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Capel Manor College


History: The college was established in 1968 and has been one of the fastest developing specialist colleges in the UK since then. London's specialist college for land-based studies, Capel Manor offers courses in horticulture, arboriculture (tree surgery), floristry, garden design, countryside management and the environment, as well as animal care and saddlery.

Address: There are five centres across London. The centre in Enfield is the main administrative hub; which is located at Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield, just off junction 25 of the M25. Other centres include: Gunnersbury Park, Acton; Regent's Park, within the Inner Circle of the park; Crystal Palace Park, Jubilee Stand and within Newham College, East Ham.

Ambience: The Enfield centre is housed in a 13th-century country estate set in 30 acres of its own grounds, which form Capel Manor Gardens. There are over 60 gardens and landscapes for visitors to view and hosts the National Gardening Centre as well as ‘Gardening Which?’ demonstration and trials. The grounds are extensively used by students to enhance their studies. Forty Hall Farm is located only a 2 minutes drive from the Enfield centre. The farm provides educational opportunities for Capel Manor students and houses woodlands and a variety of animals including many rare breeds. The farm is also home to London’s only vineyard and an orchard.

Who's the boss? Principal and chief executive Dr Stephen Dowbiggin.

Prospectus: 08456 122 122 or download it here.

UCAS code: C13

What you need to know

Easy to get into? All courses ask for enthusiasm in the given area, but formal entry requirements vary widely. Most courses require four GCSEs at grade C or above; work experience is also taken into account.

Vital statistics: Over 3500 students enrolled onto full and part-time day and evening courses, professional short courses and apprenticeships. Attracts mature students who are seeking a career change and want to do something more practical, as well as setting 16-19 year olds on their career path.

Added value: The college gardens at Enfield cater for many of the courses on offer at Capel Manor and allow students to gain practical experience on their doorstep. Students regularly win awards at both Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows. The college nurtures strong links with the local business community, as well as hosting a variety of events at the Enfield centre, such as the City Harvest Festival and the Herts Heavy Horse Show.

Teaching: The 2013 Ofsted inspection rated the overall college grade as Good (Grade 2). It is a recognised Beacon College and holds Matrix accreditation for the quality of its student guidance.

Any accommodation? Accommodation is only available at the Enfield centre. Six study bedrooms are available at Forty Hall Farm, which is within walking distance from the centre (under 19 are not eligible for college-managed accommodation); the estates office holds a list of local landlords.

Cheap to live there? With centres across London the cost of living varies considerably. At the Enfield centre, expect to pay anywhere between £66 and £105 per week for a room in a shared flat.

Transport links: By road, the Enfield centre is just off junction 25 of the M25. Rail links go to Turkey Street railway station, a short distance from the college. The college also runs free minibus services from Tottenham Hale (Victoria line), Oakwood (Piccadilly line) and High Barnet (mainline rail). The Gunnersbury Park centre is only four minutes from Acton Town tube station. Crystal Palace Park centre is served by the mainline station (from Victoria and London Bridge). Regent’s Park centre is a short walk from Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street and Camden Town tube stations.

Fees: Vary between courses and level of qualification. Students who are under 19 on 31 August 2013 are exempt from paying tuition fees on government-funded further education courses, as are those over 19 who are on active state benefits. For full details see the college's fees and finance page.

Bursaries: None offered by the college.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Enfield has a variety of places to eat and drink. There is also a large cinema multiplex nearby.

Price of a pint: London ain't cheap - expect to pay an average of £3.60 for a pint in the capital. Head to chain bars and key your eyes peeled for student drinks deals.

Sporting reputation: Not entered into the BUCS league of universities and colleges.

Glittering alumni: Kim Wilde, former pop star and now a professional gardener.