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Cambridge students celebrate during £345-a-ticket May Ball

Well-heeled students donned their finery as they stumbled through Cambridge in sparkling gowns, towering heels and formal tuxedos as they celebrated the end of their exams with the university’s famous May Ball.

Guests, who paid at least £345 for a sought-after double ticket to Monday’s event, had the option of a lavish five-course feast with wine pairings or a champagne reception at Trinity College.

They enjoyed a stunning fireworks display followed by a night of entertainment ranging from comedians to classical and jazz music.

Some relaxed on punts on the River Cam after the music stopped, while others made their way home as the sun rose.

In years gone by, some of Britain’s brightest students have engaged in hedonistic behaviour, stripping off and jumping in the river, but this year more sipped from bottles of water than alcoholic drinks as they left the college. 

Students from Cambridge University make their way home along Trinity Lane after celebrating the end of the academic year at a May Ball in Trinity College

Students from Cambridge University make their way home along Trinity Lane after celebrating the end of the academic year at a May Ball in Trinity College

Three friends pose for the camera after an evening of fun in Cambridge

Festivities were brought to a spectacular close with a fireworks display above the River Cam

Three friends pose for the camera after an evening of fun in Cambridge, which was brought to a spectacular close with a fireworks display above the River Cam

Cambridge University students share a kiss as they take a punt ride along the River Cam after festivities continue after the music stopped playing

Punts fill the River Cam in Cambridge after a firework display at the May Ball at Trinity College. The May Ball events are some of the most lavish events on the university's calendar

Punts fill the River Cam in Cambridge after a firework display at the May Ball at Trinity College. The May Ball events are some of the most lavish events on the university’s calendar

Fireworks light up the sky above the River Cam as students enjoyed the historic May Ball, which marks the end of the academic year and signals a chance for them to let their hair down after a year of hard studies

Fireworks light up the sky above the River Cam as students enjoyed the historic May Ball, which marks the end of the academic year and signals a chance for them to let their hair down after a year of hard studies

Three friends donning their best finery pose for a photograph together as they make their way home through the streets of Cambridge in the early hours of this morning

Three friends donning their best finery pose for a photograph together as they make their way home through the streets of Cambridge in the early hours of this morning

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

One young woman is given a helping hand on the way home

Some of the country’s brightest thinkers and leaders of tomorrow give their fellow students a helping hand home after they let down their hair for one night as they celebrated the end of their exams during Cambridge University’s famous May Ball

Three friends lark about in the road in Cambridge as the festivities continued into the early hours of the morning following last night's May Ball

Three friends lark about in the road in Cambridge as the festivities continued into the early hours of the morning following last night’s May Ball

The beautiful River Cam was awash with revellers in the early hours of the morning as merry students made their way home after a big night out

The beautiful River Cam was awash with revellers in the early hours of the morning as merry students made their way home after a big night out

One young lady hitches a ride home on the back of her friend, complete with a bunch of flowers in her hand, while a high-heel shoes can be seen ditched the road behind them

One young lady hitches a ride home on the back of her friend, complete with a bunch of flowers in her hand, while a high-heel shoes can be seen ditched the road behind them

The historic streets of Cambridge were brimming with students in the early hours of this morning as they were captured in what is traditionally known as the 'survivor photos'

The historic streets of Cambridge were brimming with students in the early hours of this morning as they were captured in what is traditionally known as the ‘survivor photos’

A trio of dapper chaps can't take the smile off their faces after unbuttoning their shirts and undoing their bow ties during the walk home this morning

A trio of dapper chaps can’t take the smile off their faces after unbuttoning their shirts and undoing their bow ties during the walk home this morning

A pair of students take a break from the action as they sat down on the empty streets of Cambridge this morning following a big night out

A pair of students take a break from the action as they sat down on the empty streets of Cambridge this morning following a big night out

The normally quiet roads of Cambridge burst into life as the students made their way through the city following last night's May Ball

The normally quiet roads of Cambridge burst into life as the students made their way through the city following last night’s May Ball

Cambridge University students are pictured in high spirits after the 2019 May Ball as they donned their finest clothes for the big social event of the year

Cambridge University students are pictured in high spirits after the 2019 May Ball as they donned their finest clothes for the big social event of the year

A long night of partying and dancing obviously left its mark on the feet of these two ladies, as they were seen ditching the high heels in favour of bare feet during the walk home

A long night of partying and dancing obviously left its mark on the feet of these two ladies, as they were seen ditching the high heels in favour of bare feet during the walk home

The Cambridge students were treated to a right royal show as fireworks lit up the night sky during boozy celebrations at the May Ball

The Cambridge students were treated to a right royal show as fireworks lit up the night sky during boozy celebrations at the May Ball

Two students pose for the camera to celebrate the end of the academic year in style, following the biggest event of the Cambridge student social calendar

Two students pose for the camera to celebrate the end of the academic year in style, following the biggest event of the Cambridge student social calendar

In what has become a time-honoured tradition, students enjoyed a relaxing punt down the River Cam following their big night of fun and games

In what has become a time-honoured tradition, students enjoyed a relaxing punt down the River Cam following their big night of fun and games

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

A group of friends pose for the camera

Two friends make their way home

A group of friends pose for the camera in the finery (pictured left), while a pair of students hug during their walk home this morning

Some revellers continued drinking after the May Ball as they took a daylight punt on the River Cam in the early hours of this morning

Some revellers continued drinking after the May Ball as they took a daylight punt on the River Cam in the early hours of this morning

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

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

Two young ladies cannot hide their delight as they ditch their footwear and take it easy during a early morning punt down the River Cam following a night of drinking and dancing

Two young ladies cannot hide their delight as they ditch their footwear and take it easy during a early morning punt down the River Cam following a night of drinking and dancing

Three students let loose on the streets of Cambridge

One student helpfully adjusts the shoes of a friend

Three students let loose on the streets of Cambridge this morning (shown left), while another helpfully adjusts the shoes of a friend (pictured right)

One young woman cannot hide her delight as she is lofted onto the shoulders of a friend as the rest of her well-heeled colleagues make their way through the historic city of Cambridge

One young woman cannot hide her delight as she is lofted onto the shoulders of a friend as the rest of her well-heeled colleagues make their way through the historic city of Cambridge

A chivalrous young man sweeps his date off her feet

A pair hold hands during an early morning walk through the city

A chivalrous young man sweeps his date off her feet (shown left) following last night’s festivities, as another pair hold hands during an early morning walk through the city

Three glamorous young ladies cling onto flowers during their early morning stroll through Cambridge, with one of them savvy enough to don trainers for the occasion 

Young students near the River Cam clutch on to coffee cups in the early hours of this morning, in a far cry from the champagne quaffing of the night before

Young students near the River Cam clutch on to coffee cups in the early hours of this morning, in a far cry from the champagne quaffing of the night before

Students looked happy to have the exam season out of the way as they took the opportunity to relax and let their hair down with a punt on the River cam

Students looked happy to have the exam season out of the way as they took the opportunity to relax and let their hair down with a punt on the River cam

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

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

Youngsters take a break from a night of partying, which has become an age-old ritual at Cambridge and there are even special drinking societies that organise debauched events

Youngsters take a break from a night of partying, which has become an age-old ritual at Cambridge and there are even special drinking societies that organise debauched events

Savage swan nicknamed Asbaby after its vicious grandfather Mr Asbo attacks Cambridge student swimming in the river

The grandson of a vicious swan nicknamed Mr Asbo was seen terrorising a Cambridge student after the merry reveller jumped into the River Cam during the ‘Sunday Suicide’ celebrations.

The swan, who was nicknamed Asbaby as a youngster when he pecked punters, was spotted attacking the male swimmer while protecting his young.

The feathered fiend, who is now a fully-fledged swan and is following in his unruly grandfather’s footsteps, was seen hissing at the man as he took a dip with friends.

Asbaby flapped his wings and flew at the frightened student, who struggled to swim away as the bird got nearer.

The bird was later joined by his partner and cygnets and continued to bully the student until he managed to scramble out of the river with help from his friends. 

One student gets quite the scare as a protective swan aggressively confronts him after he dived into the water on Sunday during boozy celebrations

One student gets quite the scare as a protective swan aggressively confronts him after he dived into the water on Sunday during boozy celebrations

The student's friends point out the incoming swan as another desperately tries to hoist him to safety

The student’s friends point out the incoming swan as another desperately tries to hoist him to safety

The bird was later joined by his partner and cygnets and continued to surround the student as his friends laughed from the bank

The swan, who was nicknamed Asbaby as a youngster when he pecked punters, was spotted attacking the male swimmer while protecting his young

The swan, who was nicknamed Asbaby as a youngster when he pecked punters, was spotted attacking the male swimmer while protecting his young

The swimmer slowly makes his way back onto dry land as he carefully watches the swans in front of him on Sunday afternoon

The swimmer slowly makes his way back onto dry land as he carefully watches the swans in front of him on Sunday afternoon

The youngster looked relieved after he was yanked to safety by a friend as the swans surrounded him on the River Cam on Sunday

The youngster looked relieved after he was yanked to safety by a friend as the swans surrounded him on the River Cam on Sunday

The student looked relieved as he made it onto the riverbank and escaped the bad-tempered bird.

Asbaby is now believed to be even more vicious than his grandfather Mr Asbo, who was moved to a new location by authorities in 2012 after repeated attacks on rowers.

He is thought to have inherited his vicious nature from his grandfather, as well as his dad Asboy, who conducted a reign of terror on the river in 2014.

The Cam Conservators moved Mr Asbo about 60 miles away in 2012 because they said his behaviour was risking the safety of river users as well as himself.

His behaviour left dozens of rowers with cuts and bruises and a special marshall even had to be employed during a university rowing race to watch over the swan.

In 2015 Asboy was seen attacking punters, birds and even a cow. He also injured a canoeist and a swimmer.

The swimmer, still in his socks, struggles to get back to his feet following the impromptu dip in the famous River Cam in Cambridge

The swimmer, still in his socks, struggles to get back to his feet following the impromptu dip in the famous River Cam in Cambridge

Asbaby (pictured in 2015) is the grandson of the infamous Mr Asbo, who terrorised punters until he was moved out of the river

Asbaby (pictured in 2015) is the grandson of the infamous Mr Asbo, who terrorised punters until he was moved out of the river

A photograph taken in 2015 shows Asbaby the swan attacking punters on the River Cam in Cambridge

A photograph taken in 2015 shows Asbaby the swan attacking punters on the River Cam in Cambridge

Asbaby (shown in 2015) is now believed to be even more vicious than his grandfather Mr Asbo, who was moved to a new location by authorities in 2012 after repeated attacks on rowers

Asbaby (shown in 2015) is now believed to be even more vicious than his grandfather Mr Asbo, who was moved to a new location by authorities in 2012 after repeated attacks on rowers

Parents and tourists watched on as students at the prestigious university let down their hair in spectacular fashion during celebrations on Sunday

Parents and tourists watched on as students at the prestigious university let down their hair in spectacular fashion during celebrations on Sunday

The May Ball celebrations follow similar events held on 'Suicide Sunday', which saw university students strip off and wrestle on the banks of the River Cam

The May Ball celebrations follow similar events held on ‘Suicide Sunday’, which saw university students strip off and wrestle on the banks of the River Cam

One student fell head-first into the river (shown) and another had to be rescued after he was attacked by two swans protecting their young

One student fell head-first into the river (shown) and another had to be rescued after he was attacked by two swans protecting their young

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

Students quaff champagne at a Cambridge May Ball

Students quaff champagne at a Cambridge May Ball

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.

Suicide Sunday: The party at Cambridge University is a traditional event in which hundreds of students celebrated finishing their exams. In recent years, the Suicide Sunday garden party, organised by the Wyverns, an all-male Magdalene College drinking society, has been held in a new location for the first time in 80 years after officials banned students from holding the event on university.

VT valley rally: Its winter equivalent, the VT valley rally, occurs during the annual Varsity ski trip, is quickly catching up to Suicide Sunday’s levels of debauchery. Previously female students stripped to their underwear in front of hundreds of onlookers, while both men and women simulated sex acts with each other.

The Wyverns drinking society has a reputation for its hard partying and excessive drinking. Its initiation ceremony involves eating a 15-course meal with delicacies such as a pig’s snout with wasabi sauce and a pint of water with a goldfish swimming inside.

The Ferret drinking society: The Ferretz, an inter-collegiate drinking society, must consume 80 units on their initiation. They usually start with a bottle of gin and finish off with a bottle of port – consumed through a condom. Girls are also encouraged to kiss strangers. 

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