The majority of interviews will be held in Downing College, most likely in one of the interviewer’s rooms.
The only cases where interviews are not held on site are in some of the smaller subjects where one of the interviewers works in another college or department. If this is the case, you will be given clear directions to where your interview is taking place or current undergraduates will escort you to your interview.
If you haven’t visited Cambridge before your interview and are unfamiliar with the city, please take a look at the information below.
You can also find links to maps and plans on our contact page.
From Cambridge train station
The station isn’t in the centre of town, but it is within walking distance to Downing - it will take about 20 minutes to walk here but do make sure you leave enough time to check in at Downing and find out where your first interview is!
- Come out of the station and walk down Station Road, which is directly ahead of you upon leaving the station. When you get to the end of Station Road, turn right onto Hills Road. Keep walking along Hills Road towards the town centre, crossing straight over the main junction with Lensfield Road/Gonville Place where Hills Road becomes Regent Street. Keep straight ahead on Regent Street until you come to Starbucks on the left. Downing is the next entrance on the left, through the large gates. The Porters' Lodge is immediately on your left as you go into Downing College.
By bus or taxi
If you prefer not to walk, there’s a bus stop at the station. You need either the C1, C3 or C7 and should ask for the Regent Street or the Fountain pub stop. Bus routes and timetables are here: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/buses/bus-timetables/
Alternatively, you could get a taxi from the station taxi rank, which is just outside the station.
From the coach station
Most coaches stop alongside Parker’s Piece (large expanse of grass with a cycle/foot path).
Walk across Parker’s Piece towards the University Arms Hotel and Downing is on the opposite side of the road through the large gates.
Driving to Downing College
Traffic in and around Cambridge is notoriously bad by UK standards, so leave plenty of time if you plan to drive.
There are good Park and Ride facilities in five locations outside the city centre. If you drive into the city centre there are two main car parks, Queen Anne Terrace and Grand Arcade.
Downing College can only offer car parking for candidates with disabilities. To request this, please contact the Admissions Officer.
Stansted is the closest airport to Cambridge and many internal flights fly to and from here.
Stansted is connected to Cambridge via a regular bus service and two direct trains per hour.
Arriving at the college
On arrival at Downing College, go to the Porters' Lodge where you will be given directions to the interview candidates’ waiting room.
At the waiting room the undergraduate interview helpers will ask you for your name and check your ID; they will show you where your interviews and tests (if applicable) will take place and help you with any questions you may have.
You can use the interview waiting room whenever you want during the day, it will be open from 8.30am until the last interview of the day has finished, and there will be staff and current students for you to talk to, newspapers to read and information about Downing and Cambridge. If you have parents/friends with you, they are also welcome to use the waiting room. You may leave bags in the waiting room but you do so at your own risk.
Remember that almost everyone else coming up for interview will be nervous and won’t know anyone either. Some people make lifelong friends with the people they meet while waiting for their interviews!
You will have more than one interview. All of these, as well as your test (if applicable) will all take place on the same day. If you are travelling a particularly long distance or from overseas, then Downing will try to offer you overnight accommodation and any meals you will need. You will receive information about applying for accommodation with your invitation to interview letter.
When planning your journey, arrange to set off in plenty of time. If you are running late, remember to phone the Admissions Office on 01223 334826.
We do understand that trains are sometimes cancelled, that traffic jams happen, and that travelling by public transport may occasionally be an unduly stressful experience, and so will try to make alternative arrangements for you if you are late, as long as you let us know.
What to wear
This is one aspect of the interview that some candidates really do worry too much about. In short, it doesn’t matter what you wear and the best guide to follow is wear what you feel comfortable in. Downing does not expect you to buy a new suit for your interview, and you are not being assessed on your fashion sense. Interviewers want to know your intellectual capabilities, not whether you prefer Top Shop or H&M.
Most people wear smart/casual. Don’t wear something that you are tempted to fiddle with if you are nervous because it could distract the interviewers, and don’t wear something uncomfortable because it will stop you concentrating properly. Remember it is winter, so wear something warm enough! Paths at Downing College are mostly gravel - so suitable footwear is recommended.
Financial support for interview travel costs
To enable applicants to come to interview in Cambridge, the Colleges are pleased to provide support for travel costs to students who are in local authority care and/or are currently in receipt of free school meals and who attend a UK maintained sector school/college. Public transport travel costs between £20 and £80 will be reimbursed, and the Colleges will contact eligible applicants directly with further information when they’re invited to interview.