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As one of the newer Cambridge Colleges, we’ve borrowed some old University traditions, such as Formal Hall dinners, and created some new ones too.

Formal Hall

On Thursday evenings and some Fridays during term time, the College hosts a seated three-course dinner called Formal Hall. This is a special time for us to come together as a community, so we ask people to respect a seating plan, wear gowns and turn off mobile phones so that we can enjoy good conversation.

The dinner is usually preceded by a themed presentation from a visiting speaker or an expert member of the College itself. On some Formal Hall evenings we have a 'subject night' e.g. Law or Medicine, and others have seasonal themes such as Halloween or Thanksgiving. There are ‘swaps’ with other colleges so that students can meet and make friends with a wider group of their peers and can experience other Colleges’ formal dinners. Our Graduates have one Formal Hall a term especially for them, although they come to many of the others as well.

All students, Alumni, Associates and Emeritus Fellows are very welcome at Formal Hall which occur on most Thursdays and some Fridays during Term.

Find out more about Formal Hall

Students at Formal Hall dinner

Halfway Formal Hall

Halfway Formal Hall is organised by the Students’ Union as a celebration of reaching halfway through your time in Cambridge. Sometimes it is fancy dress. You can sit with your friends and bring them along to the Bop afterwards.

Bops or Parties

The Lucy Cavendish Students’ Union organises ‘bops’ (parties) several times a term to which all students are invited and can bring guests. They also put on ceilidhs and a variety of other social events where you can meet others.

Carols around the Tree

At the end of the Michaelmas Term (the name given to the autumn term), we hold a carol concert with readings, songs and music from students, staff and others. The event is open to all members of the College, and their families, and is always very popular (possibly because of the mulled wine and mince pies on offer!).

Carols around the tree


Side-by-side racing is not possible over a long distance on the narrow and winding River Cam, so the bumping races were introduced in the early 19th century as an exciting alternative

Students, alumni and College supporters turn out in droves to cheer on our teams over two fun days by the river.  You can find out more about the Bumps here.




When you visit Cambridge, you may see lines of students in gowns walking to the Senate House for Graduation. When you successfully complete your course, our Student Office will help you do the admin and prepare to receive your degree from the University. We like to celebrate your achievements with an event at the College first, and we encourage you to bring family and friends along to share the occasion.

Lucy Cavendish students on their way to the Senate House graduation ceremony

Meet our people

An informal community where all are valued