Cambridge is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Britain and has captivated countless visitors with its magnificent historic buildings, its elegant bridges, manicured lawns and open parks along the River Cam and the wide variety of architectural styles that are to be found in its college courtyards and chapels.
Originally a Roman Settlement, the growth of Cambridge began in the 5th century, when it began to prosper as a market town and as a trading route between eastern and Central England. By 1025 the citizens were prosperous enough to build a Stone tower for the church of St Bene't's, even though nearly all the buildings then and for some time were wood. The tower remains to this day the oldest building in Cambridge.
By the beginning of the 13th Century the religious orders that had settled in and around the city began to attract scholars and in 1284 the first college, Peterhouse, was founded by the Bishop of Ely. During the next 400 years numerous other colleges were founded, the oldest of which are all to be found within easy walking distance of each other in the city centre.
Today the university comprises a total of 32 colleges, each a separate self governing body and each with its own architectural Style and Character. Among the most beautiful are Queens', Trinity, St. John's, Clare and King's, with King's College chapel, perhaps being the one building most synonymous with Cambridge.
Whilst no visitor can leave Cambridge without seeing the inside of King's College Chapel, any sightseeing tour should also include the beautiful Elizabethan half timbered President's Lodge and the wooden Mathematical Bridge at Queens' college, the graceful Bridge of Sighs and nearby Wren library at St. John's College and the impressive two acre Great Court at Trinity College (of 'Chariots of Fire' fame) built by Henry VIII in 1546 and said to be the largest university courtyard in the world.
Another Way to see the Colleges is by river. Hiring a punt can be great fun for beginners but for the less adventurous, chauffered punts are also available. Alternatively why not climb the 210 steps to the top of Great St. Mary's church for an impressive panoramic view of the city.
The city also has a wide selection of fascinating museums, the most famous of which is the Fitzwilliam Trumpington street, said to be the finest small museum in Europe.
Whilst there is enough in the centre of Cambridge to keep you busy for several days, Cambridge is also an ideal base from which to explore many of the nearby attractions, including several impressive stately homes such as Wimpole Hall, with its Park and home farm, Audley End, a superb Jacobean Mansion dating from 1603. With a miniature ratlway in nearby grounds, and the 16th century Anglesey Abbey with 100 acres of beautiful formal and informal gardens.
For horse racing fans, it is only 11 miles to the Newmarket race track and the fascinating Horse Racing Museum or heading in the opposite direction just 10 miles to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, (pictured left) with its vast collection of aircraft and tanks and its regular spectacular air displays.
Dotted all around Cambridge are numerous picturesque villages plus magnificent cathedrals at Ely and Peterborough, the Wandlebury and Gog Magog Hills, once the site of an Iron Age Fort and on the edge of the city, the University Botanical Gardens.
The list of attractions are too numerous for this brochure but rest assured your short break will be too short to see it all and it will not be long before you are returning once again to our beautiful city of Cambridge
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