Cambridge and its Colleges

An opportunity to visit Cambridge as my husband had a business meeting there recently.  I’ve only been to this university city a couple of times and its many years since my last visit.  We parked our car at Homerton College where the meeting was taking place so I started my tour of the Colleges here.  Homerton is located outside the historic city centre and is a mix of old and 1960’s buildings arranged in a parkland setting.  The focal point of the college is its Victorian gothic hall, featured below.

Victorian Hall, Homerton College, Cambridge
Victorian Hall, Homerton College, Cambridge

I then walked into the historic centre which took me 25 minutes along the main road.  There was little of note to see on the way until I reached Downing College just outside the pedestrian zone.  It’s  possible to walk around the grounds admiring the neatly tended quads and beautiful buildings of several of the University Colleges except for the most famous ones where an admission fee is charged.

Downing College, Cambridge
Downing College, Cambridge

Downing College was founded in 1800 and is set amidst 20 acres of parkland.  Many of its buildings were influenced by Greek architecture.  Continuing my tour of the city, I made my way along narrow, pedestrianised roads to reach Christ’s College on St. Andrew’s Street with its magnificent Great Gate.  This college was first established in 1437 as God’s House for training Grammar School masters.

Great Gate, Christ's College, Cambridge
Great Gate, Christ’s College, Cambridge

Amongst the other parts of the University I wanted to visit was Trinity College, the largest college of the University of Cambridge.  This college was founded by Henry VIII in 1546 and since then, its former students have won 32 Nobel prizes – the highest number of any college.  Former students include six British prime ministers and the Physicists, Isaac Newton and Ernest Rutherford.

The Great Gate, Trinity College, Cambridge
The Great Gate, Trinity College, Cambridge

Located just behind several of the colleges is an historic park known as ‘The Backs’.  I walked along the riverside footpath seeing the famous ‘Mathematical Bridge’.  In summertime it is beautiful to wander along here when the weeping willow trees are bright green and the neatly tended college gardens can be seen.  Despite my visit being in mid winter some hardy souls were taking trips on punts along the River Cam.

Winter punting on The Cam, Cambridge
Winter punting on The Cam, Cambridge

Heading back into town I came across the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is known simply as The Round Church.  It is one of only four medieval round churches still in use in England and was founded in 1150.

The Round Church, Cambridge
The Round Church, Cambridge

Finally, after all that walking it was time for me to find somewhere in the city centre for a warm drink and snack.  I enjoyed my time in Cambridge, it’s a very busy place with lots of tour groups and overseas visitors jostling for space with university students weaving in and out of the crowds on their traditional bicycles but it all adds to the charm and life of the historic centre.  The city is easily accessible from London, taking 50 minutes by train from Kings Cross Station or approximately 1 hour 40 minutes by road.

St.Mary's Church, Market Place, Cambridge
St.Mary’s Church, Market Place, Cambridge

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108 thoughts on “Cambridge and its Colleges

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  5. uapsnu

    If anyone has seen a brown-and-white cat in the Cambridge area with the name ‘Department of Quantum Mechanics’ on its collar, could you please check to see if it is alive or dead. I used to keep it in a box but it escaped.


  6. Great post. Sounds like you got in a lot of walking that day. I loved the architecture and I, too, loved the round church. I find it interesting that they charge admission to some of the colleges, just to walk around.

    Liked by 2 people

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