Skip to main content

Helpful information for New Postgraduates

Top tips and miscellaneous information

Helpful information 

The U Bus is the main University bus service that travels throughout Cambridge from Eddington (Swirles) past the Railway station, Judge Business School, and as far as Addenbrooke's Hospital.  The route also now stops at Girton Corner near the Main Site.  Further U Bus information is here.  You can buy single fares showing your University card and using a debit card/Apple Pay and can also buy Day Riders.  It's very helpful to download the Whippet bus app as it gives real time route information.  When downloading the App, search for Whippet and register with your Cambridge email address so that you are given the student discount.  

This link offers more information about various modes of travel in Cambridge and around the country including a link to the Mytrip app.

Trainline is a good app to download for UK train info and booking.  Do think about applying for a student railcard as for £30 per year, you can save 30% on all your rail fares – we can sign the application for you.  

All students must register their bicycles to park them on College property.  The form can be found here.  Please note the College has a “no e-scooter” rule on site. Swirles Court has very good secure bike storage provision for each accommodation block.  

Cycling is one of the most popular ways of travelling around Cambridge.  It's nicely flat and there is the advantage of the sheer numbers of cyclists on the roads so drivers are more aware of you.  Keep an eye out for used bicycles as they can be expensive to buy and bike theft in Cambridge is quite high so make sure you also have a good lock.  You will also need to invest in good lights, both front and back as the nights get darker – you do risk being stopped by the police if you do not have them as well as possibly having an accident if you are unseen by drivers.  Helmets are also highly recommended but not a legal requirement. 

Cycle Streets is an online journey planner which you can also use to plan a cycle journey around Cambridge. The University of Cambridge website contains information on cycle safety, as well as tips for security and preventing theft. 

In addition to looking on Social Media, a couple of suggested providers of second-hand bicycles are here: 

OWL refurbished bicycle sales and GumTree Cambridge for second-hand bikes

Here's a helpful flyer for you from Camcycle about Cycling in Cambridge.  

There are a number of large supermarket chains in the UK.  One is Sainsbury's and you're fortunate to have a Sainsbury's store very near to Swirles Court that also has an Argos store next door.  One can order many things from Argos - household items, clothing, technical things, etc.  Sainsbury's stock a good variety of "ready meals" or chilled/frozen takeaway meals to cook in a microwave. 

Something to note, in the UK, large shops have reduced open hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays - usually 10 until 4 pm.  Smaller "high street" stores are open longer, i.e. Sainsbury's Local or Tesco Express.  

There is an Aldi on Histon Road.  

Cambridge is home to a wonderful, historic market in the centre where you can buy reasonably priced fresh produce as well as gift items. There's also a bike repair stall at the market some days and food trucks in the evenings.    

The City of Cambridge itself offers most of what are called "high street" shops and is quite well known for its shopping. There are also many restaurants although remember that eating out is expensive in Cambridge, and generally in the UK, so do save it for special occasions!  


A College Permit application can be found in Section 15.1.1 of the Accommodation Handbook

We do discourage you from bringing a car to Cambridge and you canreally only apply for a permit if you have a medical reason and ideally a blue badge.

There is no student parking at The Grange or at Swirles Court, only in the College's Mare's Run carpark.   

On moving into Swirles, you can park free at the Madingley Park and Ride all day and walk up to Swirles after unloading.  All of the land around Swirles is owned and run by the University and they will ticket those who haven't paid for parking.  

You'll definitely find it useful to get a UK mobile number - SIMs are available free from most companies and service is pretty good and you can get alot of GB for under £10 a month.  

There are a whole host of providers in the UK, many offering free SIMs, including GiffGaff (a pay-as-you-go option on the O2 network which works fairly well at College Main Site). There's no need to get locked in to an expensive mobile contract - do shop around.  Once you have a number, please enter it into your Camsis self-service account.  

There are mobile phone thefts in London (and likely other large cities) so we recommend you be hyper-vigilant when using your phone wherever you are.

If you watch any BBC programmes on BBC IPlayer on ANY device (live, catch-up or on demand), you really should purchase a TV licence.

It's a monthly charge of around £13.00. Please note that you don't need a TV licence to listen to BBC Radio/Sounds.  

We may speak the same language but there are definite differences in the words used for common things. 


There is a lot of other good shopping in Cambridge, new and used. Visit Cambridge has a useful guide.

Charity Shops (Thrift Shops)

Charity shops are the best places in the UK to get very reasonably priced clothing, household items and formal wear so enjoy a wander down Burleigh Street near the Grafton Centre, about a 20-minute bike ride from Swirles. So, if you're feeling chilly as the winter draws in, head down to a charity shop (the closest one to College is on Histon Road, near the Aldi).  

They’re also very useful for getting things for what’s called in the UK, Fancy Dress parties and a trip to them makes a nice activity to do with some of your new colleagues.

The University has a Childcare office to assist students who bring their children with them to  Cambridge.  You may contact them with any questions about childcare or other issues.  There is also a central childcare Bursary Scheme for overseas students.   

Applying for places in Cambridge/South Cambridgeshire Schools

State School places at Cambridgeshire schools

South Cambridgeshire

Miscellaneous information

Here's a link to the University map website where you can search for your Department's location.  

Language courses are run through the University and cost about £300.00 and you may apply for a 50% contribution from College after you’ve completed the course. For more information visit CULP.

A very helpful resource in the UK is Money Saving Expert. You can check here for help with any kind of financial, travel, or provider question. 

Cambridge receives 50% of the UK's national rainfall so it is drier and often windier here than in other parts of the country. Saying this, it is always good to have a portable umbrella with you.    

A couple of other links you may find useful