Fun things to do in Cambridge

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Cambridge

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    SENATE BUILDING

    by balhannah Written Feb 2, 2012

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    The Senate House, is the parliament building of Cambridge University, built between 1722 & 1730. It's a lovey whitish classical building where University graduation ceremonies take place.

    It is not open to the Public.

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    SIDNEY SUSSEX COLLEGE

    by balhannah Written Feb 2, 2012

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    This impressive College I came across was founded in 1596 by Lady Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex. It was the last Cambridge College to be granted a royal charter by Queen Elizabeth I.

    Sidney Sussex was the college of Oliver Cromwell, the great Lord Protector who was born in the nearby town of Huntingdon, & came to Cambridge to study in 1616.

    Cromwell’s skull was buried in the college ante-chapel in 1960.

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    THE ROUND CHURCH

    by balhannah Updated Feb 1, 2012

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    This unusual round Church, was influenced by the round church in Jerusalem called, "the Church of the Holy Sepulchre," built by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.
    The Norman's built this one around 1130. As it was Norman or Romanesque style, the inside has thick pillars and rounded arches.
    The style is quite unique in England, as there are only four other round churches like this one. They were all built following the First Crusade in 1097. The round shape is thought to celebrate the resurrection, as Constantine’s church in Jerusalem was built on the site of Jesus’ tomb and resurrection.
    Initially, the church was a wayfarers’ chapel serving the main Roman road, then, in the 13th century becoming a normal parish church.
    The east window replaces the Victorian one destroyed by a wartime bomb in 1942. It portrays a risen Christ triumphant over death and suffering. The cross is depicted as a living tree with leaves which are for ‘the healing of the nations.

    OPEN...Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm
    Sundays 1.00pm - 5.00pm CLOSED MONDAYS

    ADMISSION to this Church was very cheap....
    £1.50 per person
    50p for students of UK universities
    FREE - under 15s, Cambridge City residents, those on Christian Heritage walks, Friends of Christian Heritage

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    MAGDALENE COLLEGE

    by balhannah Written Feb 1, 2012

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    So many College's in Cambridge! The first one I came across, was Magdalene College, founded by Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor in 1542. It was the last all male college to finally admit women in 1988.
    The Pepys Library, a collection of 3000 book's was left to the college in 1724. The library is open to the public .
    Thomas Cranmer, later Archbishop of Canterbury, was appointed a lecturer at Magdalene in 1515.
    Recently, a spectacular collection of medieval coins has been found at the edge of the College site. The 'Magdalene hoard' is now displayed in the Fitzwilliam Museum.

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    Hobson's Conduit

    by Airpunk Written Dec 11, 2011

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    People might think what kind of monument that is, located at the junction of Lensfield and Trumpington Road. Indeed, it is the former fountain which once stood at the marketplace, providing the citizens of 17th century Cambridge with fresh water. That fresh water came from the so-called "NIne Wells" to the southwest of Cambridge. It was Thomas Hobson's (a well-known businessman of its time, known for the expression of "Hobson's choice") initiative which led to the construction of the water line to Cambridge. The fountain on the market square was just one of a hand full of fresh water supplies from Hobson's Conduit. The construction of the then modern structure took place between 1612 and 1619. When the market place was rebuilt in the 1950s, the fountain was removed and used as a monument for the conduit. You can still see the waterline in form of a ditch running along Trumpington Road.

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    Peterhouse (College)

    by Airpunk Updated Dec 11, 2011

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    Although it is the smallest and oldest of Cambridge's 31 colleges, Peterhouse is not the large touristic magnet as maybe Kings’ or Trinity. It was founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely. Today’s buildings mostly date from the 18th century onwards, including larger parts of the old court. This part is the one which attracts most visitors and here, you’ll also find the only remaining building from the 13th century: The dining hall. Another interesting building is the 17th century chapel. The court and the chapel are open for visitors, but check beforehand if they are not closed - especially during the exam period.
    Peterhouse has established a link to conservative organistaions in the late 20th century, especially during the Thatcher era. One of the most famous Peterhouse Alumnis is former Tory leader Michael Howard. Note that this college uses only the name "Peterhouse" not "Peterhouse College".

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    Scott Polar Research Institute

    by Airpunk Updated Dec 11, 2011

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    In the south of the old town, there's a place which looks to be interesting, but does not attract many visitors. It's the Scott Polar Research Institute with its museum showing the history of polar expeditions. Of course, the museum focuses on Scott's unsuccessful expedition in 1911/1912 and his race with Roald Amundsen. Items to be highlighted are parts of Amundsens equipment as well as original letters from Scott's team. Material from other expeditions is shown too as well as . The museum is housed in a beautiful 19th century building. Note the two wall pictures on the ceiling in the entrance hall. They depict the Arctic and the Antarctic region with the names of famous explorers. Temporary exhibitions in this place are usually very intereting. At the time of my visit, there was one about the art of cultures living close to the Polar Circle. The little museum shop has some interesting item, including Lonely Plante "Antarctica" on stock.
    The museum is closed on Mondays and Sundays and is only open between 10 am and 4 pm. However, entrance is free!

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    Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

    by Airpunk Written Dec 11, 2011

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    This museum is run by the University of Cambridge and has one of the largest fossil collections worldwide. The main part of the exhibition is dedicated to the geologic history of our planet with fossils from every period right up to the last ice age. The megalosaurus skull is one of very vew complete skulls of this species and is well known beyond the borders of Cambridge. One part of the exhibition is dedicated to a former Cambridge student called Charles Darwin. The focus in this exhibition is on his voyage with the “Beagle”. Fans of late 19th / early 20th century furniture may find another reason to visit the museum. The large fossil collection is stored in one of the world's largest collection of Victorian and Edwardian showcases. The original fossil collection which started off the museum is even stored in its original cabinets from 1721. The museum itself in its present form was opened in 1904.
    The museum does not charge any entry fee. Small leaflets in different languages are also available for free. Further information material is also available for sale. Other then these booklets, most other items in the museum shop are aimed at children. This museum is among the best in Cambridge and if you have the slightest interest in geology, an hour or two in this place are not a bad idea.

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    Corpus Christi College

    by Airpunk Written Dec 11, 2011

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    Corpus Christi is not one of the big colleges along the river Cam, but still one of the more interesting to visit. Founded in 1352, it is among the oldest in Cambridge. The College is only visitable between 2 and 4 pm every day and visitors are mostly banned during the exam period. However, it is for free and has a couple of nice things to discover.
    Corpus Christi College is divided into two courts, the old and the new one. The old court is the oldest continuously habituated court in the country and of course the oldest college court in Cambridge. It has kept its medieval character and has two commemorative plaques of former Corpus Christi Students: Christopher Marlowe and John Fletcher. The medieval character includes the lack of running water. That means that students have to go into the new court for the restrooms.
    The chapel was completed in 1827 and replaced an Elizabethan one. Before that, St. Benets church (whose tower is the oldest building in Cambridge) was used as the College chapel. The chapel has a couple of nice work of arts to see. Note also the figure of Matthew Parker, who was master of this college and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Elizabeth I. The term “nosy parker” goes back to his intriguing way of asking questions.
    Corpus Christi is also the owner of two of Cambridge's most famous sights. That's the clock with the time-eating locust (“The Chronophage”) on the corner to King's Parade. There, on the other side of the street, you will find Cambridge's most famous pub, the “Eagle”. It is owned by Corpus Christi, but operated by Greene King. For details on the Chronophage, St. Benets church and the Eagle, please check the respective tips.

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    Pembroke College

    by King_Golo Written May 30, 2011

    Cambridge's third-oldest college (1347) is a beautiful and relatively quiet college with very beautiful gardens and a nice set of college buildings. It was founded by Marie de St. Pol, in a time when it was quite uncommon for women to found universitites. While Pembroke College saw a great deal of expansions in later years, its gatehouse is the oldest of Cambridge and still original. Moreover, the college is home to the first chapel built by Christopher Wren.

    Among its famous alumni are William Pitt the younger and Eric Idle.

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    Mathematical Bridge

    by Dabs Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    One of the things you will see along the River Cam while punting is the Mathematical Bridge. I can't remember precisely what story our guide told us about this bridge but I already knew the stories that they try to pass off on gullible tourists.

    The myth surrounding it is that the bridge was constructed by Sir Isaac Newton, built without any bolts or screws. The myth continues with students taking it apart and not being able to reassemble it. The problem with the myth? Newton had been dead for 22 years by the time it was built in 1749 by James Essex the Younger and it was designed by William Etheridge.

    I suppose the myth is more fun for the punters to tell though!

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    Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

    by grayfo Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Museum contains large and important collections of archaeological and anthropological material from all parts of the world. The archaeological collections from all periods include significant collections from Palaeolithic Europe, Asia and Africa; Precolumbian Central and South America; early civilisations of the Mediterranean; and British archaeology.

    The anthropological collections include important collections from the South Seas, West Africa and the Northwest Coast of North America; historic collections from the 18th century; and extensive photographic collections from the 19th and 20th centuries.

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    The Zoology Museum

    by christine.j Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This museum could also be called the "hard-to-find" museum. There are signs leading the way, but I still had a hard time finding it. It is hidden in a yard, belonging to the university.
    So from the street, you have to go through a gate, cross the yard and then you're at the museum. There is a sign outside saying "museum", but inside there was no entrance desk,no fee to pay, not even any other visitors. Lots of students though, who were busy sketching
    skeletons or other animal parts. Many interesting animals are on display. The museum is part of the zoological department of the university and I think it's more a work place than something put up for the occasional visitor.
    Outside there is a skeleton of a whale, huge!

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    Guided Walks

    by christine.j Written Jan 29, 2011

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    After so many visits to Cambridge I finally decided to take a guided tour and I joined a walk from the tourist information office.It's a two hour walk and costs £14.50.
    At first I thought this was really expensive, especially compared to the price of the London Walks, but it included the entrance fee to the King's Chapel, so actually it is not too much.

    We had a very good tour guide and even if I already knew some of what she told us, it was a great way of getting additional information. I should have done this when I first started coming to Cambridge.
    But one secret remains: The tour guide couldn't tell me the significance of the numbers on the wall of the Eagle. She said nobody really knew their significance, it's one of Cambridge's mysteries. It was thought to be part of a counting system when the Eagle provided stables for the stage coaches, but this had been proved wrong. Now it's thought to be a mathematical problem written on the wall.
    Does anybody here have an idea?

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    The Polar Museum

    by christine.j Updated Jan 29, 2011

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    After a long renovation period the polar museum has reopened and I was finally able to visit it.
    It is another one of the small museums in Cambridge, which seem to be mostly for students and postgraduate research, but which are also very interesting for visitors.It's not only about expeditions, but also about conditions of life in the polar regions of the earth.
    While I was there a little boy was showing his grandparents around, it was clear that he was a frequent visitor, as he explained everything to them. His enthusiasm was catching.He couldn't read yet, but seemed to know almost everything by heart.

    I liked the museum, though not quite so much as the little boy did.

    Entrance is free, but a donation is appreciated.

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