Below are Queens’ students’ take on each type of college accommodation offered to postgraduates at Queens’. However, practical information on postgraduate accommodation, including pricing, maps etc, can also be found here.
Owlstone Croft is located in the south of Cambridge, around a 5-7 minute cycle from Queens’ and is the largest postgraduate accommodation owned by Queens’ College. Essentially a student “halls” block, the building lacks the homely feel of the postgraduate houses, but with the 90+ students it houses, it’s a great place to meet others from Queens’, particularly if you are new to the College.
The building consists of three blocks, A, B and D, of which the latter is the smallest was recently added. While the room sizes vary, the rooms in block A tend to be quite spacious while the rooms in block B are slightly smaller. The majority of rooms have a wash-basin included and, even in the smaller block B rooms, have a large amount of cupboard and storage space. You share kitchen and bathroom facilities with other people on your floor, with approximately 8-12 per kitchen and around 3-4 bathrooms between the same number. The bathrooms have been recently refurbished and the kitchens are well equipped (with about the only gas cookers and hobs you’ll find in all college accommodation).
There is a giant common room on the ground floor with a television, pool table, table tennis, board games and a piano, as well as a computer room with printers. It is worth noting that Owlstone, whilst probably the most spartan option for accommodation in Queens’, offers some of the cheapest rooms you can come across in the whole of Cambridge.
Maids causeway is a very large detached town house, toward the north of central Cambridge, that has been converted into student accommodation, with space for 17 postgrads, and 7 bathrooms. Though marginally further from Queens’ than Owlstone or Norwich/Panton street, Maids has a slightly newer feel than the other external postgraduate accommodation, and has a large, recently refurbished kitchen. It also has a very spacious common room with lounge space and a projector, as well as a sizeable garden, where parties/BBQs/picnics etc can be held in summer.
The Norwich street building is a single housing block, similar in style to halls accommodation, though only with a maximum of 16 students living there. The rooms are all of a similar, medium size, with double and single beds. Prices of the rooms vary dependent on their size. Norwich street is usually mainly populated by one-year students and is small enough to feel like a large house, whilst large enough to offer the community feel of a small halls-style accommodation. The house shares one large open-plan kitchen and living room space that provides a great communal space. The building is located just behind the 61, 63 and 65 Panton street houses, and share a sizeable courtyard with them, that can be used for outside parties, BBQs etc. Both Norwich and Panton street are located around a 5 minute cycle from Queens’, and only around a 2-3 minute cycle from the station.
There are five town houses on Panton street that are owned by Queens; 61, 63, 65, 75 and 77, which have between 6-10 rooms and 2-3 bathrooms each. There is a slight variation in room quality and size between them but in general the standard across the houses is fairly similar, and prices of the rooms are adjusted according to their size. Living in these houses is in many ways a cross between living in privately owned accommodation and living in college halls. Whilst they feel more like living independently than any other college accommodation, they are also still cleaned and maintained by college, in some ways offering the best of both worlds. Crucially for students on courses longer than 1 year, unlike Maids, Owlstone and Norwich street, these houses also offer the opportunity to renew your licence at the end of the year. Given the better stability with respect to year-on-year residence, Panton street houses are mainly occupied by PhD students.
Queens’ Main Site
Rooms in the College itself are offered to graduate students according to the availability in that particular year (i.e. depending on the number of undergraduate students in residence that year). Many rooms in college also become available throughout the year due to intermitting undergraduate students, and these are offered to graduates in Owlstone and non-college accommodation (not those living in Panton, Norwich, Maids or couples flats) on a first-come first-served basis. Rooms in college are convenient in terms of location, as the most central college accommodation and, clearly, allow the closest access to Queens’ bar, library, the buttery (cafeteria) gym etc. However, whilst some grads very much enjoy living on main site, there are many things to be wary of from a postgraduate perspective. Firstly, kitchens in college are very modestly equipped, usually with only a microwave, two electric hobs, and no oven, between a group of students. Additionally, depending on the accommodation block the price of rooms is in general, significantly higher than that of external postgraduate houses/halls, with far less flexibility regarding residence over holidays. That is not to say that on-site accommodation does not have benefits, and some prefer living there, but it is by no means at all inherently preferable, as people often assume!
The College owns a small number of flats designed specifically for graduate students coming to Cambridge with a partner. None of these are suitable for children. There are eight flats to the south of the city in the Newnham village area; above the Boat House north of Midsummer Common there are five more flats for couples. Each flat varies in price based upon size, location, and contents though all are well furnished and comfortably priced. These flats can be applied for in the ballot like normal accommodation when they become available, however, once occupied, students can chose to renew their residency at the end of each year without having to enter the ballot, allowing for couples to have stability over their domestic arrangements. However, as a result there are not always available flats in each year and most couples will have to make private arrangements.