Cambridge – The Quick GuideDecember 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Posted in General, museum, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
Tags: Cambridge, England, Fitzwilliam Museum, Jesus College, Kings College, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Museum of Zoology, Queens' College, Round Church, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Tourism, Travel, Trinity College, UK, University of Cambridge, Wren Library
Many months ago now I visited Cambridge and so you’ll have to forgive the truncated recap.
The city is most famous for the University of Cambridge and most of the colleges that make it up will allow the curious tourist entry (though this may change during term time). Some may incur a charge and most but not all will have information leaflets. Of these my favourites were:
Jesus College – While much like any other college grounds it makes up for it with some rather unique sculptures dotted around. You do get a brochure explaining much of the area but at times found its directions a little confusing. Apologies I don’t recall if there was an entry fee.
Kings College – £5 entry fee. This is for the grounds and its spectacular chapel (thought it’s the same price even if the grounds are closed as they were when I visited). Nonetheless, the chapel is wonderful and can take about 30 minutes to wander through. There are plenty of information panels as well.
Queens’ College – Charges vary depending on when you visit. This college offers a wide range of architecturally distinct buildings and the chance to walk over the Mathematical Bridge. Also check out this page on their site detailing the issues of using an apostrophe.
Trinity College – While the forecourt has some excellent buildings the primary reason to visit is for a chance to see the Wren Library and some truly amazing books including Isaac Newton’s first edition of Principia Mathematica that includes some of his own handwritten notes. It should be noted that the library is only open for a few hours every day and numbers are restricted.
Other than the colleges you’ll find that Cambridge offers a number of museums, such as:
Fitzwilliam Museum - Definitely the largest and most imposing of the city’s museums. It houses an eclectic display, ranging from ancient Egyptian burial rites to Renaissance arts. It is a fine collection and most certainly one to visit.
Round Church – I was going to walk right past this small little church. After all it looked so unimpressive (other than being round) what could it offer? What it offers is a history of the city. Granted they are also overlaying it with a Christian history but this doesn’t detract from the overview of Cambridge they provide. From recollection the other museums don’t provide such a full context.
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences - OK I would probably have skipped his one if it weren’t raining and indeed I did go through quite quickly but if you’re interested in geology then the Sedgwick offers this in abundance and it is all well presented to boot.
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – Now this museum was much more my style. I always find history of people and civilisations much more fascinating than the planet’s (unless we’re talking astronomy). While the presentation is a touch dated it was informative and clear.
Museum of Zoology - Having now been to several zoology themed museums I found myself a little jaded by this experience. Having said that, I can certainly see the appeal for others, with its large display cases and overviews of the various classifications it offers the more curious information and the less so a bunch of animals to gawk at.
Food and drink wise Cambridge has a wealth of coffee shops and eateries catering for students and travellers alike. Dojo Noodle Bar came with several recommendations and was indeed well-priced, fast and tasty.
Getting around in Cambridge is a breeze. It’s very easy to walk around and the train station is only a 10-15mins walk from town centre.
A trip to Cambridge is quite pleasant and a few days should be more than enough. My only regret was that I didn’t get the opportunity to punt down the Cam.
Also any of my Cambridge friends (or random readers) please feel free to correct any of this in the comments!
Maps are over at Google Maps.
Photos are over at Flickr.