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The catering team provide fresh and exciting menus throughout Durham University, including college dining hall meal packages, college formal dinners and branded University cafes. All menus are created to meet the diverse needs of our University community including students, staff and visitors alike.

We have several outlets across the campus and the city to cater for members of the University community, a few of which are also open to the public. 

Student catered package

Fully-catered colleges provide a student catered package consisting of three meals a day for seven days a week during undergraduate term time. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are self-service and are hosted in college dining halls. In addition to the above, St Cuthbert's Society operates a part-catered student package option.

Local college catering teams prepare the student catered package using food predominantly from unprocessed ingredients and free from controversial additives.

Menus have variety, balance and reflect the Food Standard Agency's 'Eat Well Guide', therefore enabling students, staff and visitors to choose a healthy, varied and balanced diet. The student catered package caters, where practicable, for all individual dietary requirements.

Menus promote foods that are beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing e.g. oily fish, whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables. A minimum of 5 fresh fruit and vegetables are available per day, including fresh vegetable-based soups, undressed salad bars, side portions and fresh fruit. Fresh fish is promoted alongside vegetarian and vegan options and there is always an alternative to red meat. All whole eggs are locally sourced and free-range and the University is Marine Stewardship Council accredited.

The University recognises the importance of healthy eating in relation to wellbeing and its responsibility to play a leading role in providing healthy food to enable students and the wider college community to make healthy food choices. It also recognises that good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, benefits physical and mental wellbeing, a good diet reduces the risk of some diseases and improves the ability to fight off and recover from illness.

When Covid guidelines allow, we will resume the rollout of our flexible catering provision which provides flexibility at lunchtime, allowing students to choose between eating in the college dining hall or from a choice of University cafes on campus.

Two students sat eating lunch

College formal dinners

All colleges have special dinner events throughout the year called 'Formals'.

Formal dinners are special events in college, providing the opportunity to get all college members (Livers' in, Livers' out and mentors) and guests together. The style and formality of formal dinners differ, some are very traditional others are less so with informal clothing and without a high table.

Some formal dinners are themed, such as Christmas Formal, Burns Night Formal, and Handover Formal. Typically meals are three courses served to attendees.

Group of students at a Formal Dinner


On-campus there is a variety of cafes to suit the diverse needs of our students, staff and visitors alike. From the larger branded coffee chains of Costa and Starbucks with food and drinks on the go to cafes with local suppliers where you can enjoy freshly prepared refreshments.

Students sitting round a table in the College bar