The College, the University, and the City of Cambridge

the city of cambridge

You probably visited Cambridge on one of the open days when you were applying so you may be familiar with some of the university buildings, but Cambridge is so much more. Being a university city, with students taking up a large part of its population, Cambridge is a very vibrant and lively city, full of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. You will have a tour of the city with your college parents, so we won’t bother you with much detail but here are some of the main pointers:

Grocery shops

  • Sainsbury’s, 42-45 Sidney St. is the main big supermarket, and is close to Queens’
  • Multiple small Sainsbury’s/Tescos/etc around the town
  • ALDI, Histon Rd (Biking or bus distance)
  • Tesco Superstore, Newmarket Rd (Biking or bus distance)
  • Marks & Spencer, Market Square (check out discounts at 5pm!)

Dorm and living supplies

  • Grand Arcade Shopping Centre: John Lewis, Tiger…
  • Grafton Centre: Poundland, Primark, Wilko…
  • Sidney St: Lakeland, Ryman, Sainsbury’s…

It is also super easy to have things from Amazon, eBay, etc. shipped to college – the porters will collect any parcels and email you to let you know.

getting around

Luckily, Queens’ is one of the centrally located colleges. Most of the university sites are within walking distance, but that will depend on your subject (check with your subject contacts!) and on extracurricular activities/hobbies you sign up for (eg. the boat houses are quite far). Students are not allowed to have cars at uni, so naturally biking is the main mode of transportation (NB. you can also use city buses should your lectures and supervisions be extra far).


  • Bring your own bike if you can, but nothing too expensive (unfortunately, bike theft is a thing). You can also very easily buy a used (or new bike) when here, but be careful to check it properly first!
  • You need a good lock.
  • There is a bike shed in college where you can keep your bike for the whole of your studies – just register it with the porters.
  • Almost all sites have places to lock your bikes.
  • Safety first! A lot of people cycle, but there are still cars and tourists. You need to have lights on your bike, and you should wear a helmet. A bell can also come in handy (to scare off tourists…)