REVIEW: Pembroke May Ball

A dream come true

Cambridge Cambridge University May Ball May Week Pembroke May Ball review Student

Once upon a time, in a university far over Parker’s Piece, studied a girl who longed for a Cambridge Ball.

From necking a shot from an ice sculpture while judgemental goldfish watched, to one giant banana that seemed to have no real purpose except as a muse for innuendos. Everything you could have dreamed of resided behind the large, beautifully lit walls of Pembroke college.

Pretty Pembroke

Classy as ever, we went straight for the food and started off with Thai Green Curry, washed down with a burger and chocolate covered banana. A mixture I never thought I’d experience, or enjoy, but fuck, peach flavoured vodka and a flamedgrilled piece of meat may be my next favourite concoction.

To kill time before they cracked out the Loch Fyne fish bar, we took a stroll and found our activities for the night.

With the burning of a vodka shot still fresh in our mouths, we decided it was time for the dodgems.

Like being in the sea

After four years with a driving license, it’s safe to say I know how to bump into other cars very well.

Not quite as fast as the ones at Trinity and getting stuck was a reoccurance. But still, your inner child can’t help but love these nostalgic fairground rides.


One of the more interesting ‘fizzy’ cocktails we encountered was an elderflower and rum mixture, but unfortunately it wasn’t to everyones taste, with one unhappy cocktailer adding she wasn’t an “elderflower kind of girl”.

Lucky for her, the alcoholic choice was endless and limitless.

Spice, sausage, salmon… we had it all

It felt like the time flew by and before we knew it we were heading to the main stage to jam out to Becky Hill, former The Voice contestant. She was good, really good.

But I only knew one of her songs, so as soon as I heard that, Prince Charming took me to the silent disco where we caught the end of Let It Go. 

I’d say silent disco was my favourite part.

My bae, Becky Hill

Nine hours just didn’t seem like enough time to get through everything and looking back now I wish I’d used the event planner at the back of the booklet.

Yes, I’m that person.

Becky Hill was followed on the main stage by Wankelmut, the German DJ best known for “My head is a jungle”. The song sums up my night well.


In spite of my champagne consumption and lack of planning, we did manage to do the pretty major stuff. We sampled the delights of shisha, played mini golf and chilled out on beach chairs to smooth jazz.

And, after waiting in the queue for what felt like an eternity, we managed to get on the Ferris wheel.

Drinks tent with the Ferris wheel in the background

Eventually the sun began to rise and while we danced in the hall like we’d been transported back to the 1800’s, I couldn’t help but compare Pembroke and my Monday night conquest of Trinity.

Pembroke is like the prettier little sister. She’s arty and spiritual and protected from the burden of tradition and expectations.


I would swap the dazzling intensity of Trinity for the relaxed beauty of Pembroke any day – especially when the latter is not far off approaching half the price.

Pembroke is that small, perfectly-formed hidden gem of a college and its ball affirmed this magnificently. Next year, make sure to put Pembroke on your watchlist.

4.5 stars