Clare College Cambridge

Disability Access Guide

For comprehensive information on navigating Clare College with a physical disability, please see our pages on Accessable: Clare College | AccessAble


The College recognises that individuals have different and varied needs both in terms of mobility and in social and dietary requirements. These needs are sometimes in conflict with our buildings, some of which were built over 600 years ago. The College provides full access to a number of study bedrooms equipped for use by disabled people. Most of our meeting rooms have induction loops and we have adapted gyp rooms to meet special physical or dietary needs. The College would always liaise closely with the Disability Resource Centre to ensure that we are able to meet the individual needs of students with special requirements.

Location, Services and Transport

Old Court is on a quiet street a two minute walk from the city centre. Memorial Court is over Queen's Road adjacent to the University Library, and a ten minute walk from the Downing Site, New Museums Site and Sidgwick Site. The Colony on Chesterton Road is a ten-minute walk from Memorial Court.


Queen's Road, between Old Court and Memorial Court, is always busy with traffic and is dangerous, but has two pedestrian crossings. Old Court is on a quiet cul-de-sac off Trinity Lane. The Colony is on Chesterton Road which is another busy road.

Services and shops

City centre.


Parking is available in Memorial Court or the Colony by arrangement only. 

Other transport options

Uni 4 bus stop on Grange Road. Electric wheelchairs and buggies are permitted within the College.

General Information

Around 500 undergraduates and 300 graduates.  The College is on three sites: Old Court (old buildings), Memorial Court (post 1930s and modernised) and the Colony (various styles). The Old Court buildings are some of the oldest in Cambridge and are Grade I Listed.  Unfortunately this means that access for members with physical disabilities is sometimes difficult.  Ramps and lifts are in place where it has been possible for them to be incorporated.

The College is keen to accommodate students and help overcome any difficulties whenever possible.


No smoking policy.

Health & Welfare

Clare College has a College Nurse as well as Student Welfare Officers assistance.

The University requires all students to be registered with a Cambridge General Practitioner, the College Nurse is able to help with this. 

Emergency procedures

The portering service is available 24/7, and the porters are all trained first aiders and fire wardens. A porter would help with evacuation in an emergency.

Accommodation and Catering

Wheelchair-accessible rooms

Four adapted rooms in Memorial Court, and two adapted rooms at the Colony.

Other rooms

Lots of ground floor and ensuite rooms in Memorial Court. Accommodation on the Old Court site would be difficult for a student with physical disabilities.

Live-in assistants and assistance dogs

Please discuss well in advance.

Early induction and vacation stays

Early induction encouraged, free of charge. Staying over vacations usually possible, at usual room rates.

Catering arrangements

Students are encouraged to eat in hall or buttery as part of the student experience. There are small kitchens on each staircase, but these are not suitable for full self-catering. The College take steps to ensure that all food is labeled for allergens.

Special diets

Special diets accommodated for formal dinners. No special arrangements are made for ordinary cafeteria meals, although there is a wide choice of vegetarian options. Permission can be sought on medical grounds for small fridges for individual use.

Physical Access

College grounds in general

Old Court has level access to front and back. Side entrance is narrow and is mostly for kitchen supplies. Slabbed paving and some cobbles. Memorial Court has sloped access via car park. Paved and gravel paths.

College buildings in general

Access to buildings in Old Court is difficult. Most rooms have several steps up, and there are few handrails. Where possible ramps have been incorporated into staircases. There is a large lift for JCR/cafeteria/bar/hall. Portable ramps are available.


In basement below hall, accessed via large cafeteria lift and then a ramp.


In basement below hall, via lift. Smooth and spacious, with moveable furniture. Disabled toilet next to lift.


Two steps up from Old Court. Wheelchair lift from side entrance. Double doors, one usually locked. Three further steps up into main chapel. Fixed pews.

College offices

Tutorial and Bursary offices up ramp from Old Court and round corner. Most other offices have steps up or down. Arrangements can be made to meet in more accessible rooms.

Common rooms

Main JCR in Old Court basement, under chapel. Accessed by lift. Hepple Room (quiet room), also in Old Court, short metal ramp.

Computer facilities

Fully accessible ground floor IT room in Lerner Court.  Two computer stations in Hepple Room, Old Court accessible via ramp.  All rooms networked.

Dining hall

Six steps up from Old Court, with handrails. Lift from cafeteria. Access problems to this lift are being addressed. Level and spacious inside. Fixed long tables with moveable chairs.

Fellows' areas

SCR up flight of stairs, no access. Fellows' table in hall raised one step.


Located at back of Old Court. Ramped bridge over river. Uneven steps down from bridge, but level access from back entrance. Mostly level, with gravel paths and lawn. Some benches.


Fully accessible laundry facilities are available in Lerner Court and at the Colony via a ramp.


In Memorial Court. Up six steps. Wheelchair lift to ground floor. First floor (Philosophy, Theology, Economics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology & International Studies, English, Languages, Classics, Geography, History) up flight of stairs, with no easy access, but the catalogue is online and staff are happy to fetch material.

Porters' lodge

Old Court Lodge up one small step, through heavy door. Memorial Court & Colony Lodges via ramps.

Sport facilities

Sports fields on Bentley Road, off Trumpington Road. Parking available.


One disabled toilet in buttery, near lift.


Music recital room on first floor of library, with no easy access. Individual music practice rooms under library, with level access.

Visual Impairments

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs welcome, but discuss in advance.

Computer facilities

Special hardware or software for visually impaired users could be acquired if necessary.

Large print, Braille and audio

Large print letters and information on request.

Library and magnification equipment

Librarian always willing to research new developments.

Signs and wayfinding

Generally good signage. Small site, so wayfinding is not too hard.


Lighting in chapel, hall and cafeteria fairly bright. Automatic light in lift, and touch-readable buttons. Steps generally unmarked — take particular care to avoid tripping on unmarked steps in bar.

Hearing Impairments

Induction loops

Induction loops fitted in some student rooms, porters' lodges, library and main conference rooms.


Visual and sensory alarms, and vibrating pillows, available.


Hepple Room in Old Court is designated quiet social area. Flashing phones available on request.

Specific Learning Difficulties and Mental Health Issues 

Arrangements for students with Specific Learning Difficulties are on an individual basis, in conjunction with the Disability Resource Centre. Discuss your need in advance with admissions staff or your tutor. 

Visits always welcome — please phone the tutorial office on 01223 333246 to arrange a visit.