At Gonville & Caius College, we welcome visitors, students, staff and academics of all abilities.
This webpage details some of the challenges of moving around our sites, which include ancient buildings. Please plan any visit in advance, and liaise with the relevant group under 'Contact Details'. A downloadable PDF version of this document (without images) is available by clicking on this sentence.
This page is being updated, with photos added. Please contact Head of Communications Matt McGeehan on firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or requests to add information to this page.
- Contact details
We encourage guests and members to make telephone contact wherever possible as we find it is more effective in resolving queries, due to the age and complexity of our sites. Porters, conference and admission staff know the sites well and can usually offer prompt and practical advice. Do call us!
- Students and prospective students are asked to make contact via the admissions team to ensure their requirements can be logged and any implications for wider University engagement considered alongside requirements at Caius.
- Visitors and conference guests are asked to contact the conference office if they have any concerns about access to accommodation or to conference, meeting or dining rooms.
Porters’ Lodge, Trinity Street, Cambridge, CB2 1TA
- Location, Services and Transport
Our Old Courts (click to view the site map) are in Cambridge city centre. It is 0.4 miles to each of the Downing Site and New Museums Site on pedestrianised routes, the Sidgwick Site is 0.7 miles and the University Library is 0.7 miles. The West Cambridge site is 1.6 miles away.
Our West Road (click to view the site map) site is situated to the south west of the city, adjacent to the Cambridge University’s Sidgwick site and 0.3 miles from the University Library. Most undergraduate first years and conference guests are housed here. West Road is 0.6 miles from Old Courts.
To view the route between Old Courts and West Road click on this sentence. Please note: Garret Hostel Lane Bridge (pictured below) is steep (some cyclists dismount to go over it).
Postgraduate students are housed in various clustered smaller properties, the majority of which are around Harvey Road, close to the City railway station.
A location map can be found on our website under the discover tab, following the link to city map and directions.
Traffic access and parking
At our Old Courts traffic is restricted along Trinity Street on weekdays from 10am–4pm, reflecting busy pedestrian and bicycle based traffic. Taxis are currently able to pick up/drop off at the end of King’s Parade, around 100 metres from the Porters’ Lodge. As at November 2019 the City Council are considering plans to amend this access. This advice will be updated as and when changes take place. Several short stay disabled bays are currently designated on King’s Parade. Due to the historic preservation of this part of Cambridge, pavements are narrow and road surfaces are often cobbled and uneven.
At West Road there are no traffic access restrictions. Parking within our site is only available on a pre-arranged basis, with up to two spaces for students possible by permit. Porters can advise on how to arrange parking, as the permission process is contingent on the duration required, the time of year and the reason for the need. On street parking spaces are available opposite subject to a maximum four-hour time restriction from Monday to Sunday between 9am-5pm daily on a pay and display basis. Outside these hours the parking is free and unrestricted.
Parking in the Harvey Road area is subject to a residential parking zone. Some pay and display bays are available, with a good number on St Paul’s Road.
Services and shops
Cambridge City Centre has a good and varied selection of retail and food service outlets. Accessibility varies as some have stepped access where based in listed buildings. Many have step free access. Cobbles are common and the city centre is busy, which can present challenges, but much of the retail area is pedestrian/cycle access only.
Other transport options
The City Bus station is 0.3 miles from Old Courts. Bus timetables can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.
Park and Ride buses to Madingley Road P&R stop on Bridge Street opposite St John’s College, approximately six minutes/0.3 miles from the Old Courts.
Uni 4 and Citi 4 buses leave from West Road, under 100m from the West Road Porter’s Lodge.
Cambridge (main) railway station is 1.3 miles to the south. Buses (Citi 7) run from the station up Hills Road/Regent Street to the main City Bus station (taking about 22 minutes). Train timetables can be found at nationalrail.co.uk.
- General information
Caius student body numbers around 525 undergraduates and over 300 postgraduates. Gonville & Caius is an older College, founded in 1348. As a result it has many listed buildings.
Buildings in the Old Courts are rarely equipped with lifts and stepped access is common, although ramps have been fitted to key access routes and public rooms, of which more details are given below. The ramp between Tree Court and Caius Court is pictured above.
Buildings in West Road are 20th and 21st century in origin and have good accessibility, with a number of bedrooms that are DDA compliant, with lift access to those rooms, and lifts or ramps to the relevant communal spaces. The entrance to The Stephen Hawking Building is pictured below.
The College Nursing team offers appointments at the Health Centre in U staircase Tree Court on weekdays during full term and covers a broad range of health and welfare issues. They can be contacted on tel. 01223 332421, email email@example.com and details are available via the Venn intranet site to members of College and staff.
Visitors are asked to advise the Porters' Lodge if they may need help evacuating in an emergency so Porters can offer support. Those staying overnight will have a personal evacuation plan put in place. The College has six evacuation chairs located around the estate, three in the Old Courts and four in the Harvey Court site. These are stored in the main communal areas such as the Dining Hall.
- Accommodation and Catering
In the Old Courts one student room has been adapted for wheelchair use, with a wet room and small adapted kitchen, pictured left. The door to the room opens inwards and is 0.8m wide, the door handle is 1m from the ground. The kitchen worktop is 0.8m high.
On West Road the Stephen Hawking Building, built in 2005, has one DDA compliant room on the ground floor, pictured below, and four rooms with loops for hearing impairment across ground, first and second floors. These contain en-suite bathrooms and small adapted kitchenettes with adjustable height surfaces. All floors are served by a DDA compliant lift. Conference/social areas within this building are accessible either via external path or via an internal lift. Entry to this building is via access card, but has manually operated, quite heavy, doors.
Harvey Court has two converted rooms, one with an automated door, both with en-suite bathrooms and small adapted kitchenette. These are on floors accessible by two DDA compliant lifts situated in the north-west and south east corners of the building. Some floors are however only accessible vis staircases due to the 1960s design of the building. Conference/social areas within this building are accessible via an external path and then an internal ramp at an angle of 3° for lower parts of the JCR. Entry to this building is via key card and the door opening is automated.
The College routinely houses first year undergraduate students in the two West Road buildings detailed above. After the first year of study rooms are selected by ballot and may be in locations around the city. Any support provisions required by individual students will be discussed with Tutors and the Accommodation Office at that time. Early contact is advisable for those with concerns regarding transportation and/or access requirements.
Postgraduate student accommodation is clustered in a collection of Victorian housing in and around Harvey Road, close to the station. At the current time there are no rooms with step free access within this campus as all the houses in this conservation area have stepped entrances. Postgraduates with access requirements are offered rooms in the West Road buildings described above.
Live-in assistants, assistance dogs and emotional support animals
Live-in assistants are a possibility, but are not routine for the College and would need discussion well in advance of arrival.
Assistance dogs would also be a possibility with prior discussion, please contact the Accommodation Office in the first instance.
Requests to bring an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) onto University and/or College property will not normally be granted but would be considered on a case by case basis. Decisions to allow (or not to allow) an ESA onto University and/or College property will take into account relevant factors, such as the reasons for the request and supporting medical evidence, the health, safety and welfare of members and staff of and visitors to the University and/or the College, arrangements to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the ESA and of other animals, adequacy of training, insurance arrangements, the cost implications of any agreed arrangements and, where appropriate, laboratory requirements, licence conditions and any other relevant considerations.
Early induction and vacation stays
Early induction is possible with sufficient notice. Staying over vacation periods is also possible, but as rooms are used for other visitors to College (who may themselves have mobility support needs) students may on rare occasions be asked to move rooms. This will be avoided where possible.
Breakfast and lunch are available daily, either in the ground floor Bar or second floor Dining Hall, and dinner is a served meal in the Dining Hall. For undergraduates there is a minimum dining requirement of 36 meals a term, which is proportionately reduced for postgraduates. Applications for special consideration must be made via a student’s tutor. This system aims to bring the student body together regularly as a community.
Access room by room is described below.
In general, gyp rooms (a common Cambridge College name for a kitchenette facility) throughout the estate are small. They will contain a kettle, toaster and microwave. Larger gyps contain induction hobs. Ovens are not normally provided. In undergraduate accommodation they are not suitable for self-catering as the majority of term time meals are eaten communally in the Dining Hall. As of January 2021 the Dining Hall is accessible by lift with DDA toilet facilities available. Wheelchair accessible rooms in the Stephen Hawking Building and Harvey Court have adaptable height kitchen facilities.
The College supports all current legislation on food labelling and seeks to minimise risks from common allergens (eg nuts) in food preparation. The College’s food allergy policy is available by clicking on this sentence.
Other dietary restrictions on religious or health grounds are supported wherever possible. It should be noted that the kitchens feed around 400 students and Fellows nightly at dinner during Full Term and therefore not all requirements can be met. Students on induction are asked to note restrictions in the online Meal Booking System that governs bookings for dinner. A card system operates in order to identify diners in Hall. Students with needs that cannot be met may speak to their Tutor to request alternative arrangements, but as noted above, fully self-catering facilities are not provided in undergraduate accommodation.
- Physical access
College grounds - exterior
Old Courts (click to view the site map): There is a step free level entrance through the main gate. When the College is closed to visitors (commonly during the busy tourist season) access through the Porters’ Lodge is up a single step each way, but a bell can be rung and the Porters will open the main gate to permit step free access. Access between Caius and Gonville Court is level. Access from Tree to Caius Court is ramped at an angle of 4° and a width of 1.1m with a handrail, pictured below. Surfaces are generally York flagstones, with some irregularity due to age, and with cobbles to each side of the main pathway.
Students are not permitted to walk on the Old Courts lawns.
West Road (click to view the site map): The Porters’ Lodge is in a separate building adjacent to the car park entry point. Access to the Lodge is level with a fully glazed door opening outwards with a width of 0.8m. The Porters are always on location to assist if required. Around Harvey Court and the Stephen Hawking Building paths are either flat (gravel or tarmac laid) or where stepped edges exist ramped access points are available. Most paths through the gardens to the rear of these properties are laid with loose gravel surfaces.
Students are permitted on the West Road main lawns.
College buildings in general
Access to most buildings on main College site is possible, if sometimes a bit difficult. The new Stephen Hawking Building and Harvey Court on West Road have good, flat access. The Stephen Hawking Building has fully glazed manually operated entrance doors, leading to lift access to upper floors. Harvey Court has automatically operated double entrance doors, pictured above.
Old Courts (Gonville Court): Undercroft
The Undercroft is the entrance point to most social and catering areas of College listed below. The entrance to the Undercroft is shown on the Old Courts site map at the letter F, which can be found on the website under the discover tab (click to download PDF). It is also pictured above. The two sets of paired entry doors open outwards to the Court for fire escape purposes which can be difficult to navigate in a wheelchair. They are narrow 1m double width doors with visibility panels at 1.4m height above floor level (too high to see a wheelchair on the other side). No automated opening is fitted, handles are 1.1m from the ground and doors can be held open by hooks to the outside wall. When social events are planned in College these doors are commonly hooked open or staff are on hand to assist in passage.
Old Courts (Gonville Court): Bar, Red and Green Rooms
Level access to the Bar from the Undercroft is through a corridor which is 1m at its narrowest point. The bar is fairly small inside, with tables and moveable stools. There is a low bar counter at 1.04m.
The Green and Red Rooms form a loop, including the Bar. Access to the Green Room from the Undercroft is level, the door width is 1m, , pictured right. Access to the Red Room from the Green Room is level with a double door width of 1.6m. Access from the Bar to the Red Room is a single step approx 12 cm high (not ramped) with a door width of 1.6 m. Alternatively level access to the Red Room is available from Caius Court through ramped double outside doors which push and stay open with a width of 1.9m and a visibility panel at 0.8m from the ground, with a left turn to a single door of 1.1m, not automated, into the Red Room.
All these rooms have mobile furnishing and seating and access may be affected by day to day layouts. If the College is aware of the needs of an individual, adjustments will be made where possible.
Old Courts (Gonville Court): Bateman Auditorium
Access to the Auditorium is either through the Old Courts from the Porters’ Lodge or, by prior arrangement, via a door from Senate House Passage. From Caius Court access is level, albeit on uneven York flagstones, through a wide 0.95m access door (not powered but routinely hooked open ahead of performances and presentations). From Senate House Passage, access is up a small step and through a door 0.85m wide. Seating is tiered but places for wheelchair users can be made available as a front row. Due to the orientation of the facility this is directly on entry to the Auditorium. The nearest accessible toilets are in Gonville Court.
Old Courts (Gonville Court): Meeting and dining rooms – Bateman Room, Junior Parlour, Senior Parlour, Fellows’ Dining Room
The Bateman Room has six steps to entry from both doors, each one is 0.9m wide.
The Junior Parlour has step free access. The external double doors push and stay open with a width of 1m. The visibility panel is 0.8m from the ground. After turning left, a second entry door with a width of 0.8m leads to the carpeted Junior Parlour. There is a flat stone flooring between the 2 doors. The arrangement of furniture within the room may need adjustment if seeking to accommodate AV equipment and a wheelchair user. The table height is 0.5m.
The Senior Parlour and Fellows’ Dining Room may usually be accessed using the Fellows’ lift but until the completion of the kitchen refurbishment project in late summer 2020 this lift is unfortunately not available. Users of the lift pass through the SCR to reach these dining rooms. There are a significant number of doors, with a minimum width being the door between the SCR and the Senior Parlour with a width of 0.7m. There is a double step up to the Senior Parlour and if necessary, a ramp can be provided. The table height is 0.7m. None of the doors are on automatic opening systems and assistance may be needed to pass through them. With prior notice staff can make arrangements to secure doors open or to support transit.
Toilets are provided for Fellows and their guests adjacent to the SCR. Access is step free and a disabled toilet is provided with a door width of 0.8m.
Old Courts (Gonville/Caius Court): Chapel
Level access through two sets of double doors. The wooden external doors are 1.07m wide and the internal double doors are 1.4 m wide with a visibility panel at 0.9m from the ground. Usually one door of each set is bolted and Porters are always on hand for assistance to unbolt these doors if required. Level throughout, with fixed pews but some ground floor seating. Space for a wheelchair can be provided alongside front pews.
Old Courts (Gonville Court): Common rooms
Both the Middle (MCR) and Junior (JCR) Common Rooms are on the ground floor, with 1m wide doors and access ramps fitted respectively at a 4° angle, pictured right. Both rooms are spacious but furniture placement may affect access.
Post is delivered to pigeonholes within these rooms or in the corridors leading to the Bar from the Undercroft. Large parcels are to be collected from the Porters’ Lodge in the Old Courts. An email based notification system is in place and assistance can be given where necessary.
Old Courts (Tree, Gonville, Caius and St Michael’s/St Mary’s Courts): College offices and supervision rooms
Most College offices are on the ground floor, but up or down several steps. Staff will meet in other College locations by arrangement.
Supervisions, both at Caius and elsewhere within the Collegiate University, routinely take place in Fellows’ rooms. Alternative arrangements can be made with prior notice to the Tutorial Office and/or the relevant Fellow. Caius has five wheelchair accessible supervision rooms, three on the top floor (lift access) of the Stephen Hawking Building and two on the ground floor of Harvey Court. A further supervision room in St Michael’s Court has single step access and access to St Michael’s Court is down a curved ramp at an angle of 5° and through an automated gate 1.7m wide.
Old Courts (Gonville Court): Dining Hall (including cafeteria service)
Lunch and dinner are routinely served in Hall. Sunday to Monday dinners are served by staff. Saturday dinners and all lunch times are self-service through the cafeteria servery area. Access to Hall is via a wide staircase with handrails, on both the student and Fellows’ sides. Lift access to Hall level either requires use of the Gallery lift within the kitchen demise (by prior arrangement only) or for guests of Fellows a small lift is available. The Fellows’ lift has been refurbished during 2020/21 and will be available from Michaelmas 2021.
The Servery floor is smooth and level, with low serving counters, but narrow.
Hall floor is on two levels – Fellows’ High table is a step above the main floor of Hall. A moveable ramp can be deployed to support movement between each level. However when Hall is fully occupied [capacity 220] it is not possible to leave the ramp in situ. Access to the lower part of Hall is then only possible by the Gallery lift (by prior arrangement).
A disabled toilet is accessible via the Fellows’ lift as part of the Senior Combination Rooms; and another, newly built as part of the 2020 kitchen refurbishment project, is accessible via the Gallery lift.
Old Courts (Cockerell Building): Library
The main entrance is on the first floor, with around ten steps up from street level on Senate House Passage. Once within the building the main route to the Library is up a wide staircase with handrail.
Access for those with restricted mobility is via a lift from the rear entrance, door width of 0.8m, on the corner of Senate House Passage and Trinity Lane, pictured above. The entry door is not the normal one used by students and Fellows, but a lesser known door to its right. Several steps down to lift, with a small wheelchair lift to one side of the steps. There are double glazed doors to the main corridor and the lift is the first door on the right. It is an eight person, 550kg capacity lift. Plans to enlarge it are currently in evolution, the challenge being to expand the lift shaft within this beautiful listed building sufficiently to meet DDA requirements. Two levels of shelving exist in the Upper Library, but only the lower one is accessible by lift. The Librarian can assist with access and loans of individual books. Proximity card access applies throughout, but doors are manual in operation. Spacious and carpeted with working desks on the main library floor at height of 0.8m.
West Road (Harvey Court): JCR/cafeteria/breakfast room
The main entrance to the JCR, alongside A block, has wide automated doors. A ramp exists for access to the full JCR as one section of the floor is lower than the rest. Doors through to the breakfast room/cafeteria area are manual but are held open during meal service. Access throughout the Harvey Court social areas is level and smooth.
West Road (Cavonius Centre): Cavonius Centre
The route to the main entrance to the Cavonius Centre is step free. The external doors, pictured above, are proximity card access operated but manual in operation. Two further doors follow to access the Centre which are routinely held open when events are taking place. A disabled toilet is provided adjacent to the Centre but requires the use of a short platform lift to reach the main ground floor level of the building.
Old Courts (Cockerell Building): Computer facilities
The computer room and printer facility is in the basement of the library, accessed via the rear door from Senate House Passage and small wheelchair lift.
West Road (Harvey Court): Computer facilities
The computer room and printer is on the ground floor of Harvey Court and is accessed through a fully glazed door that opens inwards and is 1m wide.
West Road (Harvey Court): Laundry facilities
Laundry rooms in Harvey Court are on the ground floor accessible via a service corridor. The door to the corridor is 0.89m wide and opens outwards with a handle 0.85m from the ground. Domestic Assistants can assist with washing for students by prior arrangement and contact should be made with Housekeeping to discuss this.
West Road (Harvey Court): Gym
There is a gym located on the ground floor of Harvey Court and some equipment is designed for those in wheelchairs. Level wheelchair access is via the double external doors, 2.3m wide, which can be opened with prior arrangement with the Porters.
Sportsground (Barton Road)
The sports fields are on Barton Road. The Pavilion, dating back from the 1890s, can be accessible by use of temporary ramps with a 5° angle with prior arrangement with the Groundsman on 01223 350590. Although possible, access will be difficult for wheelchair users as the pavilion is located at the back of the playing field with a large expanse of grass in front of it and the pavilion itself is surrounded by a gravel path. The ramp will provide access to the front area of the Pavilion where refreshments are served, but unfortunately, our current toilet facilities are too small for use with a wheelchair.
There are two squash courts on the Sportsfield which are not accessible for wheelchair users, the doorways are narrow.
There are two tennis courts with access gates of 1m wide with flat access to the courts.
Future works considerations for the sportsground include making a purpose built, permanent, ramp for entry to the Pavilion and the building of a separate toilet block accessible by all. The views of members of the College and their guests on this are welcomed – please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boathouse: (Ferry Path)
The Boathouse gym is accessed by a wide stair of over 20 steps with handrail. No lift is available. The Boathouse itself has wide bay doors and step free access to reach the wide range of rowing boats held by the College. Please contact the Boatman for further details on 01223 763081 or email email@example.com.
Accessible toilets are located as below. Toilets in the main around the estates accommodation and social area are single cubicle and hence gender neutral. Accessible facilities labelled explicitly to confirm gender neutral use are marked with an * below, but single user toilets and disabled toilets throughout the Estates are non gendered:
- Gonville Court: mezzanine level within the SCR access via small (non DDA compliant) lift
- Gonville Court: basement level below Hall access via small (non DDA compliant) lift
- *Gonville Court: Ground floor, adjacent to B Staircase (pictured above; level access from Gonville Court, not Tree Court).
- Cockerell Building: In library (near the lift)
- Stephen Hawking Building: Adjacent to Cavonius Centre, accessed via short-journey lift, and 3rd Floor opposite lift
- Harvey Court:
- Ground floor Adjacent to Computer Room
- Near Room B14, accessed via lift
- *Ground floor in JCR main toilet block (pictured below)
- Visual impairments
Assistance dogs are welcome. Please provide notice to the Porters so that we can support your dog’s comfort as needed, especially in the Old Courts where garden access is restricted. Students wishing to bring assistance dogs are asked to contact Tutorial at the time of application to the College.
Special hardware or software for visually impaired student users is acquired as and when necessary. Requests should be routed through the Tutorial team in the first instance.
Large print, Braille and audio
Large print letters and information can be provided on request to the department issuing the information.
Library and magnification equipment
There are no special facilities in place for text enlargement currently.
Signs and wayfinding
No directional signposting, except for specific events, but most staircases are clearly marked. The main site is small.
Steps and stairs
Most steps and stairs are unmarked, but generally have handrails. Due to the nature of our older buildings, step heights within the Old Courts buildings are often irregular where stones are slipped or worn. All users are asked to take care and pay appropriate attention when moving around College buildings. Mock and other exams are arranged by individual supervisors from time to time. Details of accessibility and other special arrangements for examinations are arranged by the Tutorial office and students are asked to make early contact with that office to ensure needs are reflected, this is covered in the information provided to new students on joining the College. Fellows arranging in house examinations are asked to liaise with the Tutorial office where they are aware of students in their teaching groups requiring specialist support, students needing such support should speak to their DoS or tutor in the first instance.
- Hearing impairments
Induction loops are in place at:
- Both Porters Lodges’
- Bateman Auditorium
- Cavonius Centre
Students in College accommodation that wish to do so are welcome to make their domestic assistance or landlady aware if they have specific concerns regarding hearing impairments.
The DDA accommodation in the Stephen Hawking Building and in Harvey Court have both visual and sensory alarms. A Braille version of Fire Action Plan is held and available for use on request. Vibrating pillows are available on request from the West Road Porters’ Lodge.
Visitors are restricted, so the College is generally quiet internally. This control is even tighter during the Easter term leading to exams. Gonville Court, as a social area, can be noisier, and rooms facing outwards to the City centre or located above retail streets in the city centre do experience noise. The Library in particular is designed to absorb noise and is staffed to ensure occupants respect quiet working.
- Specific Learning Difficulties and Mental Health Issues
Arrangements for students with Specific Learning Difficulties are on an individual basis, in conjunction with the Disability Resource Centre. Please discuss your needs with your tutor and/or with the admissions staff prior to arrival.
- Planned Access Improvements
Access improvements will be made as and when they are needed.
For the Cockerell Building/Library: Plans to enlarge the lift are currently in evolution, the challenge being to expand the lift shaft within this beautiful listed building sufficiently to meet DDA requirements.
The information on these pages is the responsibility of Gonville & Caius College. This page was last updated as shown in the footer and all information was correct at that time. However from time to time lifts require repairs or maintenance, and rooms and routes may be closed for private functions. To ensure the information contained here is current, and that your visit to Caius is as comfortable as possible, please check with Gonville & Caius College Porters’ Lodge before arrival.