‘Cambridge is primarily known as That City in England With The Posh University. And it is…’
However, it also has a wide range of attractions for people who aren’t necessarily in the market for an educational establishment. Like me, for example. I’ve done my time, and have no desire to return.
Anyway, for a few months, LT has been casually mentioning how much he wants to visit the Cambridge Archaeological Museum. When I was able to take it no more, I logged on to AirBnB, found us an apartment and told him he was going for the weekend. That ought to shut him up, I thought. It didn’t. Now he just wants to go back.
We’re lucky enough to live within driving distance (just over 4 hours), so we packed up our stuff and hit the road from North Wales to kinda South Eastern England. This is what we got up to:
The MAA (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) holds Cambridge Uni’s collection of archaeological artefacts. In addition, the vast museum has a wide range of anthropological exhibits, as well as local antiquities. Displayed over three floors, it’s a fantastic attraction for adults and kids alike. For the bigger kids, there’s some fascinating mementoes of Captain Cook’s three expeditions, which are worth exploring. See what I did there?
WH is the largest country house in Cambridgeshire and is located around 8 miles south of Cambridge city, in Royston. The Estate sits on 2,500 acres of land and has a host of walking and bike trails, a walled garden, shops and a choice of food outlets.
There is also an accredited museum on site, which has been built up over the years by owners Elsie and Captain George Bambridge. The collection has more than 14,000 pieces, including a host of books belonging to Rudyard Kipling, who was Mrs Bambridge’s father.
The University of Cambridge has 114 libraries. That’s right: 114. The Tower is the largest of these, with more than 8 million items stored under its roof. As well as being of great importance to the Uni, the Tower is also a copyright library. It has a selection of more than 1 million maps of which none were any use to me and I genuinely cannot read one, no matter how hard I try. I’ll stick with Google.
The library’s exhibition hall is open to the public, so you can pop in for a browse. Probably don’t expect it to have the same Mills and Boon collection your council library has, though.
Located on the brilliantly English sounding Trumpington Street, the Fitzwilliam is the antiquities and art museum of Cambridge University. There is no admission charge and you could quite happily spend hours wandering around the vastness of the tardis-like interior.
It comprises five departments (antiquities; applied arts; printed books; paintings, drawings and prints; coins, etc). I had a lovely time wandering around the works by my favourite French and Flemish artists while LT trawled around Egyptian and Roman antiquities.
There’s currently an exhibition of the works of Degas, and another on the life and work of Alan Turing. Both were incredibly busy, so pick your time if you want good look without the inevitable hanging around.
If you’ve ever watched University Challenge, you’ll likely have at least heard of King’s College. You may also know it’s a pretty difficult institution to gain admission to. It’s arguably the most famous of Cambridge’s 27 colleges and is world-renowned, not only for it’s academic record, but also for it’s Chapel and choir.
Connecting the two parts of Queen’s College, this wooden bridge sits across the River Cam and is Grade 11 listed. Although the bridge looks like it arches across the river, it is actually built of completely straight pieces of timber. It’s the complex engineering behind the design and build of the bridge that gives it its unique name.
I can’t understand quite how it all works, but it does, and that’s good enough for me. I didn’t walk across it, but I did look at it from a thoroughly sturdy concrete bridge just a little further down.
If you like giant shopping malls, this will appeal to you a great deal. If you can’t stand being cooped up Other People, you won’t, will you? I include this as an option as I’m aware that some people enjoy shopping and I’m nothing if not inclusive.
It is a very smart shopping centre and, in the 3.5 minutes I managed to spent there without my inner introvert having a panic attack, I did see some lovely boutiques. If you pop in, do let me know how you get on, won’t you? Thanks.
Have you visited Cambridge?