Founded in 1441 by Henry VI, King’s was one of the first colleges to admit women. The College Chapel is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and is a great example of late Gothic architecture taking over 100 years to build in three stages. The full title of the college is “The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge”.
Monday: 9:45 am to 3:30 pm
Tuesday to Friday: 9:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am to 3:15 pm
Sunday: 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm
Children and Seniors: £5.00
Under 12: Free
The large chapel of Kings’ College was built on initiative of Henry VI, founder of King's College, from July 25th 1446 on, when the first stone was placed by the King himself. It is the reason why King Henry VI, despite of being historically regarded as a rather unsuccessful monarch, is honoured here extensively. The chapel's construction was continued under the following Kings and finished in 1515 century under Henry VII. The stained glass windows weren’t even finished until 1547. Although the construction took place for many years, it is the late Perpendicular Gothic style that dominates interior and exterior of the chapel. That includes the world’s largest fan vault. Several notable items are seen in the church, including the large screen of dark oak donated by Henry VIII and his Queen Anne Boleyn and the painting “Adoration of the Magi” by Rubens. The coats of arms, located above the windows, are symbols for the power and union of the Kingdom. The 16th century stained glass windows are also world-famous. They were removed during WWII in anticipation of a German bombing. Fortunately, Cambridge was not bombed, however, the pieces were to catalogued and so, Kings’ College was faced with one of the largest jigsaw puzzles of all times. An extensive exhibition, located in the northern side chapels, tells you about the history of the chapel and techniques used during its construction. Part of it is devoted to the “War of Roses” which roughly coincides with the construction period. Kings’ College chapel is seen as Cambridge’s most famous landmark and should therefore be on top of your Cambridge list. With 7,50 GBP (as of 2011, includes entry fee to King's College itself) it is unfortunately one of the more expensive sights in Cambridge.
Please be advised that flash photography and videotaping is not permitted. Photography is only permitted with hand-held equipment, not without aids like tripods. Please check out my tip ““Visiting the Colleges”” for some details you should know before planning your visit.
King's College is famous for its incredible chapel. But the other buildings of this complex are worth a visit too. The most famous building is the chapel, but many other buildings, including the neogothic gatehouse from the early 19th century, deserves a visit too. In the main courtyard, you will find a fountain depicting Henry IV and four virtues. King's College was founded by Henry VI in 1441, shortly after he founded the famous Eton College boarding school. Famous Alumni at Kings’ include former prime minister Robert Walpole and economist John Maynard Keynes. King's once had a conservative reputation, but has become one of the more liberal colleges. A rather unknown fact of Kings’ College is that this was the first one to admit women. Entry is via the chapel, which lies, looking from St. Mary’s church, to the right via the Senate House Passage. There’s an entry fee of 7,50 pounds (2011). It includes access to he chapel and the courtyard from which all buildings can be seen from outside. Some places like the dining hall are usually not open to visitors.
Please check out my tip “Visiting the Colleges” for some details you should know before planning your visit. For further details on Kings’ College chapel, please check my separate tip about it.
What a stunning College is King's College, said to be one of the most important examples of late Gothic architecture.
King's College was founded in 1441 by Henry VI
The original site of the College lay to the north of the current College, between the present Chapel and Senate House Passage.
£7.50 or £5.00 (children, students and senior citizens)
Buy tickets at The Shop at King's, opposite the front of the College.
In the summer you can buy tickets at the North gate of the Chapel. From the entrance to the College, take the path on the right past the end of the Chapel.
During term time:
17 January - 16 March 2012
24 April - 15 June 2012
Monday - Friday 9.30am - 3.30pm
Saturday 9.30am - 3.15pm
Sunday 1.15pm - 2.30pm
Out of term Monday - Saturday 9.30am - 4.30pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
When I think of a chapel, the image of a small building in a small village comes to my mind - but nothing like King's College Chapel. At a length of 88m, a height of 28m and a width of 12 m, it is everything but small. Moreover, it is considered one of the finest examples of Perpendicular style architecture. Even if you're not into architecture at all, the chapel will make you stand in it with your mouth wide open, marvelling at how building structures like these was possible. Christopher Wren, one of England's best architects (responsible among others for St. Paul's Cathedral in London) is said to have offered to build a church as fine as this, if only someone told him how to do it and what to start with.
The main reason for the admiration is the interior, namely the world's largest fan vaulted ceiling. Stretching uninterrupted from one end of the chapel to the other, it's a view that has no equal. Combine this with gigantic medieval stained glass windows, and you have all the ingredients for the world's most beautiful chapel.
But it gets even better. King's College's choir, consisting of college students as well as choristers from nearby King's College School, counts as one of the best of the world. Similarly, the acoustics of King's College Chapel are said to be close to perfect. Therefore, visiting a concert of the choir or simply an evensong is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Try to be there early as you will then be able to sit closer to the choir and listen to it much better.
I'm not sure if it definitely is Cambridge's richest college, but King's College is definitely not poor! Its sheer size overwhelms every visitor, and if one enters the magnificent chapel (see another tip) one cannot but stand in awe.
Founded in 1441 by King Henry VI, it was not meant to prosper in its first years: the English civil war interrupted all plans of expanding it. Only under Henry VII and VIII, the college was growing. Under Henry VIII, the chapel was finished. It is home to one of the best choirs in the world, and a visit to an evensong is a definite must when you are in Cambridge. They take place almost every day and their exact times can be found on the college's website or by asking the porters. Be there early, however, as the queue can be easily 150m long!
Upon entering the college grounds through the Gatehouse, visitors first see the Great Court with the chapel on the right side, Gibb's Building to the front and a beautiful fountain in the middle of the court. The founder of the college, Henry VI, is the man standing on the fountain. Behind Gibb's building is another large court, the back lawn which runs down to river Cam. You can enjoy a very good view of the college from the river or the Backs on the other side of the river.
Among King's College's most famous alumni are Zadie Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Alan Turing and Salman Rushdie.
There's way too much history for a tourist to pick up in a short time so it's well worth going with a good tour company. I did the tour through Oxbridge Tours (www.oxbridgetours.com) and they were brilliant. The guides are all current students so you get the chance to talk to someone who is actually at the universt as well as learn about this history.
The Chapel is incredible, and an absolute must see for anyone going to Cambridge.
I recently went to Cambridge on a day trip from London. It was very easy to get to, trains direct from St Pancras station, and took about an hour. There is a bit of a walk from the trainstation to the city center. It was a nice day trip. I highly recommend the tourism office guided tours (they go twice a day, 11:30 and 1:30). I wrote more detail and posted photos on my travel blog if you're interested in more details:
In all it was very interesting and pleasant. I wouldn't recommend a day trip to Cambridge unless you have already done most the major sights in London. In other words, don't skip a day at the British Museum to go to Cambridge (just my opinion).
King's was founded by King Henry VI, a devout man whose shortcomings as a ruler precipitated the aristocratic skirmishes known as the Wars of the Roses. King's was one of his two 'royal and religious' foundations - the other being Eton College. Of his original plans, only the chapel was finished, and that took nearly a century. After Henry was murdered in 1471, the completion of the work was made possible by the patronage of subsequent monarchs, including Richard III and Henry VII.
British visitors will be familiar with the annual 'Carols from King's' broadcast on Christmas Eve, featuring the famous choir.
The Chapel has a fine fan-vaulted ceiling, and magnificent stained glass windows - on a sunny day the effect of the light passing through is magical.
The organ is housed in an oak Screen, which was donated by Henry VIII and bears his initials and those of Queen Anne Boleyn.
On the Sanctuary Altar is Rubens' 'The Adoration of the Magi'.
The Chapel exhibition, housed in the side chapels, explains the history of the Chapel.
Admission is £4.50.
I think one of the most favourite parts of King's College is their wall. There are always lots of tired tourists sitting there. This year we did more, we finally went inside the chapel.
This is one the places which just leave you standing there open-mouthed. It starts with the word "chapel". When I learned this English word, I thought it stood for a small, intimate church. Well, the church of King's College is called chapel, however it's anything but small and intimate.
It's huge! It's also very old and when I read that it had been Richard III who had contributed a lot to this building I felt like I was in a play by Shakespeare.
One part of the chapel is called the "Chapel of all Souls". This is a memorial chapel for college members who had died in world war I and II. When you come in, you can read the names on the wall. Then turn around and look at the wall next to door, there is a single name, all by itself. This is the name of a college member, who also died in the war, but who had been fighting "for the other side", as the leaflet diplomatically puts it.
Entrance fee is 4.50 GBP for adults, well worth it.
Albert Einstein was the most famous person who studied at Kings College. It is one of the smallest of the colleges in Cambridge.
Kings College was founded by Henry vi in 1441 to be especially for boys from Eton College, they were the first college in cambridge to admit women.
Scenes from Harry Potter were fimed here.
Kings College is only one of the many Colleges in Cambridge, and one of the ones that actually sit on the river Cam.
This is the home of the world famous Kings College Cambridge Choir - and one of the most visited sites in Cambridge is the Kings College Chapel. Chapel is not really an apropriate word as it more like the size of a cathredral. The building itself is beautiful with astounding acoustic's that have been used in many many famous recordings.
In truth the chapel is one of the most beautiful and stunning buildings on the globe.
Marvel at the massive amount of exquisite stained glass and the way the light illuminates the scenes and casts a kaleidoscope of colours across the place.
The dark oak screen is wonderful and the whole building is a hymn to architectural brilliance and technical skill.
A bravura example of how sheer beauty can be enjoyed hundreds of years after a building has been dedicated.
Lying at the centre of historic Cambridge is King's College. The front portico will make you go "wow!" because when you take i the view of it together with the other buildings around it like the turreted King's College Chapel, the view just falls into one piece. You would want to take pictures from every angle you possibly could!
Famous for it's choir, King's really is a marvellous set of buildings as its chapel dominates the skyline. You can attend many services in most of the colleges' chapels on Sundays and listen in for voices of angels.
As I have said in my page for C;are College, which is just behind King's, walk through Garret Hostel Lane through the park and you will come to The Backs, a river bank which, if you would walk a little further you will be rewarded with an expansive view of King's College and its grounds! It looks just perfect.
This is probably the most famous, most visited of all the colleges at Cambridge University. The chapel is the most recognizable building, which many people readily identify with this old university town.
Founded by King Henry VI in 1441, King's College has had several major periods of construction. During its long, storied history, the College has had numerous distinguished graduates, including Alan Turing (who played a key role in developing the electronic computer), writer E.M. Forster, and economist John Maynard Keynes.