BBQ & Island

BBQ & Island

It is possible to book the small island in the college garden any time you want! There is also a BBQ setup which students are welcome to use. This area is very popular during the summer so be sure to book in advance.


  • Darwin college members may book the small Island and BBQ via the link at the bottom of the page. Make sure, you are aware of all terms and conditions by reading through this page first.
  • Alumni may book the small Island and BBQ via the Development Office.
  • External bookings (University Department or Society/Corporate Private Use - in either case booked by a Darwinian) must be done via the Domestic Bursar's Secretary to enquire about the availability of the BBQ and Island on your requested dates.
    domestic.Email: bursars.secretary@darwin.cam.ac.uk
Read the Terms and Conditions below.

On the day of your booking, visit the Porter's Lodge to get the keys and sign the release form. Have fun, but please take care of our equipment! If you are found to have damaged anything, left rubbish, not cleaned the BBQ, or not put the BBQ away you risk having £50 added to your Darwin account.

Important Information
  • As the Organiser you will be held responsible for your events compliance with the Conditions of Use.
  • BBQs may only be held on the first island (the paved area left of the bridge).
  • Both the BBQ and island must be booked.
  • The BBQ has to be cleaned and locked up after the event.
  • The island must be cleaned after the event.
  • You will need to bring your own BBQ tools.
  • No external vendors/contractors are to be used on the Island.
  • Kitchens in student blocks must not be used for cleaning of, or cooking for, barbeques because of the fire risk.
Conditions of use for the BBQ
  • 3-hour time slots can be booked.
  • The person who books the BBQ must be on the island at all times.
  • The maximum number of guests allowed on the island is 50. The organiser is responsible for ensuring that this number is not exceeded during their booking.
  • The island must be vacated before dark – even if this is earlier than 9pm.
  • Please note that you have to supply your own charcoal and matches and a rag to clean up the set.
  • Pick up black bin bags from the Porter's Lodge for your rubbish.
  • After the BBQ, please clean up the island and leave everything tidy. The ashes will be hot so leave the BBQ on the island to cool down (do not carry the hot BBQ over the bridge).
  • Remove all your rubbish from the island. This includes unused coal, empty bottles and cartons, leftover food etc. Put everything in the black bags. Please make sure you lock up the BBQ before you leave and return the key to the Porter’s Lodge.
  • The day following the BBQ, clean the BBQ - empty all the ash into a black bag and brush the set clean; wash the BBQ grid under the tap located outside the study centre door and dry with a clean rag. Do not empty charcoal into the drains.
  • If your booking immediately follows another, then you should leave the previous party’s hot coals in the BBQ and add your own as necessary. Note: it is the responsibility of the organiser of the last event of any given day to ensure the Island is cleared and the BBQ cleaned.
  • Let the Porters know you are finished. If there is a problem, you will be billed £50 to support the use of the BBQ.
  • Please note: Returning the key does not mean you will not be billed should there be a problem.
  • It is in your interest to report it to the Porter's Lodge if you find either the island or the BBQ dirty. Failure to do so may result in you being billed. If either the Island or the BBQ are not cleaned properly you will be billed.
  • If you find either the Island or the BBQ dirty when you arrive for your booking then it is in your interest to report this to the Porter’s Lodge. Failure to do so may result in you being held liable and a charge being made as detailed above.
  • Please note that you will be held personally responsible for ensuring that:
    • Background music (e.g. a CD player) is only played at low volume.
    • Smoke machines are not used under any circumstances.
    • All garden or other furniture is returned to its original position after your booking.
    • Any BBQ equipment other than the DCSA BBQ is approved for use by the Clerk of Works before being used on the island; disposable BBQs are not acceptable.
    • Hog roasting spits or similar equipment are approved by the Clerk of Works before being used on the island.
    • Gazebos or anything similar are approved by the Clerk of Works before being used on the Island Kitchens in student blocks are not used for cleaning or cooking for BBQs because of the fire risk.
    • Have fun, but please take care of our equipment! If you are found to have damaged anything, you may be responsible for a hefty deposit, to be added to your Darwin account.
Fellows and current members: Free
Alumni: £30
University Department or Society (booked through a Darwinian): £45
Corporate Private Use (booked through a Darwinian): £90

If you are ready to book, click on the link below, select a free time slot, click on "Add," select the Barbeque, click "Done" and then "Create." Here is the link to accept these terms and conditions and book.


Without doubt the best college bar in Cambridge, the student-run and operated DarBar offers a space every day from 9pm to unwind after a busy day or to celebrate the end of the week. It offers a wide selection of drinks - both alcoholic and not - and it caters for every taste.

Keeping prices low is the priority for the DarBar team, and regular promotions operate throughout the year. The newly-christened Secession Session runs every Monday and offers deals even when the UK parliament refuses to do so. Also popular are the regular themed whisky tastings, where DarBar invites an expert to guide us through the quagmire that is whisky.

The bar’s most popular event is the annual Oktoberfest, where the official Munich Oktoberfest beers are imported and served in Darwin steins alongside live German music, sausages, and schnitzel.

During Freshers’ Fortnight the bar will be hosting numerous events, including a Gin Night, Latin Party, Board Game Night, the annual Derek Scott Bar Games Night (named after our Head Porter), a pub quiz, International Beer Night, open mic night, and the biggest event of them all, the BOP.

The bar relies on the student body to open every night. If you would like to be part of helping run one of the best parts of Darwin College student life or if you have any questions about the bar, please email the Bar Chair at dcsa_bar AT darwin.cam.ac.uk. Stay up to date with the latest updates by liking our facebook page!



Darwin offers access to a fitness room for primary or associated members of the college. The membership is free and allows you to use the gym at any time. In order to gain access to the gym for the first time you will be required to attend a gym induction, which will typically be offered online during freshers’ week or can be individually arranged with your Sports & Societies officers (dcsa_sports AT darwin.ac.uk) throughout the year. This induction is important to familiarise yourself with the rules, ask any questions you might have, sign the conditions of use form and finally activate your student card for access to the gym. Please respect the following rules and guidelines:

COVID Safety Measures
  • The gym has a maximum capacity of 4 people (2 weights, 2 cardio) to allow for social distancing.
  • To prevent overcrowding and to comply with track-and-trace you will only be allowed to enter during your booked slot. If you do not intent to show up to your booked time, please delete your booking.
  • If you show any coronavirus symptoms (high temperature; new, continuous cough; loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) or feel unwell, do not book a slot and cancel all pre-existing bookings.
  • Sanitise your hands with the hand sanitiser provided next to the door when you enter.
  • Open the windows upon entry to allow for ventilation during your workout. Make sure to sanitise your hands before and after operating the windows.
  • Try not to touch your face during your visit. Paper towels are provided in case you need but please bin these immediately and sanitise your hands.
  • Please try to stay in the marked area for weight training or cardio during your visit.
  • Do not wander around the gym while resting and keep conversations to a minimum. Try not to touch anything that you do not intend to use for exercise purposes.
  • Wipe down all equipment you are using with the sanitiser spray in your area. Please do so before and after your workout. Dispose of the paper towels immediately.
  • Due to social distancing guidelines you will not be able to work out together or have a spotter. Do not use heavy weights unless you are comfortable to do so and always use the safety spotter bars in the power rack. Unfortunately, we cannot allow coached sessions.
  • Please leave the gym when your time is over and make sure everything is clean. Check if the outer window is properly locked before you leave.
General Rules
  • You will need to complete an induction with the Sports & Societies Officers and sign the conditions-of-use form before you will be given access to the gym.
  • Do not play loud music during office hours. Please try to use headphones or keep the volume to a minimum.
  • Do not drop your weights during a workout unless you need to. Try to lower weight gently onto the floor to prevent damage to the equipment, floor, and you.
  • Please try not to cause sudden noise while other people are present in the gym.
  • Return all used equipment to the designated area. If you see something out of place, please return it so we can keep the gym in order.
  • Some rowing machines belong to the Darwin College Boat Club. Unless you had a separate induction, use the general Darwin College cardio equipment.
  • If you see any damaged or broken equipment, immediately stop using it and inform the Porters and Sports & Societies Officers.
  • If at any time during your workout you feel unwell, please inform anyone who might be present in the gym and report to the Porters.
Please be considerate, leave the gym if housekeeping wants to enter the gym for cleaning purposes and respect social distancing. There will be routine checks of the gym. If you are caught breaking any of the above-mentioned rules your access might be removed.

To book the gym please click here.

Music at Darwin

The music society owns a wide range of equipment available for use by any Darwinian. These are stored in the Darwin College Bar Cellar. In there we have a drum kit, PA system, amps, a guitar, a bass, music stands - all sorts of goodies that we want you to make use of. If you think we’re missing something, we have money to buy stuff too!

The college also has the Bar Area for use as a rehearsal space. If you would like to reserve a time-slot, this can be done so here. For reasons of safety, individual access to the cellar is not permitted, instead bring a friend! Please note that bookings should be made outside of bar opening times. Any questions, please get in touch with the DCMS committee.

Finally we have 4 different pianos throughout the college. Please refer to the table below for info on where to find them and how/if to book. (Note: Keys for the rooms may be obtained from the Porters’ Lodge and must be returned before 11.30pm.)

Location Type Bookable
Old Library Upright Not currently usable.
Dining Hall Grand Yes via events AT darwin.cam.ac.uk
Bradfield Room Electric (with headphones) Yes via domestic.bursars.secretary AT darwin.cam.ac.uk
Common room Upright No
Music soc committee 2020-2021:
Huge Ramsden (President): hor20 AT cam.ac.uk
Nikos Patikas (Treasurer): np504 AT cam.ac.uk
Ash Masing (Choir): alm205 AT cam.ac.uk

Punt Club


We have a set of additional rules to account for the requirements of social distancing at this time. Please make sure to carefully read those before going on an outing. The rules can be found at this link. These rules are an addition to the existing rules that can be found below.

The Darwin College Punt and Kayak Club own five punts, six kayaks, a canoe, and three paddle boards. The five punts, Isabela, Velociraptor, The Beagle, Master Brown, and Iguana, are moored on the part of the river that runs through the college grounds. Punting equipment, the kayaks, canoe, and the paddle boards are stored in the punt house next to the Old Granary. For any queries, please review the information on this website and then email the Admiral of the Punts at dcsa_punts AT darwin.cam.ac.uk


The table below gives a brief overview of the membership and booking fees.

Punts Kayaks and Canoe Paddle boards
Non-members/ individual outings £15 per outing
(per single punt, a trip to Grantchester counts at least as two outings)
not available
- only members
not available
- only members
Membership £30 membership fee per season
+ access to all vessels
A quick summary (not comprehensive), you are still expected to read the full Terms and Conditions before signing up!
  • A single outing can last up to 3h, a punt member can either take out 2 single kayaks or paddle boards at any one time or a single punt, canoe, or double kayak. If multiple punts are required or other non-standard bookings please contact the Admiral of the Punts.
  • A trip to Grantchester in the punt counts at least as two outings (lasts at least 4h+), thus requiring two bookings. A member can only make a single booking per day, so you will need at least two members/outings to go to Grantchester. You’ll need to be a group of students, in any case, to get the punt over the ramp, and please make sure to put the mooring pin inside the punt when going down the ramp! We don’t want to have to remove any more bent metal pins.
  • Student I.D card or any I.D card (Alumni etc), must be left with the porter, once a punt key is taken out of the lodge.
  • Punts, kayaks, and paddle boards can be taken out from 08.00. Everything must be returned at the very latest 15 minutes before sunset.
  • NO AFTER DARK PUNTING OR KAYAKING - only the Admiral can take boats out after dark or give permission to do so.
  • For students & college members with a raven log: all bookings need to be entered into the online booking system before the outing starts - no key can be given out without the online booking or the explicit consent of the Admiral of the Punts. If you don’t have a raven login (as an alumnus) please contact the Alumni Office to make your booking (see website) or request the porters to make the booking for you.
  • Make sure to check the punt, kayaks, and locks for any damage after the outing and report it both to the porter on duty AND the Admiral of the Punts immediately after returning. If something is damaged before the outing, go back and inform the porter and write the Admiral.
  • The person making the booking has to be present at all times during the outing and is responsible for the behaviour of their guests.
  • All punt, kayak, paddle board, and canoe hire (including safety equipment) is at the hirer’s own risk. The hirer warrants that both him/herself and all passengers have sufficient training/expertise for the outing (see the terms and conditions for more details on this!)
  • Don't be late when returning - you risk a suspension or fine (and how would you feel if you had to wait for other people to return)
IMPORTANT - to avoid damage to the boats
  • Be extra careful with the metal pins when rolling the punt down the rollers on your trip to Grantchester. Make sure to put them inside the punt and do not keep them inside the hole! They might get bent otherwise.
  • Make sure to pull up the rudder on the kayaks when they are out of the water to avoid damage to the rudder. When in the water let the rudder down to make it easier to steer them.
This document has more details and explanations on how to avoid common errors.

Table of contents


Current members of the college, including staff, and alumni can book a single punt for a single outing of up to 3h each day. Punt Club members can book punts for free. Only members can book the canoe or the double kayak or up to two single kayaks or two paddle boards for 3h each day.

Bookings can be made on the day, or up to seven days in advance, and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Each person is permitted to make one reservation per day lasting 3 hours. Weekends are the busiest and booking in advance is strongly recommended. During the week you will usually be able to take a punt out without booking in advance - but it is still recommended to avoid disappointment. For students & college members with a raven login (CRSid): all bookings need to be made before the outing starts via the online booking system.

Trips down The Backs (to Jesus Green and back) typically take between a couple of hours depending on punting experience. Trips to Grantchester and back take 4 to 5 hours on average. As a consequence, the fee for punt trips to Grantchester is equivalent to two outings per punt or you need at least two members to make the journey; The latest time vessels can be taken out is one hour before sunset and all vessels must be returned and moored before sunset.

For longer trips to Grantchester, if multiple punts are required or other non-standard bookings please contact the Admiral of the Punts.

Link to the online booking system
For alumni without a raven log in

Alumni must contact the College Development Office at alumni.relations@darwin.cam.ac.uk who will be able to make the booking in your place. Same-day bookings can be made in person at the porters’ lodge, but we strongly advise you to make the reservation to avoid disappointments.

Chauffeured punt tour services with experienced student punt captains are available. The cost per tour is £30 for punt club members or £40 for non- punt club members and is bookable by current college members and alumni. Please contact the Admiral of the punts by email at least one to two weeks in advance of your desired tour date.

Joining the Punt Club/Renewing membership

Current members of the college, including staff, and alumni can join the punt club for a non-refundable £30 fee. Membership is valid for the current season (March-November), or if purchased after Sept. 1st, until the end of the next year's season. No discounts or refunds will be given for members arriving mid-season, or leaving before the season ends. The membership entitles you to unlimited, free punting (for up to 3h a day) as well as access to all our punts and the other vessels. There is no subscription, so members need to signup here again every year to renew their membership.

To know firsthand about many of the events the Punt Club is organizing throughout the year and important changes to the Terms & Conditions, we ask all members to sign up to our Punt Club Mailing List. This is a very low volume mailing list, with only occasional updates.

To join the Punt Club or renew your membership:
  1. Familiarize yourself with our Terms and Conditions by reading through this website and read the Guide to Punting
  2. Join the mailing list
  3. Sign up
      Important, make sure to complete the form all the way and press the submit button at the end. Without submitting the form, you are not in the data base and we don't have a record of your signup! Note that you don't need to have a PayPal account in order to pay for the membership. You can pay on the PayPal portal with a debit card, using the Checkout as Guest button. Sign up through the online registration form
  4. For anyone without a Raven account/ CRSID:
    Contact the Admiral of the Punts (include your full name, email, and your relationship to the college), please put the Darwin Alumni Relations Office in cc (alumni.relations@darwin.cam.ac.uk).
  5. </ul> </li>
If you have any issues with the registration form or anything else is unclear, please contact us at dcsa_punts AT darwin.cam.ac.uk

Activities and Events

Punting has a long tradition in Cambridge and is one of the highlights of what the town has to offer. In addition to being able to take your friends and family out when they visit, membership also gives you the opportunity to sign up to special events such as the annual Punt Race, the outings to the Trinity and St John’s May Ball fireworks at night, and to see King‘s choir‘s singing on the river. We will also chauffeur you to some fancy formals, teach you about bats that live in the area around Grantchester, or just have an enjoyable time in summer on a trip to the Grantchester orchard. Many of the pictures you can see at the top of this section have been taken during some of these events. It’s great fun and a good way to experience some of the unique aspects of Cambridge life.

First outing - what you need to know

A small number of life jackets are available if desired and can be found in the same cupboards as the cushions (left side of the kayak house) and on the hangers. You are required to use them when using the kayaks and canoe.

Where is the equipment?

All equipment (life jackets, punt cushions, punt poles, spare paddle in case you drop the pole (more useful than you think) can be found in our new kayak house, just next to the Old Granary.

[Kayak House Location]
How to lock a punt?

This is a tricky one. This document has some information on how to do it. Punts need to be moored at both ends. Do NOT chain one punt to another punt – this creates problems when someone tries to take that punt out. Wrap the chain around the post as often as possible to restrict the movement of the locked-up punts against the concrete walls. But make sure not to lock them too rigidly, so the next person can still use them with ease, even if they are not as strong as you.

What is bailing?

If you are using the punts after a period of rain, keep in mind that they are likely to contain water! There should be a bucket or bailer at the quay to bail out the water (looks like a blue dustpan). Don't take the bailer with you on the river!

What if I am late?

Always try to keep to the allotted time. Late-comers risk suspension from the Punt Club. This is particularly important in the evening, never arrive back after dark. In case you are more than 15min late, please make sure to call and inform the Porters’ Lodge at 01223 335660.

What to do before returning the keys?

Make sure the punts are properly locked. Keep the punts tidy and take any rubbish with you. Return all equipment to where you got it from. If something gets damaged or lost during an outing, report it to the Porter on duty AND the Admiral of the Punts as soon as possible. This allows people with later reservations to be notified if there is a problem and will save you a lot of trouble.

How to steer a punt?

We have a complete guide on the topic, but then the best way of learning is probably by doing. The club runs free punting lessons throughout Freshers’ Fortnight at the start of the academic year and these are the best opportunity to learn the basics of punting on the Cam. We might also offer lessons at other times of the year if there is sufficient demand, so please contact the Admiral of the Punts if you are interested.

How to make a booking?

To book, log in to the portal to see the availability of the vessels. To make a booking, click on an available time slot. The ‘Create a new reservation’ page will then open. Enter your chosen time, under name of booking enter your full name and CRSID eg John Doe (jd42), then ‘Create’. The booking should then appear under the schedule, payment (in case of single outing, we accept only cashless payments) must be made when you arrive at the porter’s lodge to pick up the keys at the start of the booking.


Terms and Conditions are available online. In addition, you can get the printed version in the Porters' Lodge. Please contact the Admiral of the Punts if you have difficulties accessing the Terms and Conditions.

TV & Games room

TV & Games room

The TV room has a TV, DVD player, PS3, Nintendo Switch and a karaoke machine, and you can also stream directly from your laptop. The college also holds a TV license for the TV room, allowing you to watch your favourite television shows.

The TV Room is a flexible, multi-use space that also supports activities such as music practice sessions, fitness classes, lectures, and more. Microphones and games are stored in the cupboard on the right side of the room and can be accessed with the TV room keys kept at the porters lodge. Keys can only be taken if a booking has been made. The Darwin Library also has a DVD library - please contact the library to join and borrow DVDs.


  • The Darwin TV room can be accessed using your Darwin front door key.
  • The keys to open to the media cabinet and the cupboard in the TV room are kept with the porters.


Bookings can be done through the room booking system (you will need to sign in using your Raven ID) Bookings should not last over three hours and are not usually taken more than two weeks in advance. Bookings over three hours, done more than two weeks in advance, or recurrent (i.e. every week at the same day and time) can be done via the DCSA secretary (dcsa_secretary AT darwin.cam.ac.uk). Any other questions about using the room should also be directed to the DCSA secretary. </h4>External bookings</h4> Bookings can be made by non-Darwin societies, but are subject to a £30 charge. Please email dcsa_secretary@darwin.cam.ac.uk to arrange the booking and payment. These should be made at least 48 hours in advance and the secretary will try to confirm them by putting them on the calendar.

Using the TV Room

To use the TV room’s media facilities:
  • Turn on the projector (BENQ remote control)
  • Turn on Yahama Sound Amplifier (Yahama remote control)
  • Select correct HDMI (either using the remote or turn the left (input) knob on the Yahama machine (the one at the bottom of the cupboard)
  • HMDI
    • HDMI1: Loose HMDI cable
    • HMDI2: Switch
    • AUDIO1: AUX cable