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Accessibility Guides

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We have partnered with AccessAble to produce a detailed accessibility guide to the College.
This guide provides facts, figures and photographs to enable everyone – whether visiting, studying or teaching at Girton – to plan and enjoy their visit with their accessibility questions answered. The guide provides details, including parking, accessible routes to nearly all College locations, walking distances, hearing loops and accessible toilets. With further additions coming shortly, both the main site and Swirles Court will be comprehensively covered in the guide over the next few weeks.

The Accessibility Guide can be reached online:

View our personalised accessibility guide for College members and visitors (Last updated: September 2019). 

To see the University of Cambridge building access guide, visit: 

For Girton College

General Information:

580 undergraduates and 200 postgraduates. c 70 Fellows and c 100 staff. College is based on two sites: the main site near Girton and a new residential community at Swirles Court, at Eddington (see separate entry).

Most facilities at the main College are ground floor and accessible. Two manual wheelchairs and one electric wheelchair are available to borrow from the Porters’ Lodge.


No smoking anywhere except at the external designated smoking area near the Maintenance building. No Vaping except in the Vaping area at Hyphen arch.

Medical facilities

  • Two part-time nurses hold a weekday surgery for students during term (t: +44 (0)1223 338937). The Health and Welfare Centre is on the ground floor down one step, (temporary ramp available) or contact via the Porters’ Lodge.]
  • All Porters are first aiders and are on duty 24/7 throughout the year.
  • The nearest GP surgery is at 1, Huntingdon Road which also has a satellite surgery in Girton Village. 

Emergency procedures and Alarms

Advise Porters’ Lodge on arrival if you will need help evacuating in an emergency.  Evacuation chairs are fitted where there are wheelchair accessible rooms above ground floor level, where lift access is the norm. Speak to the Head Porter on arrival regarding an individual evacuation plan.

If you think you may not hear the fire alarm, contact the Disability Liaison Officer in advance of your arrival to arrange adaptations to your room or allocation to an adapted room.


Rooms can be adapted as required for hearing impaired students and Fellows, with vibrating pillows and visual alarms and bells.

Live-in assistants and assistance dogs for College Members

Live-in assistant is possible but please discuss well in advance. Live-in dogs are also possible, with large grounds for exercising, but again please discuss well in advance.

Emotional Support Animals:

Requests to bring an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) onto 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 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 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.

Location, Services and Transport

Three miles from the city centre, on Huntingdon Road. Near Girton village.

Traffic Huntingdon Road is very busy, particularly at peak times, as it serves the A14. There is a traffic control crossing point on Huntingdon Road opposite the College. Please note that this is not ideal for wheelchair users. A pedestrian crossing is a few hundred metres from the College near the Girton Road junction with pavements on the College side of the road.

Services and shops

There is a small petrol station/grocery store a short distance away down Huntingdon Road and a small Co-op store in Girton Village, newsagents in Thornton Way. There is a Sainsburys at Eddington.


Plenty of parking on the main site, in both the Cloister Court, Ash Court and the Mares Run Car Park. Designated disabled parking is as follows:

  • Visitor Entrance (ramped access): parking spaces outside the maintenance building. To get to this point visitors need to go through the lodge controlled barrier on the back drive, entrance via Girton Road. Tarmac surface.
  • Cloister Court: adjacent to the ramped access immediately to the left of the entrance – drive through the archway and turn left. Tarmac surface. Access via steps is available under the archway.
  • Ash Court: opposite the end of the colonnade (paved slope and flat reinforced gravel) opposite the entrance to Ash Court (flat reinforced gravel).

Other transport options

Frequent buses to and from the city centre and surrounding area, with a bus stop at Girton Corner. College-booked taxi-returns from the city centre on Thursday and Saturday nights between midnight and 00.10.

Hearing Impairments

Induction loops

Induction loops in all public rooms, Fellows’ rooms and Chapel. Portable loop also available, but arrange in advance.


Rooms are adapted as required for hearing impaired students, with vibrating pillows and visual alarms and bells.


  • Library is generally softly furnished and quiet.
  • There is little traffic noise as the site is set back from the main road.
  • The security system uses flashing lights as well as a sound alarm.
  • Panelling to reduce noise reverberation in Pear Trees and Ash Court corridors.

Visual Impairments 

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs welcome.

Computer facilities

Special hardware or software for visually impaired users can be supplied on request. Various software licences are held.

Large print, Braille and audio

Large print letters and information, and on coloured paper, on request. Touch readable and Braille buttons at intercoms.

Bedroom Lighting 

Please talk to the maintenance department if the lux levels in your bedroom are not sufficient for your needs.

Library and magnification equipment

Good lighting and large windows. Extra lights on desks. Photocopier available for text enlargement. Magnifying glass available, and other equipment can be acquired. The Librarian has attended training sessions at the Disability Resource Centre, and all staff will help as necessary.

Signs and way-finding

Good, clear colour map of the College at the Porters’ Lodge and round College. Clear green on white directional signs around the building. The site is fairly large.


  • Lighting in most main areas has been improved, and steps and stairs have mostly been marked.
  • Stairs generally have continuous handrails.
  • Basement bar has red walls and little natural light.

Specific Learning Difficulties and Mental Health Issues 

  • Girton positively embraces inclusive teaching and learning and the Senior Tutor welcomes suggestions for improvements.
  • Extra tuition can be arranged for students with Specific Learning Difficulties.
  • The College pays for 50% of the costs of spld assessments arranged through the DRC, and will offer further contribution, up to 100% depending on students’ financial means. Discuss with your Tutor.
  • Financial support can also be arranged for assistive  equipment, in conjunction with the Disability Resource Centre
  • Special arrangements, for example borrowing arrangements with the library, and exam arrangements will be made in accordance with students’ support documents.
  • All student arrangements are on an individual basis, in conjunction with the Disability Resource Centre. Discuss your needs with your Tutor.
  • The College provides every student with a personal tutor to oversee their health and well being at Girton and direct them to professional support services as appropriate. Counselling services are also available through the College. For comprehensive information on support available visit our Health and Welfare webpages (link to Health and Welfare pages - Life at Girton).
  • Staff/Fellows: The College has a well being programme with regular events. There is a counselling service for employees. Employees with disabilities will be supported by HR and the Disability Liaison Officer, with assistive technology available through the IT manager.

Physical Access 

College grounds in general

Ramp to Porters’ Lodge, through automatic doors for which a card is available from the Lodge. Cards can be programmed for residents. Most areas level and accessible, with few steps in the grounds. Most areas can be reached under cover of the main building. Some gravel in the grounds. Gravel in the carparks in Ash Court and Mares Run is contained in a cellular grid so reasonably smooth. Main rear access to College is via a ramp to an automatic door and an intercom to the Porters’ Lodge at the Old Kitchens Conference/Visitor entrance. There is also ramped access to Ash Court.

College buildings in general

Most commonly used areas are ground floor and accessible. There are some heavy doors, notably at the Porters’ Lodge stepped entrance (alternative ramped entrance available).  These can be adjusted to stay open on door guards where alternative routes not available. Corridors are mostly smooth and wide. Stairs generally have continuous handrails, although some are rather winding and difficult.


Social Hub Café Bar. Central meeting and social point serving drinks and snacks throughout the day. Bar in the evening. Multiple entrance points, most over 115cm wide. Bar counter at 2 levels (91cm & 113cm). One external exit is 86cm wide and two steps, but wide, level alternatives available. All furniture loose and moveable – tables mostly 74cm high. Well lit with programmable lighting settings and standard lamps for lower light levels. Wifi. Quiet room (Hub club room) within the hub.

1 x Accessible non gendered WC in the Hub + 3 x cubicle (not enclosed at top or bottom) WCs for women and 2 x urinal and 1 x cubicle WC for men. Next nearest non gendered WCS are at the Old Kitchens entrance (or swimming pool changing room when pool is open).

Event Bar in basement, platform lift installed (door 91cm wide) and refuge at basement level.  Sloping floor, high bar counter, (to be changed 2020) and low tables and stools. Quite dimly lit, (coloured lightbulbs) Nearest WCS are upstairs in Hub.

Small event bar at ground level outside Old Kitchens with low counter and moveable chairs, open according to demand. Lots of natural light and well lit. Nearest non gendered WCS at Old kitchens entrance with accessible non gendered WC & baby change just outside FDR.

Cafeteria & Dining Hall

Servery: Ground level access. Very large, smooth and spacious inside. All accessible. Well lit.

Hall:  next door. spacious with  moveable furniture. Fire escape routes maintained on every layout allowing for  wheelchair access also. 1 shallow step to High table. Hard surfaces (wood floors & furniture, wood panelled & brick walls)  so can be noisy for hearing impaired. Lighting is good in daylight hours but quite dark after sunset.  Nearest WCs are 3 x non gendered enclosed WCs at Old kitchens entrance & 1 x non gendered, accessible WC with baby change  just outside FDR. Next nearest WCs are at the Social Hub.

If you prefer a quieter place to eat, the Old kitchens event bar area is usually available, shortcut from the servery with staff assistance.

Queue jump system in place in the cafeteria  – just notify your Tutor about your needs.


Level access, moveable pews and plenty of space for wheelchairs. Lighting fairly low.

College Offices

Porters’ Lodge, Library, House Services, Catering, Conference, IT & HR are all on the ground floor as are most of the teaching rooms and the Health and Welfare Centre. Some  offices, including the Tutorial Office and the  Bursary, are on the first floor with only stair access, but staff will meet on the ground floor by arrangement.

JCR/MCR Welfare room

This is a quiet room on D corridor available on card access. Good lighting, moveable furniture.

Computer facilities

Shared computer rooms on first and second floors, with only stair access.

All study bedrooms are networked.

There are 16 accessible computers ground floor in the Library IT suite

Fellows’ areas

Fellows’ dining room and drawing room (near Old Kitchens entrance) ground floor, level and accessible, with moveable furniture. Polished wooden floors with some fixed rugs.  Accessible WC with baby change  outside and 3 x gender neutral WCs around the corner in Old kitchens.

SCR,  front corridor also level and accessible, with moveable furniture. Nearest level access to SCR corridor is Cloister corridor and Elephants ears (heavy) doors, otherwise old kitchens.


Gardens mostly level and accessible. Some gravel paths and some paving, but no longer any unavoidable cobbles. Some benches. A self guided garden tour with map is available at the lodge.


Laundries all  at ground level and accessible. Located;

  • Ash Court
  • Orchard Wing
  • Woodlands Wing
  • Hospital Wing


Ground level access with doorbell for assistance. Flooring a mixture of wooden and carpeted. Spacious, with plenty of workspace. Staffed whenever open. The Librarian has attended training sessions at the Disability Resource Centre, and all staff will help as necessary. Accessible non gendered   toilet within Library + 1 x non gendered  WC and 1 x wc for women. Books split between ground floor and first floor, with a fetching service provided if needed. Catalogue accessible remotely from the Library’s web page. Renewals possible by email&  phone.

Porters’ Lodge and post room

Ramp with handrail to Porters’ Lodge, through two heavy doors which are held open. Intercom for assistance. Post room next to Porters’ Lodge, level and accessible.

Sport facilities

  • Weights Gym, ground floor has one step down
  • Grassie Squash Court – ground floor, level access
  • Multigym, – ground floor, level access
  • Ergo gym, ground floor, level access
  • Swimming pool- changing rooms and DDA compliant shower room which can also be used for nearby sports halls. Three steps up to the pool – arrangements can be made to use stair climbing wheelchair as required. Hoist for pool basin access at deep end. All swimmers must be accompanied, no lone swimming. Users must be competent swimmers as there is no lifeguard.
  • Tennis courts and sports fields all on site.
  • Sports Pavilion – level access, adapted wc (accessible externally) all changing rooms & referee rooms wheelchair accessible and non gendered


All residential areas have non gendered toilets and bathrooms shared on a maximum of 1 facility per five students.

Various wheelchair accessible non gendered toilets around College, including near Porters’ Lodge, Visitor entrance (with baby changing facilities) JCR corridor, Ash Court swimming pool, Hospital Wing, Sports Pavilion, New Wing D corridor (via  ramp) and in and near the Library.


  • Old Hall meeting room at ground level, spacious, with moveable furniture.  Stage area is via steps, but stage seldom used. Adapted WCs near Porters’ Lodge and Hub.  Nearest non gendered WC is Old Kitchens & swimming pool.
  • Reception room meeting room at ground level, with a large table and moveable chairs. Lighting level quite low as blinds are in place to protect the (floor to ceiling) tapestries from sunlight damage. Adapted WC in Porters’ Lodge. Nearest non gendered WC s are Old Kitchens & swimming pool. 
  • Stanley Library meeting room at ground level, spacious, with moveable furniture. Adapted WC in Porters’ Lodge. Nearest non gendered WC is Old Kitchens & swimming pool.
  • Emily Davies meeting rooms on first floor, with only stair access. Non gendered WC immediately adjacent.
  • Old JCR meeting room at ground level, spacious with moveable furniture – nearest adapted  WC is Visitor entrance. Nearest non gendered WC is at Old kitchens visitor entrance.
  • Chapel Box room at ground level, spacious with moveable furniture.  WC(not adapted) next door. Nearest adapted  WC is Visitor entrance. Nearest non gendered WC is at Old kitchens visitor entrance.
  • Old Kitchens Room at ground level, spacious with moveable furniture, adjacent to adapted WC and non gendered WCs.
  • Social Hub Club Room: Ground floor, moveable furniture, next to adapted WC .
  • People’s Portraits exhibition all ground floor – Cloister corridor, D corridor, Hub.
  • Lawrence Room Museum: ground floor

Planned Access Improvements 

  • Ongoing access improvements, as finances allow. All suggestions for major physical access improvements will be considered termly by the Buildings and Estates Strategy Committee, and all minor improvements can usually be implemented immediately by the Disability Liaison Officer, College Surveyor and Maintenance & Contracts Manager.
  • Suggestions for improving inclusivity of teaching and learning will be considered by the Senior Tutor and the Academic Policy Committee. All suggestions welcome.

Access Guide for Swirles Court

General Information 

325 mostly postgraduate students. Swirles Court  is mostly accessible, with 9 lifts and power assisted doors to the Porters’ Lodge. All rooms are en suite.

Two manual wheelchairs and one electric wheelchair are  available to borrow via the Porters.


No smoking anywhere on site.

Medical facilities

The College Health and Welfare Centre is at the main site. where two part-time nurses hold regular surgeries (tel. 01223 338937)  All Porters are first aiders and the Porters’ Lodge is the first aid post .  The nearest GP surgery is at 1, Huntingdon Rd. A Health centre is currently under construction at Eddington.

Emergency procedures

Advise Porters’ Lodge if you will need help evacuating in an emergency. Evacuation chairs are fitted as required by emergency evacuation plans where lift access is the norm and otherwise held at the lodge for use across the site. Where there are lifts, there are also refuges on each floor with communications back to the Porters’ Lodge.  Speak to the Head Porter regarding an individual evacuation plan.

Accommodation and Catering

The scheme provides 15 accessible en suite units including 14 designed to ‘lifetime homes’ standards and 1 Part M compliant.

Units are distributed around the site, with 1  accessible room per ‘house’. (4 units are on the upper floors of buildings without lifts.)

7 rooms, including the part M compliant room, are on the ground floor,

4  near to the porters’ lodge. 4 rooms are on the first floor with lift access.

4 units are on the upper floors of buildings without lifts.

The strategy for the design and distribution of rooms has been developed with the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE).

The part M compliant room has been designed following the ‘Wheelchair Accessible Housing – Best Practice Guide’ document (2008).

Features incorporated include:

  • Level entrances
  • Minimum communal corridor widths
  • A manoeuvring space of at least 1500 x 1800mm inside the entrance
  • Level circulation throughout the units
  • Entrance door opening widths of 800mm or 825mm where approach is not head on
  • Adequate clear opening widths of 800mm to all doors and circulation areas
  • A minimum 1100 x 1700mm space provided for wheelchair charging and storage

A hoist can be arranged in the Part M compliant room, if required.

All bathrooms are cleaned weekly and this is included in the residence charge. Toilet rolls are supplied.


Rooms can be adapted as required for hearing impaired students, with vibrating pillows and visual alarms and bells and for other disabilities as necessary.

Live-in assistants and assistance dogs

Live-in assistants and dogs welcome but please discuss well in advance.

Early induction and vacation stays

Early induction encouraged. Staying over vacations is included in Graduate tenancies.

Undergraduates may stay through the Easter vacation without extra charge and over Christmas by permission (without additional charge).  Pastoral support for undergraduates is available only through the normal period of residence, not over the summer vacation, but speak to your tutor if you have any particular needs.

Catering arrangements

Swirles Court is self-catering. Kitchens are spacious, with low level cupboards, work surfaces are not height adjustable.  Kitchens are shared with up to 7 other users. Students are strongly encouraged to access the Girton Cafeteria and can have lunch at Robinson College at student rates.

A pop up supper is available at Swirles on Wednesday evenings.

There are vending machines at Swirles selling hot drinks and snacks.

Special diets

We aim to cater inclusively for all or most diets.  Allergens are labelled. Please speak to the Catering Manager about your individual requirements, so we can be sure we are catering correctly for you.

Location, Services and Transport 

Swirles Court, Girton’s second site, is in the centre of Eddington, the University’s new development about 2.5 miles from the City Centre. There is a Porter on duty day and night throughout the year.,0.093298,15


Eddington itself is quiet, but the Huntingdon and Madingley Roads are very busy, especially at peak times.

Services and shops

There is a Sainsburys Supermarket and Argos pick up point  approximately  200m from Swirles Court, in the market square.

Other amenities:


Designated accessible parking is provided free on-site. There are four designated accessible bays in the Entrance Court, close to the main entrance and Porter’s Lodge, serving houses to the west and south of the site, and a further three to the rear car park.

Other transport options

  • There are frequent Uni buses to and from the city centre and Addenbrookes.
  • There is a zip car located on site.

Physical Access 

Swirles Court grounds in general

Flat access to the Porters’ Lodge, through automatic doors operated with a university card or push button. External gates are card or push button entry. House Access is also by university card or push button. Most areas level, well lit and accessible,  with some  accessible paths running around the edge of the site to minimise the rise and fall of ground. Travel between blocks is external, with no cover.  Mostly hard surfaces, some softer Cedec surface, but hard surface alternative always available. There are intercoms by the rear and side gates near the lodge.

College buildings in general

The main common area near the lodge is ground floor, spacious and accessible and comprises lodge (reception and first aid) laundry, and graduate common/study room. Stairs to the residential areas are well lit and have continuous handrails and contrasting nosings on steps.

Computer facilities

All rooms have wireless and wired ethernet access.


All the courtyards are accessible with the exception of the grassed courtyard outside B block which has a 50cm unfenced drop from the path at one end and a 50cm rise at the other. There are easygoing steps (without handrails) at the bottom end allowing access to the grass. There is a temporary ramp available for marquee events. Gardens are mostly level and accessible, with many benches. There are allotment strips on site and the top and bottom strips would be accessible from a wheelchair.


The Laundry is at ground floor level and accessible with 5 low level washing machines and 5 high level and one low level tumble drier. Machines can be booked from your room via a phone app. There is an adapted WC near the porters’ lodge for laundry and common room users.

MCR Common Room / Study area

Ground level access. Flooring all hard surface. Spacious, light, with moveable  workspaces/ seating areas. Screen, projector available. Blind cords are at high level to comply with anti-ligature safety guidelines, so porter assistance may be required for operation (Lodge is staffed 24/7)

Porters’ Lodge and post

Lodge counter is approx. 850mm high with knee space beneath. Hearing loop fitted.  Post is placed in secure pigeonholes accessed via your university card. Pigeonholes can be reallocated if too high.


Gender neutral wheelchair accessible toilet near Porters’ Lodge and a second gender neutral toilet in the laundry area.


A Porter is on site 24/7 throughout the year, trained for emergency response and other College staff, such as the Graduate Administrator and the Accommodation Manager visit regularly.

There is a housekeeper on site on weekdays and 24 hour emergency maintenance via the Porters’ Lodge.

Visual Impairments

  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Adaptable Computer facilities
  • Large print, Braille and audio information available
  • Signs and wayfinding in place
  • Special hardware or software for visually impaired users could be acquired if necessary. Various software licences held.
  • Large print letters and information, and on coloured paper, on request. Touch readable and Braille buttons at intercoms.
  • Good, clear colour maps with contrasting fonts and clear signage.
  • Paths are well lit.

Hearing Impairments 

Induction loops

Portable loop available, but arrange in advance.


Rooms are  adapted as required for a hearing impaired students, with vibrating pillows and visual alarms and bells.

Specific Learning Difficulties and Mental Health Issues 

The College aims, where possible, to facilitate all  adjustments recommended on student support documents, including specific arrangements for exams, study skills support and mentoring (via the DRC) , extended library borrowing arrangements and lecture recording. Please speak to your Tutor if you have any difficulties in accessing support.

The College provides every student with a personal tutor to oversee their health and well being at Girton and direct them to professional support services as appropriate. Counselling services  are also available through the College. For comprehensive information  on support available please go to Welfare and Support.

Contact information

Access Issues:

Maureen Hackett
Junior Bursar & Disability Liaison Officer
T: +44 (0)1223 338891 

Website accessibility: