Planning your day

Here is a step-by-step guide to your graduation day. It has everything you need to help you plan, so you can relax and be sure you're doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place. There will be staff and signs on hand at all venues to help you find your way.

Share your special moments with us throughout your graduation day on social media using the official graduation hashtag #MadeInKingston.

Before the ceremony starts

Our venues and arrival times

What happens where

There are three venues that we use on graduation days:

  • Guildhall for ticket collection (advance purchases only), gowning and photography (Guildhall, 1 High Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1EU)
  • The Rose Theatre for your ceremony (Rose Theatre, 24–26 High Street, Kingston upon Thames KT11HL)
  • Town House, Penrhyn Road campus for your ceremony reception (Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE)

All these venues are located in Kingston town centre and are within walking distance from each other. Please note none of our venues have parking, for more information go to our Getting to Kingston section.

Arriving for your graduation ceremony

Arrive at the suggested arrival time for your ceremony and go first to the Guildhall (KT1 1EU), where you will be directed to pick up your tickets and gown, then head to the photo studios to have official photographs taken.

Suggested arrival times to collect tickets and gown for a:

  • 10.00am ceremony – Arrive from 7.45am
  • 12.30pm ceremony - Arrive from 10.00am
  • 3.00pm ceremony – Arrive from 12.30pm
  • 5.30pm ceremony – Arrive from 3.00pm


All our graduation venues have lifts and can accommodate wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties. Please make yourself known to a member of staff when you arrive if you require assistance.

Guide dogs

Guide dogs are welcome. Please let us know in advance if one of your party is bringing a guide dog, so we can make suitable arrangements during the ceremony such as a water bowl, an appropriate seat or a dog-sitter.

Getting to Kingston

By rail

Trains run regularly from London Waterloo to Kingston and Surbiton stations.

  • Kingston station - Midweek there are four trains per hour, journey times take between 28-33 minutes. Kingston station is approximately a 10-minute walk to the Guildhall and Rose Theatre, and a 15-minute walk to Penrhyn Road campus.
  • Surbiton station - Midweek there are 10 trains per hour, journey times take between 15-32 minutes. Surbiton station is approximately a 15–20-minute walk from our Penrhyn Road campus. Alternatively, there is a taxi rank located outside the station or you can take a number of local buses toward the University and into the centre of Kingston.
  • Visit the National Rail Enquiries website for further information and to check if your journey may be affected by industrial action.

By bus

Buses run both locally and from other parts of London. Visit the Transport for London website for further information.

By car

There is no parking at any of our graduation venues.

The closest car park is the Rose Car Park, on Kingston Hall Road (the entrance is on East Lane KT1 2NN). This car park can get extremely busy, so early arrival is recommended. Please note this car park only has one working lift currently. It is the responsibility of graduates and/or guests to check opening and closing times of car parks.

There are accessible parking spaces for Blue Badge holders close to the Guildhall and Rose Theatre on the High Street and in the Rose Car Park, and there are also spaces close to Penrhyn Road campus. A 10-minute-only drop-off spot is available directly outside the Theatre.

Visit the Royal Borough of Kingston website to find out information about other car park locations and charges.

You can also visit our directions to Kingston University section for more information.


Collect your tickets and your gown

The first thing you need to do is collect your tickets and gown at the Guildhall (KT1 1EU). Only graduates are allowed in the ticket collection and gowning area. There is a waiting area for guests inside the Guildhall. You must collect your tickets and gown at least 1 hour before your ceremony start time.

Find out more about extra tickets or if you didn't book your place >

Find out more about hiring a gown >

The time to collect your tickets and gown will depend on the start time of your January 2023 ceremony.

For a:

  • 10.00am ceremony – Collect tickets and gown from 7.45am
  • 12.30pm ceremony – Collect tickets and gown from 10.00am
  • 3.00pm ceremony – Collect tickets and gown from 12.30pm
  • 5.30pm ceremony – Collect tickets and gown from 3.00pm


Where and when can I have my photograph taken?

After collecting your gown, make your way to the photography studios also in the Guildhall (KT1 1EU), where our official graduation photographers Tempest will be ready to assist you.

The time you can have your photograph taken will depend on the start time of your January 2023 ceremony. Priority time slots are allocated to each ceremony, so please visit the photography studio within the times listed.

For a:

  • 10.00am ceremony – Visit the studios between 7.45am - 9.30am
  • 12.30pm ceremony - Visit the studios between 10.00am - 12.00pm
  • 3.00pm ceremony – Visit the studios between 12.30pm - 2.30pm
  • 5.30pm ceremony – Visit the studios between 3.00 - 5.00pm

If you are unable to have your photograph taken within the allocated times, you can still visit the studios at other times but you may have to queue longer. You are welcome to have photographs taken with your guests – if your group is larger than six people please let the photography staff know when you arrive.

Please note: Having your photo taken is free so we recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. You do not need to pay for or book a slot for photography in advance. You can purchase the images you'd like to at a later date using the image references you'll be given before you leave the photo studio.

If you do not wish to have photography taken, please make your way to The Rose Theatre around one hour before your ceremony.

Find out more about photography >

Graduates who've not booked their place or tickets yet

Graduate tickets

If you have not booked your place, it is now not possible to book it in advance. Please come and see us at the Rose Theatre on the day of your ceremony, one hour before your ceremony starts so we can find you a seat.

(Except on Wednesday 18 January at 12.30pm – there are no graduate or guest seats available, please contact the Graduations Team by email at instead.)

Please note: We have experienced an unprecedentedly high demand for places at some of our ceremonies, so they may have already sold out. Below you can view a table showing which ceremonies have availability (or not), and what you can do if your ceremony is not available for graduate or guest tickets.

Buying guest tickets on the day of the ceremony

Online ticket sales have now closed and can no longer be purchased in advance. Some ceremonies have tickets available to purchase on the day, please see the table below.

This table is intended as a guide only and tickets are not guaranteed no matter what this table states.

If your ceremony has guest tickets available to purchase on the day of your ceremony, they will be £27 (card only) and sold at the information desk at the Rose Theatre, 60 minutes before each ceremony starts, on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Ceremony date and timeGuest ticket availability on the day
Tuesday 17 January, 12.30pm Available
Tuesday 17 January, 3pm Available
Tuesday 17 January, 5.30pm Available
Wednesday 18 January, 10am Not available
Wednesday 18 January, 12.30pm Not available
Wednesday 18 January, 3pm Not available
Wednesday 18 January, 5.30pm Not available
Thursday 19 January, 10am Available
Thursday 19 January, 12.30pm Available
Thursday 19 January, 3pm Available
Thursday 19 January, 5.30pm Available
Friday 20 January, 10am Available
Friday 20 January, 12.30pm Available
Friday 20 January, 3pm Available

 Find out more about tickets >

Guests without tickets

If you are not able to purchase all the tickets that you need either in advance or on the day, guests can still come along and enjoy the graduation day with you. There is a screening room on the first floor of the Rose Theatre which shows the ceremony on a large screen.

Please note this room has limited capacity, but guests can also watch the ceremony at the Town House on our Penrhyn Road campus (a 15 minute walk from the Rose Theatre) and then wait there for the ceremony reception to begin once the ceremony has finished.

We are also live streaming each ceremony online. Follow this link to view the live ceremonies.

During the ceremony

Finding your seats

Once you have collected your tickets and gown, and had your photography taken, you can relax, and maybe grab a drink or some food from the theatre bar while you wait for the auditorium doors to open. Listen out for an announcement approximately 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. The ceremony will last approximately one hour.

Finding your seat

Doors to the auditorium open approximately 30 minutes before the ceremony start time. Once the announcement that the doors to the auditorium are open, you will be able to take your seats.

Before you enter the auditorium, you must leave bags, coats etc with your guests. You will not be allowed in the auditorium with your belongings.

Your seat number is on your graduate name card. Seating is arranged in alphabetical order by course, so you will be sat with your classmates in the order you will be presented on stage. Please sit in the seat you have been allocated.

Graduates must sit in the seat they have been allocated – your name card is your seat ticket.

Guests are not allocated a specific seat - guests are allocated to a level: Stalls (ground floor), Circle (first floor) or Upper Circle (second floor). Within that level you can sit on any seat that is not reserved, on a first-come, first-served basis. We do reserve seats for people with access needs that were indicated to us during the advance booking process.

Hearing aids

Anybody with hearing problems doesn't have to miss a word. The theatre has a wireless (infra-red) audio system. This works in two ways:

  • If you wear a hearing aid you can collect a neck-loop from the theatre staff. Simply put on the neck-loop and switch your hearing aid to the 'T' position.
  • If you don't wear a hearing aid you can pick up a discreet wireless headset from the staff.

Please speak to a member of staff when you arrive at the Theatre.

The ceremony

What happens during the ceremony?

The graduation programme will detail a brief running order of the ceremony including who will be speaking. There are a few speeches before the graduates are presented on the stage.

  1. When it is time for you to be presented on stage, a member of staff will tell you which way to leave the auditorium. Take your name card with you.
  2. When you are told to enter the stage, walk along the red carpet and give your name card to the person standing at the lectern. Wait for them to read your name.
  3. Once they have read your name, continue to the centre of the stage to meet the ceremony host – pause here briefly.
  4. Continue to walk along the red carpet until you are off-stage. A member of staff will direct you through the backstage area and into the theatre foyer.

The moment you cross the stage will be photographed. Your presentation photograph will be available to view and purchase straight after your ceremony at the reception and they'll also be online a few days after your ceremony.

Your certificate is not presented on stage - you can collect it during the ceremony reception at the Town House if you've not already received it in advance.

After the ceremony

Celebrate with us at your ceremony reception and collect your certificate

It's time to celebrate! We invite you all for some refreshments at the Town House, Penrhyn Road campus, so you can toast your success with your friends, family, fellow graduates and academic staff. It's our way of sending you off in style and welcoming you to the Kingston Alumni – who'll be there to talk to you and you can collect a free welcome gift. You can also collect your certificate, get merchandise from the students' union and speak to colleagues from the Careers Team.

After the ceremony has finished, please make your way straight to the Town House for your ceremony reception which will last approximately 1 hour. The road outside the Rose Theatre can get very busy so please take care when exiting the venue.

Your certificate

You can collect your certificate at the ceremony reception in the Town House straight after your ceremony has finished. Please bring photo ID with you to show certificate staff.

You can also visit the photo studios after your ceremony if you didn't manage to in advance. Ask staff at the Rose Theatre before you leave the venue and they can direct you.

For a:

  • 10.00am ceremony – the ceremony reception will end at approx. 12.15pm
  • 12.30pm ceremony - the ceremony reception will end at approx. 2.45pm 
  • 3.00pm ceremony – the ceremony reception will end at approx. 5.15pm
  • 5.30pm ceremony – the ceremony reception will end at approx. 7.45pm

Start your journey with Kingston University Alumni

The Kingston University alumni team is here to support you now that you're alumni. Check out the Kingston University Alumni website; join the LinkedIn group; like the Alumni Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with the goings on at KU.

Return your gown

You must return your gown on your graduation day unless you have made a special arrangement with the Graduate Gowning Company. You can return your gown at the Guildhall (where you picked it up) or at the Town House after your ceremony reception, any time before either venue closes at 7.45pm*.

*5.30pm on Friday 20 January.

Need further support?

Please read our frequently asked questions before contacting the graduation team. If you have queries that have not been answered in the FAQs, please get in touch.