Fun things to do in Cambridge

  • "Bridge of Sighs"
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  • Kings College from main Street.
    Kings College from main Street.
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Cambridge

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    Hughes Hall

    by christine.j Updated Aug 15, 2007

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    One of the lesser known colleges is Hughes Hall. It's also one of the newer ones, as it was founded in 1885. In the beginning it was for female students only, but today about 500 "older" students of both sexes are members. Older means over 21, which qualifies for "old" in the academic world.

    Looking at the buildings and history, Hughes Hall is no match of course for the old,traditional
    colleges , but it is still very pleasant to walk around the garden there.

    By the way, it took until 1948 for the University of Cambridge to give degrees to women, but
    already in 1894 the frist principal of Hughes Hall, Miss Hughes (that's where the name comes from) said that in order achieve first-rate education, both students and teacher would have to be mixed. "Mixed" meaning both men and women.

    So even for a young college in Cambridge, Hughes Hall can be proud of some tradition.

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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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    Mathematical bridge

    by jo104 Updated Jun 6, 2007

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    This bridge connects the 2 parts of Queen's college
    Built in 1749 & rebuilt in 1866 & 1905 but the design has stayed the same.

    Myth surrounds the bridge was designed by Isaac Newton set to a mathematical design structure that it did not require nuts or bolts to hold it together, then that students disassembled the bridge & failed to reassemble it without nuts & bolts but this cannot be true given the size & weight of the wood as well as the fact Isaac Newton died 22 years before the bridge was constructed.

    The present bridge is held together with nuts & bolts but earlier versions used iron pins.

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    St Bene't Church

    by christine.j Updated Aug 26, 2008

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    For almost 1000 years people have prayed in this church! It was founded in 1025 and one tower, the Anglo Saxon tower is the oldest building in Cambridge. Imagine, people have prayed in this church at a time when Norman the Conqueror was a baby somewhere in Normandy!
    This was my favourite church of Cambridge last year and when I went there this year, I realized it still is.
    The beams on the ceiling are decorated by colourful , small statues. I especially liked the combination of the very old and the very modern, in one part of the church there was a box with many toys, for the children to play during service.

    Update 2008:
    St Bene't still is my favourite church in Cambridge, as I discovered when I went back again this year. This time I spent some time in the churchyard, trying to read the inscriptions on the very old tombstones. It was quiet and seemed far away from the busy streets nearby.

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    Bridge of Sighs

    by jo104 Updated Jun 6, 2007

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    Go on have another look - No its not the bridge of sighs & you aint in Venice

    Actually what makes this bridge resemble the bridge of Sighs is the bars across the openings in the bridge

    In Venice the purpose of these bars were to stop criminals making a swift escape by jumping off the bridge as they walked the death march from their jusgement at the criminal courts to their certain death at the execution grounds.

    The bars were put up in the arches to prevent the students bridge swinging but now they simply use the bars to climb over the bridge & back into a punt.

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    Our lady and English martyrs church

    by Imbi Updated Nov 27, 2003

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    The Catholic Church is a well-known landmark at the corner of Hills Road and Lensfield Road, and from afar it is best seen from the grounds of Downing College.
    The north door opens towards Hills Road but the main door is on Lensfield Road. The church is a wonderful piece of architecture.

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    University Botanic Garden

    by jrs1234 Written Apr 9, 2005

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    The Botanic Garden in Cambridge is a short walk from the station, and it's well worth the visit if the weather is fine. There are plants for all seasons - it's not just for late spring and summer, although the gardens are probably at their best then. You can quite easily linger here, the gardens cover 40 acres and there's plenty to look at including a small population of ducks :-)

    In summer, a cafe is open daily (it's open year-round at weekends).

    Admission is 3 pounds, but accompanied children go free. The entrance is a little bit hard to find - nearly at the far end of Bateman Street, if you're coming from the station, although from Monday to Friday, there is another entrance open on Hills Road.

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    • Eco-Tourism

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    The University Arms Hotel

    by Imbi Written Nov 6, 2003

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    The University Arms Hotel is one of the oldest hotel in town, I am not going through the details of this hotel accommodation characteristics as I never stayed there but building itself is very elegant.
    The beautiful view of Parker’s piece makes it perfect.

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    Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology

    by Confucius Updated Jun 1, 2006

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    This museum has a collection of local antiquities from around England as well as archaeological relics from around the world. The anthropology gallery is primarily dedicated to Polynesia and includes material gathered during the 18th century voyages of Captain James Cook.
    I was impressed with the archaeological exhibit displaying monuments from the Roman occupation of Britain. These stone monuments were given to Trinity College in 1750 by a descendant of Sir Robert Cotton, who collected them between 1590 and 1600 from the area south of Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland. (See photo #2) Included among these is a tombstone of a Roman soldier's one year old daughter. (See photo #3)
    Chinese items that interested me were stone tools from Zhoukoudian near Beijing, oracle bones from Chang De Fu village in Henan province, and a bronze dagger from Anyang. There is also a 3000 year old bronze sword from Ely, just north of Cambridge.
    By the way, did you know Prince Charles studied archaeology and anthropology at Trinity College?
    The museum is open to the public in the afternoons between 14:00 and 16:30, Tuesday through Saturday. From June through September the museum opens at 10:00.

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    The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

    by Confucius Updated Jun 4, 2006

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    Even if you are not an eccentric fossil collector, (I certainly am not!), you'll still enjoy a visit to the famous fossil gallery at Sedgwick Museum. Here you'll see Britain's oldest intact geological collection, that of Dr. John Woodward (1665-1728), featuring rare specimens in the original early 18th century walnut cabinets.

    Upon entrance you are greeted by a large Iguanadon dinosaur skeleton. (See photo #2)
    You will see numerous other dinosaurs inside the museum, including an Allosaurus head from the Jurassic period (See photo #3) and an 11,500 year old Irish Elk from Enniscorthy, Ireland. (See photo #4)

    The museum also has an extensive gallery of minerals, and is a mecca for geologists from around the world who come here to do research. Among the exhibits you will find is one displaying pieces of meteorite from the one that fell on Dharmsala, India on July 14, 1860.

    Perhaps the most famous minerals belonging to the museum however are the rocks that Charles Darwin collected during his journey aboard the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836. A small display is on the first floor, but if you go to the second floor then you will find a larger exhibit showcasing many more specimens along with Darwin's personal field books. (See photo #5)

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    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology

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    Almshouses

    by christine.j Updated Jan 8, 2010

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    This was my fifth or sixth visit to Cambridge and I still manage to lose my way occasionally.This time,however, it turned out to be lucky, as I suddenly saw the almshouses.

    Built in late 19th century they were supposed to provide housing for poor people.From what I read mostly poor women were living there, possibly it was thought that men could work and earn enough money to pay higher rents? I don't know.

    Update September 2009:
    I must admit that I forgot to check the exact address when I was in Cambridge in August, but Ingrid (VT name Trekki), who knows a lot about google earth, was able to find some almshouses in King Street which look the same. Thank you, Ingrid.

    Update 2010:
    In December 2009 I went looking for the almhouses again and yes, Ingrid was right, they are on King Street.

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    I Can't Believe They Charge For This These Days!

    by johngayton Updated Jan 19, 2008

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    My favourite little (well 40 acres little) non-alcoholic haunt here in Cambridge has always been The Botanic Garden situated just south of the city centre with its entrances at Bateman Street and Station/Hills Road. Cambridge is quite well endowed with green spaces within the city itself but here in the gardens you really can truly escape the hustle and bustle of the city and its attendant infernal-engined combusting machines.

    The gardens themselves were established as a University teaching and research resource by Professor John Stevens Henslow on land acquired in 1831 and opened to the public a few years later. Professor Henslow's other great claim to fame is that Charles Darwin was one of his pupils.

    What I love most about the gardens are all the little niches, the gardens within the garden, the unexpected little nooks that makes every visit totally unique and of course too as the seasons change then too do the plants - check out the winter garden in the winter, follow the progress of the spring bulbs as they greet the longer days light. Take in the heady summer aromas as you pass the scented garden and never forget the changing of the autumnal colours of the trees. Yep, this really is a special place!!

    In addition to the gardens themselves there are also a set of greenhouses with all sorts of tropical and desert flora and almost worth a days visit in their own right.

    My personal favourite tho (apart of course from around the pond in the summer where the local office girls sunbathe!) is the unannounced little corner where the beehives are - that's one of life's simplest pleasures - watching someone else do the work!!!!

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    Judge Institute of Management Studies

    by grayfo Written Apr 6, 2007

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    The Judge Institute of Management Studies was established in 1990 from the teaching work previously carried out in the Cambridge University Engineering Department. In 1991 a design competition was held for converting the Old Addenbrookes Hospital, located on Trumpington Street close to the city centre and unused for over 10 years into a purpose built facility for the new institute.

    email research-support@jbs.cam.ac.uk

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    Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

    by grayfo Written Apr 9, 2007

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    The Sedgwick Museum is packed full of fossils with more than 1 million in its collection. These range from the earliest forms of life from more than 3000 million years ago, to the wildlife that roamed the Fens less than 150,000 years ago. The museum was built in memory of Adam Sedgwick and started with Dr John Woodward's bequest of his fossil collection in 1728

    email sedgwickmuseum@esc.cam.ac.uk

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    • Archeology

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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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