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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    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!

    Mathematical Bridge Mathematical Bridge Mathematical Bridge

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    A locust feeding on time

    by christine.j Written Aug 31, 2009

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    This year, 2009, Cambridge is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the university. There are several events, but the strangest thing I saw is a clock.
    It is a big, golden circle and on the top of it a locust is sitting. Not a nice, friendly grasshopper, but a really nasty looking locust. Each minute, its mouth opens a bit more.
    This is to symbolize how the time is passing and once it has passed, there is no getting it back. I suppose the artist wanted to point out that the last 800 years of the university are really and truly gone.

    I cannot say I like this clock, but it's certainly very interesting to look at.

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    Bridge of Sighs

    by grayfo Written Jun 17, 2007

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    The Bridge of Sighs was built in 1831 because a second crossing was required over the River Cam between the New Court and the Third Court. The only similarity between the Bridge of Sighs and its Venetian namesake is that both of them are covered bridges. Today it is part of the main thoroughfare through the College and used daily by those who live and work here.

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    The Champion of the Thames - A City Centre Oasis!

    by johngayton Updated Jan 11, 2008

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    For all Cambridge's faults, its tacky modern trendy add-ons, chain stores and group-owned bars and restaurants, the city still has a wide diversity of very individualistic little places. Some are churches (The Round Church being a good example), some are restaurants (The Varsity immediately springs to mind), others include The Fitwilliam Museum (with its Egyptian Room) and the Botanic Gardens (40 acres of academic-inspired yet publicly-accessible horticulture). The colleges themselves, each with their own laws and traditions, giving the city its raison d'etre. Ach! But set all these aside. It also has some cracking pubs and The Champion of the Thames rates almost at the top of my shortlist.

    "The Champ" as it is familiarly known, is the smallest pub in town and definitely one of the most characterful. This is a tiny little two room bar in the middle of King Street which somehow manages to avoid being either too studenty or touristy despite its renown both locally and further afield. This is a pub entirely without pretentions or aspirations, a pub comfortable with itself and well worth dropping into in the middle of the afternoon for an odd beer or seven and to take in some real local culture!!

    Frontage
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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".

    Peterhouse Peterhouse
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    St. Benet's church

    by Airpunk Written Oct 11, 2007

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    The tower of this church is the oldest building in cambridge, meaning it is even older than the famous “round church”. St. Benet’s was founded in 1025 and is very well kept. The churchyard looks more like a garden, but without losing its medieval character. The architectural style is romanesque, with many parts of the church already having gothic character.

    St. Benet's church Inside St. Benet's church
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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!

    Scott Polar Research Institute Sleeping bags and other items from the expeditions Antarctica painting on the ceiling More museum exhibits (note the piece of bread!) Clothing and food conserves
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    Ten Pin Bowling (And a BAR!!)

    by johngayton Written Jan 11, 2008

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    This was a first for me: taking my youngest son out for an afternoon's bowling. Yep I must admit to being quite impressed with this and it certainly isn't as easy as it looks!!

    It all looked simple enough - you roll the ball down the alley, you knock down the pins, the ball comes back to you, the pins get reset and the computer keeps the score. HA! But you've got to hit the things in the first place!!

    The bowling centre here in Cambridge has 28 lanes with all the equipment provided and can be booked on the day or online in advance. Staff are friendly and helpful as are the other players (which was pretty important to this total novice) and a good afternoon of competitive fun was had and the advantage of the licensed bar afterwards was a bit of a bonus!

    Yep just the job for a bit of male-bonding!

    Winner!!
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    Sedgwick Museum

    by christine.j Written Jan 8, 2010

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    This museum is again one of the museums in Cambridge which is quite old, but at the same time has made a great effort to be very attractive to families. Roughly it can be described as a museum showing earth history up to the dinosaurs. Lots of fossils, minerals, stones and rocks are on display, but also skeletons - of course also from dinosaurs.

    Games and books explain the history to children and they are encouraged to take part. They were quite popular, too, so much so, that I finally gave up. I had been going to try out a few of the games myself, but the children were too busy and so I decided to try again the next time I'm in Cambridge.

    Admission is free.

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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.

    Magdalene College Magdalene College Magdalene College
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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.

    Sidney Sussex College Sidney Sussex College Sidney Sussex College
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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.

    Senate Building Senate building Senate building
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    Wimpole Hall

    by Tom_Fields Written Jan 6, 2006

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    This is the largest country house in Cambridgeshire. Originally built in 1643, it has been much modified over the years. Its last private owner bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1976. It's now open to the public.

    One of the curious features of this estate is artificial "ruins", called the Folly, which were built on a hill. During the latter 18th century, ruins were considered to be romantic and exotic, so a few wealthy people actually had fake ones constructed on their estates. Another example of this is Sansouci Palace near Potsdam.

    Wimpole Hall One of the gardens surrounding Wimpole Hall Back view The Chapel
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    Our Lady and the English Martyrs

    by Airpunk Updated Jul 3, 2012

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    This beautiful neogothic, roman catholic church was built between 1885 and 1890. What makes it interesting are all the small gothic details, like the richly decorated windows or the Gargoyles. The stained glass windows show the sufferings of English martyrs which were executed in the reformation troubles between 1535 and 1681. Today, it is the main Roman Catholic church in Cambridge. Its name is commonly just called "The Catholic hurch" or abbreviated to OLEM.

    Our Lady and the English Martyrs Our Lady and the English Martyrs Gargoyle (Our Lady and the English Martyrs) Our Lady and the English Martyrs Our Lady of the English Martyrs
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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

    Round Church Round Church Round Church Round Church Round Church
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