A world famous University city; Cambridge attracts millions of visitors each year who stop by to take in the stunning architecture the city has to offer. We’ve created a guide to the top tourist attractions in Cambridge so you can see what makes the place so popular.
The Cambridge is steeped in history. There has been a university in the city since the early thirteenth century. It’s alumnus reads like an historical who’s who of the great and the good of science, literature, politics and culture and includes visionaries such as Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin to poets like Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Britain’s first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. If you’re in Cambridge then a visit to the university and your choice of its thirty-one colleges is an absolute must. Of course, the university library, home to over seven million books and periodicals as well as exhibitions is a great place to start.
While taking in the stunning architecture of Corpus Christi College replete with gargoyles and grotesques stop by at the college’s Taylor library to be awed by the huge and, some say, frightening, Corpus Clock, popularly known as the Grasshopper Clock. Unveiled in 2008 by Cambridge professor Stephen Hawking, the clock, situated at street level, has a face one and a half metres in diameter coated in 24 carat gold. Atop that sits the eponymous grasshopper that forms the escapement – part of the mechanics – of the time piece.
The Fitzwilliam Museum
There are numerous small galleries and exhibition centres dotted in and around Cambridge’s university buildings but, perhaps the most spectacular of the city’s museums is the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Famously, the museum puts on lunch time talks by museum staff and experts from the university. Remarkably, just like museum entry, these talks are free. They do get full up quickly so be there in plenty of time if you’re interested. More details can be found on the museum’s website
It’s easy to spend an entire day at the Fitzwilliam Museum yet feel there is plenty more to see and learn. There are regular children’s activities, touring exhibitions alongside the Fitzwilliam’s own collections of art, ceramics, manuscripts, coins and antiquities.
Opening times are from 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday and from noon until 5pm on Sundays. www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
The Cambridge Corn Exchange
This is not just Cambridge’s largest entertainment venue but a stunning piece of architecture and history in its own right. These days it plays host to internationally famous comedians, musicians and musicals but it has been used not only as a trading floor but an entertainment facility since it was built in 1868. Its architect was Richard Reynolds Rowe and is a wonderful example of Victoriana. A full list of what’s on can be found here.
The Eagle Public House
As you might expect from a British pub, the Eagle has plenty of food and drink on offer. You can stop there for breakfast, lunch a relaxing informal dinner or just a pint of something nutty and foaming. Whilst you’re there sit back and allow yourself time to read the graffiti of World War II airmen on the ceiling and walls of the RAF bar of this pub which dates back to 1667 – in those days it was the Eagle and Child. The pub even boasts its very own ghost. Maybe you too will discover “the secret of life” just as James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, did one lunch time at the Eagle.