King's College, Cambridge

4.5 out of 5 stars 38 Reviews

King's Parade, Cambridge 44-1223-331100

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  • Kings College from main Street.
    Kings College from main Street.
    by alectrevor
  • King's College
    King's College
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  • Stained glass window, part of the chapel
    Stained glass window, part of the chapel
    by songlines
  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    King's College: Don't just sit on the wall there

    by christine.j Written Aug 17, 2007

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    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.

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    Kings and Queens

    by Elena_007 Updated Feb 23, 2005

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    Kings College Chapel took over a century to build, and was completed in 1547. According to the web site:

    It costs the College £1,000 a day to keep the Chapel open for services. Over and above this is the expense of maintaining and repairing the fabric of the Chapel building, its glass, its organ and its furnishings. It is not generally recognised that the College bears these expenses unaided.

    If you would like to make a donation, please see the web site for details, and if you are an American, giving could be a new experience for you. If you are a US tax payer, there is an option for tax efficient giving from America. Wow, tax efficient giving. What a concept! (We call it tax-deductible, instead.) Efficiency seems more reasonable, in my opinion. Live and learn.

    That is all I can tell you about Kings College, because all I did was take this photograph whilst punting on the Cam. I am just glad the guide pointed out that I could take a much better photo on the way back, and he was right!

    There is a Queens College as well, and that is coming up next ...

    Kings College Chapel,Cambridge
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    Kings College Chapel

    by nhcram Written Apr 15, 2005

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    The first stone of the chapel was laid by Henry 6th in 1441 and was completed in the first part of the 16th century. The ceiling is of a fan-vaulted design and the intricate lacy pattern is beautiful. We were lucky enough to be there while the Kings College choir was practising for the filming of a concert.

    Inside of the chapel

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  • Imbi's Profile Photo

    King's College

    by Imbi Written Nov 6, 2003

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    Henry VI founded King's in 1441. The college has an outstanding chapel showing a superb example of Perpendicular architecture. The interior is perfectly proportioned, with wonderful 16th century stained glass and a magnificent Gothic-style fan-vault ceiling. Rubens' "The Adoration of the Magi" adorns the altarpiece. There are often music concerts held at the chapel.

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    Kings College Chapel - 1

    by alucas Updated Apr 10, 2005

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    The Chapel is famous across the world for the annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols telling the Christmas Story. King’s was founded in 1441 by the pious Henry VI, but was halted when England fell into Civil War – the Wars of the Roses. Work continued in the reign of Richard III and the chapel was finally completed under the Tudor Kings Henry VII and VIII.

    Entry is GBP 4.50 (Easter 2005), and is worth every penny. The entrance enables you to visit the college as well as the chapel. For an additional GBP 2.00 there is an audio guide about the chapel.

    Visiting the Chapel on Easter Saturday we were fortunate in some ways and in others not so lucky. First, we were lucky to get in at all, as the Chapel was closing early for a concert, but there was a rehearsal going on for the concert that evening which filled the chapel with sound.

    As it was Easter Saturday the altar was clear and the shutters covering “The Adoration of the Magi” by Rubens which hangs over the alter were closed. This was a pity, but gives us an excuse for another visit !

    If you have the chance to visit Cambridge, do try and visit the Chapel. Its beauty is unforgettable. See my other tips for some information on the interior.

    Kings College Chapel - The Classic View
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    If you're only going to see one college...

    by jrs1234 Updated Sep 30, 2003

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    Well, you should probably try to see more than one college, but if you're pushed for time then I'd suggest Kings College as the one you should see. The architecture is quite spectacular, and the highlight is the chapel, which looks great from the outside and has a lovely interior too...

    Don't forget to walk right through to get the famous view of King's from the "Backs" - where the river runs past the back of some of the central Cambridge colleges.

    It's not a cheap attraction, though - 4 pounds per adult, and note that the college is closed during exam time, which is late April to mid June. Opening hours as well can vary, it's a good idea to check the website before planning a visit.

    King's College, Cambridge, from the Backs.
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    King's College

    by Travelchili Updated Dec 7, 2003

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    King's College is probably one of the most visited Colleges in Cambridge. Why? Because of its magnificent Perpendicular chapel and the surrounding buildings. On the photo you can see the Gatehouse and the Front Gate to the College. Also, you can see the beautiful Front Court fountain.

    King's College
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    King's College Chapel

    by Travelchili Written Dec 7, 2003

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    First stone laid to this chapel took place in July 25, 1446 by King Henry VI and this beautiful English Gothic chapel was finished by 1515. The interior space is 290 feet long and 40 feet wide. The large space inside gives a huge acoustic, particularly suitable for choral and organ music.

    King's College Chapel
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    King's College Chapel

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Mar 21, 2004

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    The Kings College Chapel, with it's lacy stone fan vaulting and soaring stained windows, has been called one of the great rooms in architecture.

    Perhaps the Kings Chapel Choir which sings in this magnificent old structure is even more famous than the chapel itself. At least it was with me. I had heard recordings of the choir many many years before I ever came to England. Seeing the awe- inspiring place from which comes some of the world's greatest classical choral music made the visit an especially meaningful one.

    It's a bit humbling as an American to ask the age of such a splendid structure and to learn that it dates back to before even the first log hut was ever erected by European settlers in the New World. The cornerstone of Kings Chapel was laid by King Henry VI, on the Feast of St. James, 25 July 1446. The King, who was only 19-years-old at the time, is known today as the "Royal Saint." The chapel took 101 years to complete, in 1547.

    The choir also owes its existence to Henry VI who envisaged the daily singing of services in his magificent chapel. There is also the Kings College Chapel Shop, which offers gifts, souvenirs, CDs, and tapes of their world famous choir.

    Karen in front of Kings College Chapel
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  • paradisedreamer's Profile Photo

    King's College Chapel

    by paradisedreamer Written Aug 18, 2003

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    The chapel it well worth seeing. The stained glass windows at either end of the chapel are very detailed. There is a huge organ in the middle and the ceilings are intricately decorated gothic arches. If you are lucky you may be there when there is a choir practise which just enhances the experiences. The entry fee is £4 and you can also walk around the courtyard of the college.

    King's College Chapel

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    King’s College chapel

    by Airpunk Updated Jun 2, 2012

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    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 and its chapel King's College Chapel Coat of arms above the windows King's College Chapel King's College Chapel
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    King's College Chapel - 4 - The Screen

    by alucas Written Apr 10, 2005

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    The great screen of dark oak which divides the chapel into the Choir and Antechapel was also a gift from Henry VIII. The screen bears the entwined initials of Henry and Anne Boleyn, his second Queen, thus dating it between 1533 and 1536. (The woman for whom the King “turned the world upside down” breaking with the church of Rome and establishing the Protestant Church was Queen for a mere three years).

    Kings College Chapel - The Screen
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    Kings' College

    by Airpunk Updated Jun 2, 2012

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    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.

    King's College and its chapel Kings's College - Gatehouse King's College King's College King's College
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    King's College Chapel - 2 - the interior

    by alucas Updated Apr 10, 2005

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    The first thing to strike you when entering the Chapel is the space and light. The architectural style is uncompromising: the walls soar 90 feet to the fantastic fan vaulting of the stone ceiling – the largest of its type in the world – completed in 1515 in just three years. The weight of the vaulting and roof is borne by eleven stone buttresses on either side of the college. In this way large areas of what would otherwise be walls can be devoted to the vast stained glass windows through which sunlight pours filling the Chapel with light.

    King's College Chapel - Fan Vaulting
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    King's College Chapel - 3 - the windows

    by alucas Written Apr 10, 2005

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    All the windows, except the West Window (which is Victorian), were completed in the reign of Henry VIII. The upper levels show scenes from the Old Testament such as The Temptation of Eve and the lower levels show the New Testament stories of the life of Christ.

    Kings College Chapel - Windows
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