Downing College sits amidst 20 acres of beautiful grounds within half a mile of the historic centre of Cambridge. The buildings date back to the beginning of the 19th century and are predominantly neo-classical in style conveying a sense of elegance and spaciousness. The College is often described as the oldest of the new colleges and the newest of the old.

Reasons to Book Downing College

  • The College's Howard Conference Centre, West Lodge gardens and meeting spaces are all located adjacent to each other; ideal for larger exclusive hire conferences and events. 
  • Stand-alone buildings and facilities are offered exclusively to ensure each event has privacy and space.
  • 177 award-winning bedrooms furnished to hotel standard all located within the College grounds.
  • Facilities are fitted with a full range of state-of-the-art presentation equipment to support both in-person experiences and hybrid events.
  • The in-house AV team have a combined experience of 17 years at Downing College providing valuable experience and reassurance for organisers.
  • A variety of catering options are available for events, drinks receptions, BBQs, buffets.
  • All private dining facilities (15-150 guests) have access to outdoor areas and gardens in the summer months. 
  • Events and receptions can also be booked in the College's Heong Gallery, which displays exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. 

Sustainable Fact

The Howard Theatre is an environmentally-sustainable building with ground source heating and cooling, solar panels fitted to the Welsh slate roof and rainwater harvesting for flushing toilets and maintaining the landscaping. The building was recently refurbished with a major emphasis on energy efficiency and re-use of existing materials, including installing double-glazed and draught-proof windows with K glass to provide energy efficiency and sound-proofing; insulating the roof space; replacing all lights with LEDs and installing more energy-efficient boilers.


Venue Insight

We caught up with Benjamin Buttery, Head of Commercial at Downing College to find out more his role and the facilities at Downing College.

Tell us about your role at Downing College...

My role as Head of Commercial is to grow ancillary income across multiple lines of business, including venue hire, large events and accommodation-associated programmes. Our team provides a full event management service to all external events held at Downing.

Tell us something we might not know about Downing College...

When the door of No 10 Downing Street, London was replaced in the 1960's, the original was donated to Downing College and is now the door of the College Office!

What are the benefits of hosting an event at Downing College?

All the facilities are located in the same part of the College providing an easy flow for delegates between the different event areas. Plenty of access to the outdoors and gardens during breaks, 10 minutes’ walk to Cambridge railway station and free carparking. Most of the College was built in Ketton stone, the yellow and pink tints add much to the beauty of the College even in dull weather, but especially in sunshine! 

What can you offer to organisers who are looking for hybrid options?


We have hybrid and streaming packages available for between 10 to 150 delegates provided by our on-site AV team. We are very happy to talk through all client requirements and needs. 

What can a delegate expect when attending an event at Downing College?

A warm welcome, great service and a wonderful event experience in a beautiful Cambridge environment. 

The dining hall at Downing College, University of Cambridge. A bedroom at Downing College, University of Cambridge. The Howard Theatre at Downing College, University of Cambridge. The Grace Howard Room at Downing College, University of Cambridge.

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