Almost everyone who thinks about university in the UK knows about Cambridge. It’s one of the oldest schools of learning in the world, and it’s kept its peerless tradition of being a top school for learning all through its history. It’s also kept some of its traditions—such as term for students beginning on the 1st of October every year.
Though the colleges are open to visitors, once the academic term begins then it becomes more difficult to visit. The best time to visit is in September, when colleges are gearing up for the new year but are open for curious travellers to look inside. If you’re interested in a visit, book your Cambridge UK hotels sooner rather than later.
Cambridge has a mammoth 31 autonomous colleges, all loosely gathered together under the umbrella of ‘the University of Cambridge’. There’s no central campus, so any of the hotels near Cambridge station would be suitable for making a visit to a selection of these amazing centres of learning.
Although many of the colleges offer open days, these are generally for prospective students and not open for general members of the public.
King’s College Chapel
King’s College, founded in 1441, is world-famous by virtue of its chapel. Every Christmas, the choristers perform in the Christmas Eve service which is then broadcast on the BBC. Photographers can also get the ‘classic’ shot of the chapel from King’s Road which puts the beautiful chapel up against the sky.
Corpus Christi College
Bibliophiles will adore the Parker Library at Corpus Christi, which can be viewed through public or private tours. The library has a collection of rare medieval and Renaissance books including the sixth-century Gospels of St. Augustine and two bibles from the twelfth century.
With 19 listed buildings, Emmanuel College has a strong sense of its own history—which it should do, having been founded in 1584. Visit Emmanuel College to marvel at the huge array of paintings of former students and other noted and celebrated figures from history.
St. John’s College
Cambridge, like Venice, has a ‘Bridge of Sighs’. Though in Venice it was given that name because it was apparently the last thing convicted criminals would see as they walked to prison, in Cambridge it is apparently named after the sighs of students going to exams. Though many people below will be punting and trying to get a good shot of the Bridge, you can walk over it when visiting St. John’s.
Clare Bridge lies over the River Cam and has been made famous by a legend. Though there are fourteen stone decorations on the bridge, one has a missing section. Popular myth says that a builder was not paid the full amount for his work, and so took out part of his work to balance his payments. Although this story is probably apocryphal, the missing section of the stone ball can still be viewed today.