Cambridge is one of the most well visited cities in England due to its historical ties and values attached to the city, through its educational system, Cambridge University.
Cambridge was the first university established in the UK and wandering through the city, you can understand why Cambridge holds a superior edge over Oxford. Oxford is filled with a range of nightlife and bustling student scene, whilst Cambridge oozes an intellectual air which one immediately intakes and immerses themselves in, as if gaining brain cells merely by just standing in the city itself. The exquisite architecture hums with stories of ancient tales of revelry and echoes with words of wisdom passed down from generation to generation. Meander down cobbled streets, under paved archways and through hidden alleyways, which lead on to grand elegant buildings with expansive manicured gardens. Watch first time punters struggle and slip with the action of punting whilst bleary eyed students routinely gather excited tourists onto boats to whisk them along the river, floating under hanging willows and narrowly avoiding stranded punters, laughing in hilarity at their situation.
I came to visit Cambridge on a day trip to visit one of my closest friends who moved there for work. Driving from Surrey, we conveniently parked in the park and ride, and took the bust transfer in, avoiding the traffic and expensive car parks.
Using Trinity College as a meeting point, my friends and I were enraptured by the glorious splendour of the building which looked as if a church, rather than an educational establishment. The entrance was heaving with international tourists heavily clad with selfie sticks and donning “I love Cambridge” T-shirts with wide beaming smiles, whilst posing in front of the Tudor influenced structure, which has been noted in many novel and historical artefact.
Trinity College is a symbol of what the city of Cambridge has to offer; education, wisdom, intellect and knowledge, in a picturesque setting filled with quaint historic buildings nestled next to high street shops. However, the building which is more famously known is, the King’s College Chapel. The King’s College Chapel steals Trinity College’s thunder, it is an extra ordinary example of one of the finest Gothic buildings in England and for many, is a must see on any tourist’s agenda. Flooding British TV screens every winter, the sight of Trinity College is on every screen with the Cambridge choir capturing the very essence of the festive spirit. Harmonic sounds float up the steep spiral and the wondrous notes work their way through the building, along the narrow wooden aisles and chiming the ornate stained glass windows that beam a kaleidoscope of colours onto the inner walls. Walking through the aisles you are awestruck into silence by its majestic beauty and still nature. When leaving the chapel and stepping into the sunshine, it felt as if re-entering the modern world, with its everyday chaos.
It is quite easy to spend an afternoon lounging on or along the banks of the lazy river, watching the clouds drift through the sky, or stroll through the historical city, finding hidden gems of architecture, or spending an afternoon dining in a 16th century pub in the sunshine, such as The Eagle– the oldest pub in Cambridge, where we had a hearty lunch in the courtyard. Step inside and the ceiling is covered with war memorabilia and coasters from various ales and lagers from over the years. The pub has an atmospheric buzz to the place and thanks to its large portions and cheap prices, the pub attracts all types of people; tourists, students and locals, creating a hybrid mix of people enjoying the historical character of the pub.
Although, if you find it easier to leave the comfort of a traditional pub more than I do, then head over to the Fitzwilliam Museum– a haven for classic art and historical artefacts from all over the world. The museum is a jumble of goods that will make you wander what an earth they are doing in a museum tucked away in the heart of Cambridge, and nicknamed as “the Fitz”, but being one of the first public art museums in the UK, you can understand the logic behind these actions.
As I said before, my experiences with Cambridge are short lived, merely just a day trip, however, I can see why visitors would want to spend a few days here or even relocate here. With its charming cyclists that zip past you, was well as the buzz of young energy from students that infiltrate the elegant architecture and historical buildings, Cambridge is quite a catch.