Sport and exercise

Rowing on the Cam

Whether you prefer team sports or more individual exercise, and whether or not you enjoyed sports at school, you will find that there are lots of fun ways to keep yourself fit and healthy at King's. The College has an enthusiastic and sociable sports scene, and competes against other Colleges in the University. At King's the emphasis is on accessibility. Whether you are experienced in a sport or new to it, you will be very welcome to get involved.

Facilities in and near King's

The grounds for football, hockey, cricket and rugby matches, and grass tennis courts, are shared with Selwyn College, an eight minute cycle ride from the main College site. Closer to King's, there are netball, basketball, squash and hard tennis courts, as well as plenty of grass for informal frisbee or quick kick-abouts. You'll find yourself playing in other places too as matches can be hosted by different colleges, but all sports grounds are a short bike ride away at most.

The Vault gym

The Vault: King's College Gym

King's has a multi-gym called The Vault in  Bene't Street Hostel just around the corner from the main site of College. The Vault opened in October 2013 and is very popular and convenient for students (see pictures). King's also has a freeweights gym, as well as a pool table, a large set of canoes and kayaks, five punts, table tennis tables, and a croquet lawn. Volleyball, water polo, zumba and yoga are also available.

Indoor climbing wall

As a central College, King's couldn't be better situated for further facilities in the University and the city. Chris is pictured left on the climbing wall at Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre, which is about ten minutes' walk from King's. There you'll also find the local swimming pool and the University cricket and tennis grounds.

The same distance south of King's, the badminton teams play in the Leys School sports hall, while to the west, you'll find the University hockey ground and athletics track, and the new University Sports Centre is on the West Cambridge Site. The Sports Centre has a large Sports Hall, a strength and conditioning room, and a multi-purpose room for martial arts, gymnastics and dance, yoga and spinning.

If you're a jogger, central Cambridge is a beautiful place to run, but you can also be running by fields or alongside the river five minutes into your run from the College if you prefer.

How does sport work at King's?

Most team sports have league games against other Cambridge Colleges through the year and a one day tournament towards the end of the second term. The inter-College rivalry is fun, and friends often come out to support the King's side when there are important games against other Colleges.

There are lots of opportunities to get involved both on the pitch and in other roles such as coaching and umpiring. You may want to continue with sports that you already play, but equally it's a great chance to try something new, whether it be ultimate frisbee or mixed lacrosse. Other students teach you the skills. At College level it is normal for new players to train and play alongside those with more experience - that's what it's all about.

For students who want to take part in sport at a higher level, or have an interest in a more unusual sport which is not played in Colleges, there is University level sport.

The University sports clubs pick the best players from the Colleges and form teams to train more intensively and compete against other universities. There is a "Varsity match" against Oxford in all sports, as well as university league matches and tournaments. King's is represented at University level in a wide range of sports from athletics to fencing and ice hockey.

Students playing football

There are also general fitness / fun classes in King's such as yoga and zumba. Many students get together for tennis or squash whether or not they play competitively, and informal games of frisbee, football or volleyball happen when people feel like it. The advantage of College life is that these things take very little planning. In the run-up to exams there are keep-fit sessions in the Fellows' Garden. 

King's sports clubs

Three memebers of the boat club

Sports at King's range from traditional Cambridge sports such as rowing, through athletics, a range of team sports, racquet sports and cricket, to the very popular outdoors activity society. There should be something for everybody. 

King's Boat Club is probably the largest sports club in the College. There are several crews competing at different levels and beginners are very warmly welcomed. Many people start as novice rowers. The technique is not too difficult to pick up, and learning to row can be a lot of fun as well as great exercise.

There is a race on the river Cam at the end of the first term in which novice rowers at each College compete after just one term's training, as well as the large summer "Bumps" event in which each crew races on four consecutive days.

As well as rowing, the Boat Club organises social events, and there are trips away during the vacations. Recently, the Boat Club has travelled to France, Poland and Germany.

Kayaks on the Cam

Another of the larger sports clubs is the King's Mountaineering and Kayaking Association (KMKA). They provide kayaks and canoes for members to use on the River Cam, and organise regular group outings up the river. A popular activity is kayak polo, which is played between goals set up on the two river banks in King's.

For students interested in climbing, there are KMKA group visits to the local climbing wall, as well as other walls further afield. No experience is necessary.


In the vacations KMKA organises trips away so that students can enjoy can enjoy kayaking, climbing, abseiling, camping and hiking in a more challenging environment, putting into practice skills they've been learning in term. The association is very enthusiastic and always keen to get more people involved - they will teach you everything you need to know and have funding to keep costs down.

Football is also a big sporting presence in King's. With two men's teams and a women's team, there are lots of opportunities to get involved, whetever level you're at. The teams compete against other Cambridge colleges in two competitions accross the first and second terms of the year - the league and cuppers (one a competitive points system and the other a knockout contest).  Whether it's the first time you've ever kicked a ball or you've been playing football for years, you'll find the teams welcoming, supportive, and a lot of fun to be part of. The women's team is particularly experienced in encouraging complete beginners to join in, with the more established players always happy to coach those new to the sport.

Of course, if you arrive at King's and think there is something missing, you can start your own club. You can often get some funding to subsidise equipment and other costs, and it is not normally difficult to persuade other students to join in.

Further information

Many of the King's sports clubs don't have websites so the list below is by no means exhaustive, but you'll find some information at the following links:

When reading about life at King's, do bear in mind that whilst many King's students get involved in all kinds of activities in addition to their academic work, admissions decisions are based strictly on academic potential.

Life at King's | Back to the top