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The Best Historic Attractions in Cambridge

Cambridgeis a fascinating city to explore whether you only have a day or you are coming to stay in the area for a short break.  It is home to one of the oldest universities in the world as well as many top museums and art galleries, a number of which are directly associated with the university.


Cambridgecan trace its history right back to the Bronze Age, with archaeological evidence of there being a settlement in the area having been discovered.  The city really began to form in Roman Britain however, when it became an important trading centre.  Alognisde this it is possible to see evidence of Normanand Medieval buildings still standing in the city today and, in particular, the churches and chapels in the city are fine examples of historic architecture.  If you are interested in visiting the oldest building in Cambridgethen you should head to St Bene’t’s Church; it is a building which was initially of Saxon construction and has stood for over 1,000 years.  The exact date of construction is not known but it is undoubtedly the oldest surviving building in the whole of Cambridgeshire.  The tower is perhaps the most notable piece of architecture as apart from the 15th century windows it remains almost entirely unaltered.

The university is another historic and interesting place to explore, and is within easy reach of any of the hotels near Cambridge Station.  It was founded in 1209 and is currently made up of 31 colleges.  There are 16 ‘old’ colleges and 15 ‘new’ colleges, with the ‘old’ colleges being founded between 1284 and 1596 and the ‘new’ between 1800 and 1977.  The oldest of the colleges is Peterhouse which was founded in 1284.  It is possible for members of the public to visit most of the colleges at the university, including the grounds; although some colleges do charge an entry fee and some are closed during term time.  Attractions worth seeing around the university grounds include theTrinityCollege clock, the entrance toSt John’sCollege and The Bridge of Sighs which is also atSt John’sCollege.

Beyond this, other sights you might enjoy include The Round Church; the second oldest building in Cambridgeand one of only four others which remain in England.  This treasured landmark is a stunning example of 12th century architecture and is the perfect place to begin any historic tour of the city as it is located right in the heart ofCambridge.  From theRoundChurch you are also just a short walk away from the River Cam, home to the Edwardian pastime of punting and something which can be seen on a daily basis.  Although perhaps not as historical as some of the other attractions in the city, it is a favourite with many tourists who come to the city and it is possible to hire your own punt or join a guided tour if you feel less confident about navigating your way along the water.  There are also evening punting tours available for anyone looking for something a little different.

This post was written by

Fergus Brandon – who has written posts on All Here.


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