Cambridge

Overview

Introduction

Cambridge, England, is a picturesque town, built where an ancient bridge crossed the River Cam (Cam-Bridge). Located 50 mi/80 km north of London, Cambridge is best known for its university, which was founded in the 13th century.

While in town, meander among the old stone university buildings, stopping at the 16th-century King's College Chapel, Trinity College's Great Court and Wren Library, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Plan to stroll through the botanic gardens, and, if your timing is good, hear a performance by one of the colleges' fine choirs (try for an evensong service at one of the chapels).

If time permits, spend a few hours punting (boating) on the slow-moving part of the river, which flows past some of Cambridge's oldest buildings. Note the wooden Mathematical Bridge at Queen's College. Originally built without nails, it fits together like a puzzle (which generations of drunken students could take apart but not put back together). Today, alas, it is securely fastened by bolts.

Excursions can be made to Ely (to see the magnificent Gothic Ely Cathedral), Saffron Walden (to see its lovely half-timbered houses and Audley End House, a fine Jacobean manor), Colchester (Britain's oldest city dating from AD 49) and Lavenham (a somewhat touristy but beautifully preserved medieval town).

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