In the east of England, 70 km from the capital, the center of the county of Cambridgeshire — a fascinating Cambridge is located. The city is known for one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. But Cambridge is interesting not only for its educational institution that gave nearly 90 Nobel laureates to the world. The ancient city preserves many historical monuments, offers its guests the most interesting museums, great parks, and public gardens. Cambridge is a marvelous corner of Old England with wonderful patterns of Gothic architecture, amazing gardens, and well-kept lawns. Here you can not only admire ancient buildings but also visit scientific exhibitions, drift along the River Cam, or have fun in a night club. The visitors are captivated by the beauty of the city and inspired by noisy students’ life.
Wards of Cambridge
Incredibly amazing architecture, wonderful parks, unique museums, theme cafes, and traditional restaurants — tourists can enjoy all this in a picturesque Cambridge. If you don’t want to miss anything, plan your route through this fascinating city in advance.
The first town charter was adopted in the early 12th century. It recognized the borough court that received a monopoly of tolls and waterborne traffic.
In 1209, students and educators came from Oxford to Cambridge. They were forced to seek a new place because of the frequent conflicts with the locals. One of the most prestigious European universities was founded in the city in the second half of the 13th century.
One of the tragic periods of Cambridge was in the middle of the 14th century. At that time, the city was affected by the plague epidemic. It took the lives of hundreds of citizens.
During the 19th — 20th centuries, the city expanded rapidly. New government buildings, churches, and merch houses were built, the construction of the university campus was completed. At this time, the railway was established and it stimulated the development of industry and trade.
During the Second World War, Cambridge was the center for defense of the east coast. Its territory became the R.A.F. training center. People from London were evacuated there. The town itself wasn’t destroyed.
Modern Cambridge is one of the largest towns of eastern England that combined the unique atmosphere of magnificent ancientry and inspiring spirit of restless youth.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Cambridge
Each year in early August, the Cambridge Folk Festival is held in the city. During this time, streets turn into concert venues where folk bands and musicians from different countries perform. Here you can hear not only music of ancient Ireland, Scotland, and other European countries but also American blues and country.
If you’d like to get the whole idea of the winter holidays, you should come to the city for Christmas. Annually, Christmas Festival takes place in Parker’s Piece. The citizens and guests of the city are offered a lot of entertainment during the festival: skating, merry-go-rounds, and fun-fairs. A cup of hot chocolate or hot mulled wine, made following a special recipe, will keep you warm.
If you’d like to save on food, you should visit the local McDonald’s. The price for a standard meal is 7€. Dinner in an affordable restaurant will cost 19€ for one. In a respectable restaurant, dinner with alcohol for two will cost from 65€. For one cup of cappuccino, you will have to pay not less than 3,2€; and for 500 ml of a local beer — 5€.
The municipal transport of Cambridge includes only buses. A single journey costs 3€. The city is bicycle-friendly and bikes are offered for rent. The price is lower for a longer rental period. Remember to take a special cable lock to fasten the bike to a bike rack. Bicycle thefts are rather often in the city.
In order to rent a car, you need to provide a driving license of international standard and a credit card with the necessary deposit sum on it. Its amount depends on the car make and class. A person younger than 21 years or with the driving experience less than 1 year will be denied in car hire.
What should a tourist do in Cambridge
- Have a walk along the main historical street of the town of Trumpington. You will definitely admire it. Here tourists can see incredibly beautiful buildings — the Fitzwilliam Museum, the university, Peterhouse College, Church of St Mary the Great. Pay your attention to the oldest gates of Pembroke College that are located at the crossroads.
- Go for a stroll around the famous University of Cambridge. This complex appears to be a fascinating scene: ancient buildings, constructed in forms of castles, rise above the green landscapes resembling old rural England. Nice footbridges, cobblestone streets, and ivy-covered mansions add pastoral to the surrounding scenery. The university includes 31 Colleges, more than 100 libraries, dozens of research facilities.
- See a marvelous King’s College of the University. Its building was constructed in the 15th century. It is famous for its splendid chapel, which is an example of late Gothic architecture. An elegant wooden altarpiece, a large fan vault ceiling, amazing stained-glass windows make the chapel an architectural masterpiece. Remember to see Rubens's treasured painting the Adoration of the Magi, which you can find in the chapel.
- Admire the oldest building in the town — the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its second title is Round Church. It is among four-round cathedrals of England that were preserved till nowadays. It is considered, that the church was built in the 12th century by the Fraternity of the Holy Sepulchre. The members of the fraternity participated in the Crusades. Within nine centuries, the building has been reconstructed several times. But today, the church has its original look with the Norman style windows and roof in the original style.
- Recognize the greatness of the Church of St. Mary the Great exterior. The construction of the building started in the second half of the 15th century. The cathedral is a bright example of Perpendicular Gothic that attracts by its strict but at the same time light forms. Lancet windows, battlements at the walls top, grey brick and light stone claddings are harmoniously completed by elegant relief compositions. If you’d like to admire the wonderful panorama, go up to the church observation deck. But keep in mind that there are 123 steps to climb.
- Admire the building and exhibits of a famous Fitzwilliam Museum, constructed in the late 19th century. The exterior of the incredibly amazing building in the Classical style is harmoniously completed by the details of the architecture of Ancient Greece. The museum offers five expositions: the ancient art of Greece, Rome, China, the Near East; applied arts; paintings, drawings, and prints; coins and medals; manuscripts and printed books. Have a look at showpieces of Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Titian, Monet, Picasso.
- See the unique pieces of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Here you can find historical artifacts from all over the world. The most ancient ones are dating back to the Paleolithic era. The visitors of the museum have an opportunity to learn about the development of mankind with the help of the most valuable collections of the early civilizations, archeological exhibitions, and photographic collections of the 19th — 20th centuries.
- Have a tour to a magnificent Ramsey Abbey, constructed in the 10th century. It is located northwest of Cambridge. The abbey has been prospering for 500 years — science has been developing and manuscripts have been written here. Some of them, including books of one of the largest libraries of the Middle Ages, have survived to the present day. Nowadays a college is located in the abbey’s wonderful building, filling it with the young voices of students,
- Have a rest in the favorite spot among the students and city visitors — Cambridge University Botanic Garden. It was created in the 19th century by the teaching staff, among whom was Charles Darwin's mentor. An amazing park holds a plant collection of over 8000 plant species. You will be fascinated by an ancient glasshouse, water and rock gardens. Tourists have an opportunity to stand under an apple tree, that is a descendant of the apple tree under which Newton developed his laws.
- Enjoy shopping. If you are a bookworm, don’t miss a chance to visit the oldest bookshop in the country — Cambridge University Press Bookshop. At Market Square, you can buy whatever your heart desires — antiques, clothes, groceries, and books. To buy unique souvenirs, visit small shops.
- Try the local cuisine. British cuisine is considered to be not very sophisticated, but only high-quality products are used for cooking. Order a traditional British roast beef, Cornish pasty (an oval pie with several fillings), Cottage pie (a ground meat pie with mashed potato). You can taste caramel creme or apple pie for dessert.