One of Cambridge University's oldest colleges has had to close to the public after tourists were caught going into students' bedrooms.
Clare College can no longer cope with "bus loads" of tourists - who are predominantly from Japan and China - turning up unannounced, according to a source, and has closed its grounds to the public for the first time in its near 700 year history.
The university's second oldest college, which counts Sir David Attenborough among its alumni, spans the River Cam and offers one of the most picturesque routes to the city as well as ornate gardens.
With signs warning visitors to remain on the public pathways going unheeded, visitors have been caught traipsing through the Scholar’s Garden and Old Court, entering student dormitories - and some have even ended up on the roof.
Now after seven centuries, the college, which was founded in 1326, says it has no choice but to lock its gates after the problems were brought up in a recent "health and safety review."
The college already provided strict guidance on its website for visitors, warning that “no cycles, dogs, radios or picnics” are permitted on its grounds, whilst walking on the carefully maintained lawns is also prohibited.
However, staff say they have been left with no alternative but to turn visitors away, because tours, predominantly filled with Chinese and Japanese tourists, continue to defy requests to stay on the public paths and have become a health and safety risk.
The beautiful grounds, which have long been admired by residents and tourists, will now be closed during the Michelmas and Lent terms.
According to a college source, the sheer volume of tourists who arrived unannounced in the Spring and Autumn term has left the porters, who man the gates, overwhelmed.
She said: "We have had a lot of trouble with bus loads of tourists turning up without warning and we can't cope from a health and safety perspective.
“We are just fed up of them. They wander around posing for photos and making lots of noise.
"In the summer term we have custodians and porters on duty at the weekends but during the spring and autumn there is only one porter.
"Many of the tourists ignore the signs which say private and wander wherever they like.
"We have had problems with tourists entering private parts of the college such as students' rooms and even the roof."
The college will open its gates again during the summer term and tourists can pay £4.50 to visit, whilst residents with a CAMcard can visit for free.
A spokesman for Clare College said: "Clare College has recently changed its opening times as a result of a health and safety review.
"It remains committed to being open for as much of the time as possible for the local community and looks forward to welcoming Cambridge residents again after the examination period as usual."