Practical arrangements for interview candidates

Old Lodge

This page is for King's applicants who have been invited for interview in Cambridge, to be read in the context of the Cambridge interview section in the Applicant Information 2018.

  1. Interview helpdesk
  2. What do I have to do on the day of my interview?
  3. Parents & Guardians
  4. Eating in King’s College (applicants only)
  5. Staying overnight in King’s College (applicants only)
  6. Luggage storage (applicants only)
  7. King’s College Library (applicants only)
  8. No wi-fi provided
  9. King’s College Chapel

Please read this page to the end. It would be worth also re-reading it just before you travel to Cambridge to remind yourself and because we may update it if there’s anything we forgot or details change! Many thanks.

1. Interview helpdesk

Interview helpdesk

Current King’s students will be running a helpdesk during interview week to welcome you, answer your questions, help you find rooms etc. The helpdesk will be in King’s bar and there will be signs from the main entrance to help you to find it.


  • Sunday 2 December 2018        16:00 – 20:00
  • Monday 3 December 2018        07:45 – 20:00
  • Tuesday 4 December 2018       07:45 – 20:00
  • Wednesday 5 December 2018  07:45 – 20:00
  • Thursday 6 December 2018      07:45 – 20:00
  • Friday 7 December 2018          07:45 – 17:45


Please do not be shy! King’s students are very friendly and keen to meet you all so do go and say hello. They have all been through the process themselves and just want to help things go as smoothly as possible for you.

There will not be an interview helpdesk on Monday 10 December however candidates should come to the Admissions Office with any queries that day. 

2. What do I have to do on the day of my interview?

Your invitation to interview tells you where you need to be and at what time (it is therefore essential to bring it with you when you come for interviews and keep it on you).

There are no other sessions and you do not need to register (the interview helpdesk will have a list of names and interviews and it is a good idea to talk to them, but this is not compulsory).

Once your last interview / test has finished, you may leave Cambridge.

We strongly advise you to a) wear a watch and b) ensure that it is showing the correct time. We do not advise you to use your mobile phone as a watch because you will not be able to have it on your desk in tests etc.

If you have a mobile phone, we advise you to enter your mobile phone number on UCAS Track if you have not already done so, and to have your mobile phone on before interviews but off during all interviews and tests. This would allow us to contact you if we needed to.

3. Parents & Guardians

We are happy for parents / guardians to accompany applicants to King’s if candidates would like them to be there, but we request that parents / guardians stay in King’s bar and that applicants go to interview / test rooms and to collect pre-interview reading (where scheduled) alone. Parents / guardians must not wait outside interview rooms with applicants or whilst applicants are in interviews under any circumstances: interviewers only want to meet applicants. Thank you for your co-operation with this.

There will be no tours / information sessions etc. during interview week. You are welcome to chat with the King’s students at the interview helpdesk, but please understand that the focus of the Admissions Office and Fellows (academics) at this time is purely on the assessment of candidates, and that we will be extremely busy. If you have questions about studying and living at King’s which you would like us to answer, please read the Study at King’s section of our website or send the Admissions Office an email at another time.

We regret that it is not possible for family or supporters to stay overnight in College or to use the King’s canteen (even with payment).

king's cofee shop

King's Coffee Shop

Do feel free to use the King’s Coffee Shop (entrance from the bar). It serves a range of hot and cold drinks, filled baguettes, panini's, cakes, fruit and pastries. There are also plenty of other options in the centre of town and the market is very close if you turn left out of King’s.

For parents and guardians who want to stay overnight in Cambridge, or for interviewees who would prefer not to stay in College or want to stay for more than one night, see the information about local accommodation or the Visit Cambridge website.

If you need any other general information about Cambridge (including official tours etc), you may like to look at the Visit Cambridge website in advance or visit the Tourist Information Centre, which is very close to King’s:

  • Location map
  • Address: The Cambridge Tourist Information Centre, Peas Hill, Cambridge. CB2 3AD
  • Contact:

Cambridge University has a range of free museums as well as botanic gardens (there is an entrance charge for the botanic gardens). These may be of interest if you are looking for distractions

4. Eating in King’s College (applicants only)

If you submitted a meal booking form and requested one or more meals then you should go to the student helpdesk in King’s College bar to collect your meal ticket just before the meal you requested. The students will have a list of your names (and please write your name on the meal booking form exactly as you wrote it on your UCAS form to avoid confusion).

Canteen opening times:

Breakfast:   08.00 - 09.15
Lunch:        12.15 - 13.30
Dinner:        18.00 - 19.00

Food is available in the canteen during the opening times, but you are free to continue eating in the hall after the canteen has closed. Opening times are also posted on a board outside the canteen.

Salad bar in canteen

The salad bar in King's canteen

The canteen is a self-service cafeteria. There are a range of hot options (usually three dishes to choose from plus a vegetarian option). The menu on the noticeboard as you enter and next to the hot food counter includes information about whether each dish contains nuts, flour, dairy etc. Please do not hesitate to ask the canteen staff if you are unsure about what is in any dish and whether you can eat it. There is also a salad bar and sandwiches etc. as well as a range of desserts / yoghurt / fruit to choose from.

Please ensure that whatever you take it is a sensible amount for one meal (i.e. you should not take a hot meal plus a sandwich lunch). This will be checked at the till.

When you get to the till please give in your meal ticket instead of payment. The canteen staff will direct you to where you should eat (often in the bar, but possibly in another room). Do ask the canteen staff if you are unsure where to go.

It is not possible for parents or other accompanying guests to eat in the King’s canteen (even with payment). Snacks are available to buy at King’s Coffee Shop (entrance from the bar) and there are a number of other options near the College.

5. Staying overnight in King’s College (applicants only)

Information about booking accommodation is on the accommodation request form.

If you have requested King’s accommodation by submitting an accommodation request form and you received the acknowledgement email, we will contact you by the end of November at the very latest if there is a problem. If we do not contact you then you may assume that we have arranged exactly what you asked for on your form.

Inside the porters' lodge

In the Porters' Lodge

You may collect your room key from King’s College Porters’ Lodge (at the main entrance of King’s, on King’s Parade) any time from 16.00 on the day you arrive. The porters will have your name and will know which room you are staying in. It is essential that you use your name exactly as you wrote it on your UCAS form, both for the accommodation request form and for when you arrive (this will prevent confusion).

If you will arrive late at night, there is no problem at all. The Porters’ Lodge is manned 24/7 and there will be someone there to give you your key whatever time it is. If you arrive after the front gate of King’s is locked, please use the bell on the right of the main entrance (on the wall behind the post box), which rings through to the Porters' Lodge so that the porter on duty can let you in.

In the morning you must return your key to the Porters’ Lodge by 09:00. Please be prompt about this. Our housekeeping staff have a lot of work to do to get the rooms ready for the next set of candidates.

You will receive one key and a card from the porters. The Key is your room key. The card lets you in and out of the College gates (the back and side gates are locked at night).

When you get to your room, please take time to read the fire evacuation notice and ensure that you know where the nearest fire escape is in case of an emergency.

We supply a bath towel and a small bar of soap for admissions candidates.

If you are unsure about anything please ask the student helpdesk if it is during the hours when the students are there. Outside of these hours please go to the Porters’ Lodge if you need help or advice at any time. The porters are first aid trained.

Please do not try to purchase alcoholic drinks at the bar if you are under 18. If you are over 18 it would be advisable to carry ID.

6. Luggage storage

If you have luggage which you need to store whilst you have interviews / tests please ask at the interview helpdesk (or the Porters’ Lodge if it is out of the helpdesk hours) and you will be told where you can put it.
Luggage is left at your own risk. Please do not leave valuables (it would be better not to bring valuables with you).

7. King’s College Library

Library interior

Admissions candidates who have time between interviews and would like a quiet place to study are welcome to use the College Library during opening times when it is staffed (09:00 - 17:15 Monday to Friday).

If you would like to use the Library, please note the following:

  • The Library entrance is in Webb’s Court and is marked on the map of King’s College. To gain access you will need to press the buzzer on the left of the door and say that you are an admissions candidate when the library staff answer. They will then release the door to enable you to enter and go up the stairs into the library.
  • Strictly no parents or other accompanying guests will be allowed in the library even to look around. We want to keep the library a quiet place for candidates to read and work undisturbed if they wish to. Thank you for your co-operation with this.
  • The library staff request that admissions candidates sign the visitors’ book when they enter and sit near the issue desk where possible.
  • Please do not disturb other candidates. If you want to talk, please go elsewhere. If other users of the library are disturbing you, please talk to the library staff at the issue desk.
  • If you want to know what the library looks like, you may find the virtual tour useful.

8. No wi-fi available

Front court

Front court

Please be aware that it will not be possible to use the College wi-fi / connect to the College network whilst you are in King’s.

If you need wi-fi access, there are a number of cafes in town which offer wi-fi access. Here are some of the closest ones (but there are many more):

  • Café Nero on King’s Parade. From King’s cross the road and Café Nero is along on the left (location map)
  • Prêt à manger at 22 Market Street. From King’s, turn left onto King’s Parade then right after Great St Mary’s Church. Go up along Market Street and you'll find Prêt à manger on your right.
  • Costa Coffee on Sidney Street. From King’s, turn left onto King’s Parade then right after Great St Mary’s Church. Go up along Market Street and turn left at the top onto Sidney Street. Costa Coffee is up this street on the right (location map).

9. King’s College Chapel

King’s College Chapel will unfortunately be closed for much (but not all) of interview week due to preparations for the recording of Carols from King’s which is broadcast by the BBC on Christmas Eve each year. If there are big broadcasting vans parked in front of the College, that is what they are for.
See further information.

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