel and Trinity/Wren Library, I had not found the website you provided which is helpful.

So far in my research, I've gotten the impression that the extent of Cambridge University closures is substantial, during the May exam period. I'm continuing my research and have even e-mailed the Porter at Trinity Library about access there during the closure period.

I was looking forward to seeing the usual Cambridge sights, and also seeing places particularly associated with graduates/faculty such as Newton, Darwin, Hawking, and the many others. What a fascinating history!

Haven't yet decided whether the closures during May are to the extent that make a day trip from London not worth it, during exam period, which appears to last all of May.