Eating in College

Formal Hall

At Cambridge, Formal Hall is usually a three course silver-service meal that students dress up for and wear gowns. Our Formal Hall takes place around once a week in the stunning College Hall and you are allowed to bring guests with you to enjoy the food and lively atmosphere.

There are three types of Formal Halls at Newnham:

1. Regular Formal Halls: typically held 1-2 times a week - check the meal booking portal for more info. Any member of Newnham (MCR and JCR) may sign up and usually bring up to two guests.

2. Subject Formal Halls: These are held throughout the year and primarily for students in a particular subject group, who will be invited free of charge to sit at High Table (you will receive an email about this when your subject hall is approaching). Space permitting, students in other subjects who wish to attend (and bring guests) may sign up in the normal procedure.

3. Graduate Formal Halls: limited to graduate students and their guests and happening every 2 weeks on Tuesday (alternating with Grad Supper). Early sign-up is recommended, particularly for Christmas and end-of-term Formals. Before and after Graduate Formal Halls there are typically drinks in the MCR organised by the MCR committee, to which all MCR members and guests are invited. Information on the drinks (when they start, if they take place, etc.) will typically be distributed via e-mail.

Graduate Supper

Grad Supper is a free buffet-style meal provided by the College for the MCR every other week during term-time, providing an opportunity for postgraduate students to take a break and socialise together. You must register in advance through the meal booking portal; please note that, unlike Formals, Grad Suppers are for Newnham MCR members only (no guests!). When you arrive at the Supper, a member of the MCR Committee will check your name off on a list of attendees. If you register but cannot make it on the night, please find another member of the MCR who can take your place - you or the MCR may be charged for any missed meals and wasted resources :(

The Buttery

The Newnham buttery offers a wide variety of hot and cold meals to suit any dietary requirement, cooked on-site by the dedicated catering team. A salad bar, snacks, and hot and cold drinks are also available. The buttery is open all year round except for short periods of closure at Christmas and Easter and a period during the Long Vacation (so perfect for graduate students!). Food is available to take away (you can even bring your own containers), and if you chose to eat in then you can usually choose between the modern Buttery area and the Hall next door (provided there isn't another event happening that day). Information on the daily/weekly menus and opening hours can be found on the main college website.

You can either pay by card or using your college account in the buttery. If you pay using your college account, this means that you swipe your university card when you pay, and all your Buttery expenses are settled with the rest of your college bill at the end of each term. If you live in college accommodation, you will be asked to choose a 'Kitchen Fixed Charge' (KFC) option at the start of the year. The KFC is a charge towards the running of the college's student catering facilities throughout the year. If you want, you can pay a lower KFC plus a certain amount of credit onto your college bill at the beginning of the term, which you then spend at the Buttery throughout term.

Iris Café

The Iris Café is a chilled space for barista-made coffee, hot and cold breakfast items available from 8.00am (Mo-Sa) or 9.00am (Sun), delicious cakes, freshly-made paninis, and much more. It’s a great place to treat yourself once an essay’s been handed in, or to take time to relax with friends. Newnham members receive a 25% discount when paying with credit on their college cards - unlike at the Buttery, you do need to top this up in advance. For more information on how to top up your card and termtime/vacation opening hours, see the main college website

The Iris Café turns into a bar most evenings during the week. Newnham has a student-run bar, with regular social events that bring members of the College together. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are available, and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. Typically the bar committee will send out e-mails about their opening times and their menu. Further, you can check out their Instagram account for updates: @irisbarnewn.