Winter Vacation Update: College Services & Activities

We know that many of you will remain in residence in College or in private accommodation in Cambridge over the winter vacation. Here are the key things you need to know about College services and the support on offer during the holiday period. 


Porter's Lodge at Christmas

Cafeteria, Bar and Cafe Hours

  • The Coffee Bar is closed from Monday, 13 December, and reopens on Monday 10 January.
  • The Student Bar is closed from Friday, 24 December, and reopens on Tuesday 4 January.
  • The Cafeteria closes after breakfast on Thursday, 23 December and reopens for lunch on Tuesday 4 January.
  • The Sandwich Machine in J Block will not be refilled between 24 December and 4 January.

Check opening hours and menus on the website

The Dining Hall will be left open during the vacation closure, so that residents can share meals together even while the kitchens are closed. Please clean up after yourselves!

Note: Many shops may have shorter hours between 24 December and 1 January, and most will be closed entirely on 25 December.  Plan ahead to ensure you have food on hand and check Christmas closing times.  The local Co-Op's hours are posted here.

Holiday Activities

  • If you are in Cambridge over the Winter holidays, explore the Cambridge SU Winter Holiday Activity Guide. The guide contains information about things to do in Cambridge and beyond, including activities organised by students for students. It is a live document and will be updated on a daily basis with more activities. 
  • Check your inboxes after Boxing Day for an invitation to the President's annual holiday gathering for students. Time and location still TBC, but likely to be held on 30 December.
  • Tutors will be offering to lead local walks early in the New Year.  Date and time TBC.  Watch your inboxes for an announcement.

Library Hours and Services

The College Library will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for most of the vacation so you can continue to use the study space and borrow books. The Library will be closed from 18:00 on 24 December until 07:00 on 27 December, but it will not close over New Year. If you are looking for a break, there is a range of jigsaw puzzles to choose from in the Reading Room and there are works of fiction available in the Lee Room in the Jack King Building.  You don’t need to check these out, just return them when you have finished.

Please send us your book suggestions over the vacation or arrange to meet us for a one-to-one academic skills session.  The Library staff will, however, be unavailable from 12:00 on 23 December until 09:30 on 4 January. We won’t be checking email during that period but will respond as soon as possible on our return. Please consult the website for information or the College LibGuide for academic skills support.

Lodge and College Office Hours

  • Porters will be on site throughout the holidays and may be contacted by phone or email, but the Lodge will be closed from 6 pm on 24 December until 7 am on 27 December.  Students will be able to access their pigeonholes and all communal spaces during this time.
  • College Offices will be closed from either the 22nd or 23rd December through 3 January.
  • Any letters certifying student status for banking, Council Tax, GP registration or visa purposes must be requested not later than 20 December so that Tutorial staff can prepare them before the Tutorial office closes for the holidays on 22 December.  Letters requested after the 20th will not be prepared until the office re-opens on 4 January.


  • All housekeeping staff will be on leave from the afternoon of 23 December through 3 January. 
  • Kitchen and communal bins will be emptied on 29 or 30 December.  

COVID-19: Latest guidance

COVID-19: Holiday Testing Arrangements

  • All staff and students should test themselves at least twice weekly with the free lateral flow test (LFT) kits available by post or from local pharmacies. Order tests or find a local pharmacy here.
  • If you develop any symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection: self-isolate, inform the Porters, and book a PCR test.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19: self-isolate, book a PCR test to confirm results of your LFT and  inform the Porters. 
  • Information about testing for both pre-departure and return to College is available on the University website.
  • The weekly Asymptomatic Screening Programme has shut down for the holidays but the University is still offering individual tests for any students or staff in the following circumstances:
    1. You have major or minor symptoms of COVID-19
    2. You have received a positive result on a lateral flow test
    3. You are a contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19. In this instance a contact means a household contact or a contact either "pinged" by the NHS mobile app or advised to get a test by helpdesk or NHS Test and Trace
  • Holiday hours and booking information for the University's testing pods are posted here.

Support over the Holidays

  • Self-isolation support:
    •  If you are required to self-isolate over the holidays for any reason, you develop symptoms, test positive, are identified as a contact, or have returned from abroad, please notify the Porters (01223 335900) and the Covid Support Assistant. They will ensure you receive information about the support available to you. 
    • While the kitchens are open, students in self-isolation will be able to order meals for delivery from the cafeteria.  Instructions about how to do this will be sent to you in the self-isolation support pack. 
    • The College's student-run QSupport service will run throughout the holidays to assist students in self-isolation with small errands.  Contact QSupport by email at:  They will read and respond to your message during the following hours:
      • 17 December - 9 January, Monday - Friday, 7pm-8pm and Saturday - Sunday, 4pm-5pm
      • 23 December - 4 January, 10:30 am -11:30 am
    • Students who remain on site are encouraged to think in advance about how they will feed themselves if required to self-isolate during the kitchen closure. Residents might want to form self-isolation support groups with students in other blocks, so that you could help one another with shopping and  errands if one of you needs to self-isolate.
  • Welfare and Wellbeing
    • The Porters are available to chat to any student about any concern.  They can also contact the on-call Duty Tutor at any time to provide additional support.
    • The University Counselling Service is closed from 24 December through 3 January, but they have prepared this helpful guide to mental health and welfare support over the holidays. 
    • Don't forget to book your booster jab!  This is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and others. From 15 December everyone over age18 is eligible to book a booster if it has been at least 61 days since your second dose. If you haven't had your first or second jab yet, you can get these at a local walk-in clinic. Remember that you will need to be registered with a GP in order to make a booster appointment and obtain an NHS Covid Pass.