Who we are and what we do

University of the Third Age in Cambridge (U3AC), an independent Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), organises educational, social and fitness activities for people in the Cambridge area who are not or no longer in full-time employment (there are no age restrictions). Set up in 1982, we are self-financing and run by our members.

Welcome from the Chair

U3AC is one of the largest and certainly the oldest ‘university of the third age’ in the country, and I’m proud to be a second-generation member. Twenty years ago my mother was swimming with U3AC at The Leys School and doing Spanish conversation (not at the same time!). Those two courses are still popular – just two of over 300 courses, nearly all taught by our member volunteers.

At U3AC you’ll find people who share your interests and enthusiasms, who want to keep mentally and physically active, who like a bit of structure in their week. We know it’s all good for us but we do it because it’s enjoyable: you’ll never be bored. Once you’re a member you can take it up a level and run a course or activity – by yourself or with a friend – or you could volunteer to help with office tasks or act as a steward at the lectures.

As a charity we are run by our elected Board of Trustees (‘Council’ in U3AC speak); our AGM is open to all members. Day-to-day organisation is managed by our 3 staff members, known as ‘The Office’ (more U3AC speak). While they are generally your first point of contact, I am always happy to hear from members.

Susan Honeyford

Susan Honeyford, U3AC Chair

Our Programme of Courses

Each year U3AC members have over 330 courses and activities to choose from. You could:

  • learn about something new – courses have included building a free website, military history, James Joyce’s Ulysses, astronomy, climate change
  • study a new language or improve your language skills
  • pursue an existing interest – listening to jazz, drawing for pleasure
  • enjoy a sociable activity – bridge, Scrabble, a book group
  • improve your fitness – yoga, dance
  • or simply enjoy the open air while walking or bird watching.

Courses may run across one, two or all three terms.

Download our Programme of Courses and course vacancy list

Social events

Trips and visits

Our Cultural and Social Activities Committee organises trips and visits for members to theatres, museums and places of interest at reasonable cost throughout the year. These are advertised in the Newsletter and/or the weekly Bulletin and on this website.

Application forms can be downloaded from this website when you are logged in, or picked up from the U3AC Reception area or at the Wednesday Lectures.

U3AC organises regular events at which members meet and mingle, including:

  • New Year’s drinks party (January)
  • Meeting for new members (September)
  • Christmas lunch (December)

These events are all announced in the weekly Bulletin and on this website.

Read our latest Bulletin


Our Lectures and Conference

U3AC organises two regular lecture series which are open to all members:

The Ron Gray Annual Conference, usually held on a Saturday in January, always has a topical theme as its subject. It is led by speakers who are experts in their fields and concludes with questions and contributions from the floor.


Our Summer School

The Summer School is held over four weeks in the summer holiday. It offers members a varied programme of short courses and one-off lectures.

The Programme for Summer 2021 will be available in June.


Garden parties

In the summer a number of garden parties are held in members’ gardens, often to raise money for charity. Forthcoming garden parties are all announced in the weekly Bulletin and on this website.


Wine tasting

Members who enjoy wine and want to learn a little more about it can join one of the wine tastings that are organised by two U3AC members with advice from a local wine merchant. They take place on occasional evenings in the U3AC premises and are advertised in the weekly Bulletin and on this website.