What's it like

We are proud of our College and our community

Hughes Hall Today

Hughes Hall has a vibrant, international, and friendly academic atmosphere. We welcome graduate students and mature undergraduates from diverse backgrounds in all areas of study and research, and offer a range of scholarships and bursaries. Coming to Hughes Hall means joining world-class academics, making lifelong friends, and becoming part of a global network, all supporting one another to make a difference around the world.

Our history

The oldest graduate college, Hughes Hall was established in 1885, but we wear our history lightly. We are known today as a progressive College, bridging the academic and external worlds with an informal atmosphere. A distinctive aspect of life at Hughes is our friendly and inclusive culture; and everyone is allowed to walk – or relax – on the grass!

Our students

We are one of only three Cambridge colleges for mature students, so everyone here is at least 21. We admit the most postgraduates in Cambridge as well as nearly 200 undergraduates every year. And we are proudly multinational, with students from more than 80 countries. Everyone at Hughes has arrived by a different route, with a different background, and brings different experiences, strengths and stories to their studies. That’s what makes life here so varied and fulfilling. The gates to our Gresham Court accommodation were sculpted by a well-known architectural blacksmith – the 117 marigolds represent all the different countries that our students have come from. We are very proud of our diversity.


Hughes Hall is an oasis of calm and tranquillity. Right in the heart of Cambridge, we provide a relaxing and stimulating environment for your studies and research. Our College buildings run alongside the University’s Cricket Ground and around the corner is lively Mill Road, known for its cafes, restaurants, bars, vintage clothes, and international supermarkets. We are halfway between the railway station and market square, a 10-minute bike ride from most university departments, and 5 minutes from punting on the river Cam, and Midsummer Common’s famous cows.


We have some of the best accommodation at Cambridge, and offer both traditional and modern College rooms with kitchen facilities, and one of the highest number of en suites. Plus there are roof terraces, couples’ flats, city houses, accessible rooms, and some fabulous views across the cricket field. We prioritise our first-year students, and those taking longer courses, for College accommodation, although you’re welcome to find your own rooms if you prefer.


Our Library is a beautifully light and airy space overlooking the lawns. Open 24/7, it has 60 study spaces on two floors, and step-free access. We have 9,000 books, computing and copying facilities, and two experienced librarians to help you find and use information resources for your studies, and develop your research skills.


Everyone in our community can eat together in a grand modern dining hall, its tall windows overlooking the cricket field. Our food is considered some of the best dining at the University. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner here every weekday; and at weekends, come for our popular brunch, or a Sunday roast. Two nights a week, we hold traditional Formal Halls. Some are themed to mark special occasions like Chinese New Year, LGBTQ month, or Thanksgiving. Unlike other Colleges, we don’t have a High Table reserved for Fellows. Our students, Seniors, staff and guests all eat together so it’s a great opportunity to chat to everyone in our community.

Events and entertainment

You’ll be invited to lots of events around your subject area, both inside and outside college including supervisions, dinners, research showcase evenings, seminars, career events, panel discussions, and large symposia and receptions, organised by both students and Fellows. Hughes Hall also has many sports clubs, societies, and social events; plus a college gym, a Steinway piano, and a varied music programme. We have a particularly strong tradition in rowing and rugby, with representatives in the Boat Race and Varsity matches, although most of our students join clubs for fun, fitness and friendship.

Alongside your departmental work, your week might include a badminton match, a fireside chat on banking, Halloween Formal Hall, rowing for the first time, and a lively night in the College bar. Or just a walk around the college gardens and a good book – what you take from Hughes Hall is up to you! But you cannot miss the May ball!


It is important to us that you can excel in your studies as well as broadening your horizons. And that you can do this with a smile, whilst feeling comfortable, secure, well supported, and surrounded by people who want you to thrive. At Hughes Hall, we place a great deal of value on our welfare provision and have a tutorial team dedicated to your wellbeing, as well as a college nurse and counsellor. We are always here to help you navigate the peculiarities of the Cambridge system.

Make a difference

Our students tell us we are the friendliest College in Cambridge, but Hughes Hall is unique for lots of reasons. Many of our fellows come from the wider world, bringing experience in business, policymaking, and philanthropy to college life. We combine this with the expertise of our researchers through our Bridge initiative and have launched exciting research centres – in education technologies, climate change, oracy, and digital innovation – all providing a platform for you to make a mark, make connections, and to make a difference.

We are here to help you build on the experiences and achievements of your past … to offer a springboard for a brilliant future … and to provide a welcoming home for today. We look forward to seeing you soon!

To read what our students think about Hughes Hall and why they chose the College, see In their own words.

To find out more, click here to see a video about the College