Alternative Swap Locations

“Formals are fun, there ain’t no place quite like Mahal, and I love the Bun Shop, but we’ve seen it all before.” MAUD DROMGOOLE suggests some new swapping locations.

Bowling Alley Drinking drinking society five-a-side ice skating Maud Dromgoole spoons Swap treasure hunt

It’s Michaelmas. Exams are far far away. The rot that set into our brains over summer is just about wearing off and it will soon be replaced with Christmas excitement, leaving little room for work. All in all, ’tis the season for swapping, but some swappers, like me, must be tiring of the old favorites.

Formals are fun, there ain’t no place quite like Mahal (except of course Curry Garden and Curry King), and I personally love the Bun Shop, but we’ve seen it all before. If this term is dragging on, here are The Tab‘s ideas to spice up your swap life.

Ice Skating

As suggested by BBC weather, the return of my annual cough and the permanent loss of feeling in my finger tips, winter has well and truly arrived. What’s more, it’s here to stay so why not make the most of it. Ice skating on Parker’s Piece was one of the highlights of my Michaelmas last year and it’d make a great swap.


Best to find your ice legs before you start boozing

Pros: It’s great to have a predetermined activity that’s not just drinking and it’s a fun activity in itself.

Cons: You can’t avoid the peacocks, boys especially if they’re good at it will be far more interested in showing off than talking. Falling over can be embarrassing. Difficult to dress for if you’re planning on going out afterwards.

Price Rating: £££



A twist on the more traditional formal, and a good opportunity to check out another college, and it’s students, in a more normal setting. We’re thinking vodka in your orange juice and ‘Irish’ coffees.  Perhaps pre-drinking in the JCR and post-drinking in a kind participant’s room.

Pros: It’s cheap, it’s exciting, and anything involving hash browns has got my vote.

Cons: It is a heavily supervised event and relies on friendly porters turning a blind eye. Fines are more humiliating given that your entire college is listening in and if you do make it out to Sunday night Life or Fez you will be severely lashed.

Price rating: £



Hire a punt or two, grab blankets, a picnic and some thermoses of mulled wine and set off on a winter adventure. Drink, be merry, snuggle and embarrass your friends.

Don’t drink and drive

Pros: A chance to get out an about, show off your punting skills and indulge in this truly Cambridge pursuit.

Cons: You might fall in, it’s cold, and if you’re sat next to someone boring there really is no escape.

Price rating: ££



You can eat, you can drink, and you also have the marvelous distraction of bowling. Perhaps one of the most social activities Cambridge has to offer.

Suitably tacky: like a soujourn to an Essex nightclub

Pros: Suitable for large groups of people and fancy dress is acceptable.

Cons: Bit of a faff to get there. Ugly shoes.

Price rating: £££


Treasure Trail

Keep the swaps you know and love but add a bit of extra excitement. Start early, pair up  – boy girl – and embark on a treasure trail round Cambridge ending at your chosen swap location. Set various challenges e.g. items to find. Organize forfeits for failures and latecomers.

Pros: It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know each and run around like an idiot. The element of competition is also an icebreaker.

Cons: Takes a bit of prior organization, would suffer from lack of commitment – could fall down around your ears.

Price rating: ££ – depending on where you end up and what you buy for prizes


Sporting Challenge

Organize a group, mixed game, be it rounders, ultimate Frisbee, or even mass twister. Find a location, bring a picnic, and play. Once again, forfeits are good.

Pros: Fun, drunken, silly, and the kind of thing you’ll look back on and make wistful remarks about ‘when you were young…’

Cons: Location is a bit of bugger, any outside areas at this time of year are prone to freezing.

Price Rating: £