Access Guide to Girton College

Last updated: September 2019

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 (tel. 01223 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

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

Live-in assistant is  possible but please discuss well in advance. Live-in dogs 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.

Wheelchair-accessible rooms

We have 6 Part M-compliant wheelchair en suite rooms in Ash Court, 4 on the ground floor,1 on the first floor (lift access) and one on the second floor (lift access). A mobile hoist is available and a permanent hoist arranged for long term residents as required. 

Two self- catering kitchens in Ash Court have worktops that upon advance request can be height-adjusted (mechanical rather than electric height adjustment).

One flat in Pear Trees is specifically designed for wheelchair users, with adapted bathroom and kitchen, plus an annex for an assistant if needed. Lift access, through automatic doors. Evacuation via an evac-chair.

En suite rooms

There are a further 44 en suite rooms in Ash court.

There are 3 en-suite rooms in Hospital Wing but only one of these is a ground floor level and the alternative means of escape is down a few steps.
Also on Hospital Wing there are a number of large bed-sitting rooms that are adjacent to a wheelchair accessible toilet and shower room.
There are a further 6  en-suite rooms on Pear Trees (first floor). They are accessible via a lift but evacuation would be via a staircase. An evac-chair and assistance is provided.
5 en-suite rooms on Tower Wing  at second floor level accessible via staircases.
In addition, any of the taps, handles , door operators/openers or other fixtures could be changed to suit particular requirements.

Early induction and vacation stays

Early induction encouraged. Girton has 37/38 week contracts so staying in residence for Christmas and Easter vacations is included in the annual residence charge, except for the Christmas vacation when there is a 10 day closure, but transfer to Swirles Court usually possible for this period. Summer accommodation usually available at Swirles Court, but please note that pastoral support is not as easily accessible  over the summer months.

Catering arrangements

The Cafeteria serves two meals daily during term.  The Social hub serves breakfast, snacks and hot drinks from 8am – 9pm most days. There is a Formal Hall once a week. Card system for easy payment.

There are small kitchens on each residential corridor so  self-catering is an option but a cafeteria charge is included within the residence charge. Two self- catering kitchens in Ash Court have worktops that upon request can be height-adjusted.


The College aims to cater inclusively for most diets and allergens are labelled. Please speak to the Catering Manager about your individual requirements and allergies, so we can be sure we are catering correctly for you.

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


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 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 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 bus stop  at Girton Corner. College-booked taxi returns from the city centre on Thursday and Saturday nights between midnight and 00.10.

Room Layout drawings for many of the public areas can be found here

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

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 a 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 sound alarm.
  • Panelling to reduce noise reverberation in Pear Trees and Ash Court corridors

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs welcome.

Computer facilities

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

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.
  • 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 please go to:(Undergraduates) and(Graduates)
  • 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.
  • 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.

Find Us

Girton College

Huntingdon Road

t: +44 (0)1223 338999

Access Issues Contact

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