Cambridge is a jewel in the world’s academic crown. It boasts the second longest-standing university in the English speaking world, and the fourth oldest in existence. Established in the early thirteenth century, the university is comprised of thirty-one colleges, attracting some of the best students from around the world. The medieval architecture is everywhere, and the buildings are still in use today. There is plenty to explore, and so much history and culture to take in.
The University Colleges
The colleges are some of the finest pieces of architecture in the United Kingdom, and should definitely be visited. These buildings have housed some of the greatest thinkers that this world has ever seen, from Charles Darwin to Stephen Hawking as well as countless monarchs, prime ministers, politicians and celebrities. You could imagine walking the grounds with some inspiring people.
King’s College is undoubtedly worth a visit. The college was established in 1440 by King Henry VI. The centrepiece is King’s College Chapel which took nearly a century to build and was not completed until the reign of Henry VIII. The chapel had this amazingly ornate fanned ceiling, and some of the nicest stained glass you’re likely to see. It is open to the public, so you can go and visit. It is in continual use though, and if you’re lucky enough to visit when the King’s College Choir are there, you will be in for a treat as they sound angelic.
You might also want to visit Queens’ College too, which spans both sides of the river Cam. The river can be crossed using the wooden Mathematical Bridge, which is a feat of engineering excellence, given it uses no nails, nuts or bolts. This college was built soon after King’s College and has some of the oldest remaining buildings. Cloister Court and Old Court both date back to the very early years of the college.
Another notable college worth visiting is St John’s College. This is one of the largest colleges found in Cambridge or Oxford and was established in the early sixteenth century. The Great Gate is an outstanding piece of architecture, and the three courts that follow are definitely worth a stroll.
The best way to see Cambridge is from the river. You can ride on a punt, a flat bottomed boat which is moved along by a chauffeur with a long poll. Punting in Cambridge is one of the most romantic experiences you’ll get while you’re there. You can take drinks and snacks, and find out everything there is to know about the beautiful buildings. Don’t worry if the weather isn’t great; you can cuddle up under a blanket and still enjoy your punt.
Cambridge can be easily accessed from London and is within a few hours drive of most of the rest of England, making it suitable for a day out or a weekend away. There’s so much to explore, and it’s such a romantic city. It’s worth just getting lost in it all, and taking in all of the buildings.