Students celebrate the end of their exams at Cambridge’s May Ball

Students celebrate the end of their exams at Cambridge’s May Ball

Some of the country’s brightest thinkers and leaders of tomorrow let down their hair for one night as they celebrated the end of their exams during Cambridge University’s famous May Ball.

Students stripped off, hopped into inflatable boats and even leapt into the river after an all-night party at the Trinity Great Hall, as they wandered through the cobbled streets, champagne bottles in hand.

Still clad in dinner jackets, top hats and glamorous floor-length dresses, hordes of students teetered home arm-in-arm following the lavish event and prepared to carry on the celebrations with punt rides on the River Cam.

The lavish black tie ball is the biggest event of the Cambridge student social calendar and marks the end of their exams and allows stressed-out youngsters to let off some steam.

The occasion is well-known for giving the young revellers a chance to frolic in the streets as they celebrate the end of their exams.

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Some of the country’s brightest thinkers and leaders of tomorrow let down their hair for one night as they celebrated the end of their exams during Cambridge University’s famous May Ball

A chivalrous young man sweeps his date off her feet to save her from the famous cobbled streets of Cambridge city centre

A Cambridge student puffs nonchalantly on a cigar with a female companion slung over his shoulder in the early hours of Tuesday morning

Two students celebrate the end of the academic year a little bit too much as they get amorous in the middle of the road following a booze-fuelled May Ball

Role reversal: One young woman switches up the roles as she carries her date home after the May Ball (left), much to the surprise of other students (right)

Two young women treat themselves to a couple of bottles of wine each as they let their hair down after a stressful exam period

Students stripped off, hopped into inflatable boats and even leapt into the river (pictured) after an all-night party at the Trinity Great Hall, as they wandered through the cobbled streets, champagne bottles in hand

One amorous couple lock lips after a long night of letting off steam, in which they celebrated finishing the exam season

The beautiful River Cam is lit up in the early hours of the morning as merry students made their way home after a big night out

Merry Cambridge students let loose in the early hours of Tuesday morning as the majority of those in the city were fast asleep

Some of the country’s brightest thinkers and the leaders of tomorrow let down their hair for one night as they celebrated the end of their exams at Cambridge University’s infamous May Ball

Still clad in dinner jackets, top hats and glamorous floor-length dresses, hordes of students teetered home arm-in-arm following the lavish event and prepared to carry on the celebrations with punt rides on the River Cam (shown)

Three friends make their way to the next party spot following the end of festivities in the Great Hall (shown left), while one reveller makes her way home on a bicycle (right)

Three young men ditch their clothes and take a dip in the River Cam as they saw off the exam season in style on Monday night

A student cracks up his friends as he takes a seat atop a red post box in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a long night of drinking

After a long night of drinking, two students struggle to get back into their boat following an impromptu dive into the Cam

Cambridge students are pictured enjoying a punt on the River Cam this morning after the Trinity and Jesus College May Ball

Many of the ladies ditched their heels to clamber home and shielded their eyes from the morning sun, while young men undone their bow ties and unbuttoned their shirts.  

What is the May Ball at Cambridge University? How lavish tradition dates back to 1830s

The ball has been held every year apart from 1910 when King Edward VII died and between 1939 and 1945 during the Second World War.

The first one was held in 1838 when 38 Trinitarians happily drank their way through 47 bottles of champagne, 12 of sherry, six of Mosel, two of Claret, six quarts of ale and 16 huge servings of punch at a post-race dinner at the Hoop Inn.

The event is held on the first Monday of May Week, which, despite the month in the title, always takes place in June after exams.

The revellers decked in black tie and ball gowns posed for the time-honoured ‘survivor photo’ after seeing the festivities through to dawn.

Last night was the turn of students from the university’s Trinity and Jesus Colleges to hold their May Balls.

Some of them emerged from the two events, headlined by the likes of pop bands Scouting For Girls and Jonas Blue, a little worse for wear than others.

While some posed for perfectly choreographed photos outside the iconic Trinity College in the heart of the city, others fooled around as they bundled each other on Cambridge’s narrow streets.

In another see-it-to-believe-it snap, one male reveller smokes a cigar while nonchalantly carrying a friend over his shoulder.

Two students even took a dip in the River Cam as they tumbled out of the punt on which they had been larking about.

Others used their moment in front of the camera lens to embrace their bow-tied pals, as the sun rose on the city centre.

The May Ball events are some of the most lavish events on the university’s calendar.

Budgets typically run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds, and their extravagance can stretch as far as balloon rides and artificial canals for punting.

Two-person tickets to a college’s end of year bash can cost as much as £410 this year, the first time standard-priced tickets for any college ball have broken the £200-per-person mark. 

Tender: A loved-up couple steal a kiss at the end of the night as hundreds of worst for wear youngsters made their way home

Party time: A young woman can’t help but smile after a long night of drinking (left), while a couple share a tender kiss in the middle of the road (right)

Watch your step!A young lady and a friend hold onto each other for physical – and moral – support as they head home after a night of fun

Friends opt for a punt home on the River Cam to save their feet following more than half a day of festivities and partying

Following a dip in the River Cam in the early hours of Tuesday, this young poses for a photograph with a playful friend

A group of friends can’t help but smile after drinking and dancing the night away after a long and stressful set of exams

Some of the students still swigged from bottles of champagne as they celebrated all their hard work on Monday evening

Two Cambridge students entertain their friends with some impromptu moves in front of Cambridge’s famous St John’s College

Following a long night of dancing and walking round the cobbled streets of Cambridge, this young woman opted for ditching the high heels

One young man with a daring and spectacular dinner jacket on makes his way back from the lavish bash with three woman

Even as the sun came up this morning, it was clear the students had no intention of calling it a night as they clattered home from the all-night bash, with some even stripping off to take a dip in the River Cam

A young woman continues to quaff champagne during the walk home after a all-night party in the heart of Cambridge

Two young men walk home with their bow ties undone while a female friend opted for taking off her high heels after a long night of dancing and drinking

Three friends enjoy an after-party punt on the River Cam following a boozy five-course meal at the Trinity Great Hall

The lavish black tie ball is the biggest event of the Cambridge student social calendar and marks the end of their exams. Guests were treated to a lavish five-course meal, followed by music and dancing

The occasion is notorious for giving the young revellers a chance to frolic in the streets as they celebrate the end of their exams

The occasion is notorious for giving the young revellers a chance to frolic in the streets as they celebrate the end of their exams

Many of the ladies ditched their heels to clamber home and shielded their eyes from the morning sun, while young men undone their bow ties and unbuttoned their shirts

Frolics: As the sun came up this morning, throngs of the young and wealthy students were still celebrating on the streets

Much-anticipated event: Trinity May Ball is held on the first Monday of May Week, which, despite the month in the title, always takes place in June

Best-dressed: Several glamorous pals, who were dressed to the nines, giggled as they made their way home with composure

What and when are the biggest parties in the Cambridge University social calendar?

Students proved they had no intention of slowing down as they continued quaffing champagne as the evening drew to a close

Partying has become an age-old ritual at Cambridge and there are even special drinking societies that organise debauched events such as:

Caesarean Sunday is seen as the birth of the drinking parties for the summer term. It historically included members of Girton and Jesus colleges’ drinking society takes place at a park in Cambridge’s city centre, on the first bank holiday of the summer term. This year thousands of students got drunk, exposed themselves and fought.

Suicide Sunday: The party at Cambridge University is a traditional event in which hundreds of students celebrated finishing their exams. Three years ago the Suicide Sunday garden party, organised by the Wyverns, an all-male Magdalene College drinking

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