The city of Cambridge is popular across the world. Even more for being the home of one of the most imminent and respected institutions in the world, Cambridge University. However, a key fact that the majority of the backpackers and travelers exploring England overlook is that Cambridge is home to one of the richest and well-preserved concentrations of historic architecture.
Needless to say, Cambridge is the United Kingdom’s most spectacular city with the admiration of traditional and European architecture. Every single attraction across the idyllic city is poignant with tradition and cultural charm. You get to feast your eyes on the historic heritage left by some of the most powerful monarchs of the British Empire. You can also explore the influences that dominated the works of England’s most celebrated literary masters.
The city of Cambridge was one of the most crucial holdings of the Normans. Throughout the centuries, it has remained a cultural epicenter that promoted and preserved art and medieval history. Today, the streets of Cambridge invite passionate backpackers and avid explorers to enthrall themselves with the beauty of its distinctive architectural heritage. The charming medieval character and bustling marketplaces are a welcome bonus.
If you’re traveling to Cambridge, England, be sure to keep a lookout for amazing festivals. Some of these include the world-famous Cambridge Folk Festival and the 800-year old Midsummer Fair. Cambridge is one of the best British cities to explore. Enjoy the picturesque expanse of the English countryside and the magnificent structures dating back to the Victorian era. Punting is by far the most distinctive experience to enjoy in Cambridge. Also, t it is the birthplace of this rather peculiar boating affair.
In this article, let’s walk through the top 10, most popular places to visit in the city of Cambridge. It’ll help you build a delightful itinerary that fuels your passion for history, art, and cultural beauty.
10 Most Popular Places In The City Of Cambridge
Nestled in the stunning expanse of the King’s College, the King’s Chapel is utterly breathtaking. Historically, it was commissioned by King Henry VI in 1441. It’s indeed one of the most spectacular specimens of Perpendicular Gothic-style architecture in the city of Cambridge, England. It will leave you enchanted with its 16th century stained glass windows and the delicate tracery embellishing the walls.
It features the most captivating example of medieval ornamentation. You won’t be able to lift up your eyes from the fan-vaulted ceiling. Not only that, but you’ll also enjoy the medieval stained glass work and the exquisitely carved medieval choir stalls and wooden organ screen. The altarpiece, the Adoration of Magi by the great Flemish artist, Peter Paul Rubens, is a feast for sore eyes!
A picturesque wooden bridge that comes with the most fascinating story of mechanical genius is the Mathematical Bridge. It’s immensely popular amongst backpackers and travelers visiting Cambridge, England. It is the perfect spot to enjoy the laid-back, traditional charm of the city of Cambridge. All while marveling at the peculiar design of this iconic bridge.
A popular myth dictates that this bridge was constructed by Sir Isaac Newton; without using any bolts or nuts. Now while that certainly is an interesting theory, it is far from the truth. The Mathematical Bridge was designed by William Etheridge, and it was constructed by James Essex in 1749. It is a structure made with a striking arrangement of timbers. Then it was molded and bent to create an arch.
The Fitzwilliam Museum
The Fitzwilliam is undoubtedly the most famous museum in the city of Cambridge. Truly, it is a must-visit attraction on the list of any and every backpacker exploring this iconic city. This museum allows you to explore some of the rarest art and antiquities that will take you back in time, allowing you to unravel the fascinating history of England.
The Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion generously donated his splendid art collection to the University of Cambridge. If you are a fan of the great artists, this museum is home to some of the most spectacular pieces. Baroque style art, Dutch, Egyptian, and Greek art by Gainsborough, Hogarth, Turner, Rembrandt Reubens, and Degas are only some of them.
The museum will also allow you to explore some rare and incredible manuscripts and an exquisite collection of British china and pottery.
Cambridgeshire Wine School
Wine touring is a splendid agenda for all backpackers traveling across the city of Cambridge, England. The Cambridgeshire Wine School is the perfect attraction to end a lovely evening; a subtle touch of romance, and a lively wine tasting event.
You will get a chance to explore some of the most exquisite blends of flavorful European wine. Alongside, you can feast on the scrumptious taste of Portuguese dishes, South American recipes, and rare Italian tipples. Be sure to check their schedule to choose your evening. Also, the Cambridgeshire Wine School is always hosting wine events filled with delicious Fromage and rare wine blends.
A backpacker’s list of attractions to explore in the city of Cambridge is simply incomplete without adding Fitzbillies to the itinerary. This heavenly cove of gastronomic adventures is world-famous for its scrumptious Chelsea Buns. These savory-sweet treats have been on the menu since 1921.
Located on Trumpington Street, the Fitzbillies Café is the perfect place to recharge your energy after an exhilarating punting trip in the river.
The city of Cambridge is flooded with English historical heritage. This also includes stunning specimens of Gothic and royal architecture. But ultimately, Cambridge is the United Kingdom’s most well-kept treasure trove of art and culture.
Backpackers who are interested in exploring a splendid collection of 20th-century art and cultural charm must head out to Kettle’s Yard. This picturesque Cambridge house has been transformed into a contemporary art gallery. Also, be sure to check out their event calendar to catch amazing exhibitions, art shows, workshops, talks, and even music recitals.
By far, one of the most fascinating mechanical structures in Cambridge, England, is the Corpus Clock. This ginormous street-level metal clock will leave you stunned with its mechanical design, and its gold-dipped embellishment.
The billowy ripple design of the Corpus Clock is undoubtedly the least of its fascinating structure. The gold-constructed face and exquisitely carved metal grasshopper named Chronophage or more popularly, the Time-eater. This iconic monument definitely deserves a visit!
The River Cam
A picturesque river that flows through the city of Cambridge, gushing towards its great fall into the River Great Ouse, is the River Cam. It is incredibly popular amongst punting enthusiasts. Also, the tradition of Punting is referred to as the “national hobby of Cambridge”. Indeed, it’s one of the best ways to explore this idyllic city. Also, the best part is, the River Cam offers ideal conditions for first-time punters.
The river is always lined up with exquisitely ornamented punts and tiny boats. Also, the riverbanks are excellent grounds for a delightful little picnic in the afternoon. Just across the King’s College Bridge, the River Cam invites you with its pretty little punts and rich history. Undoubtedly, these inspired many literary masters, including Chaucer and Lord Byron, amongst others.
A gloriously dreamy, aristocratic country house, the Anglesey Abbey once belonged to Lord Fairhaven and his family. It was and is still remembered as the abode of the eccentric Broughton siblings. Nestled just outside the city of Cambridge, in the picturesque village of Lode, this former priory holds an immense fascination for backpackers exploring the countryside.
Constructed back in the 12th century, the Abbey underwent a massive renovation in 1926. Later on, it was then dedicated as a museum of traditional ornaments and fine arts. Additionally, you can enjoy the showcases of amazing home furnishings, including the exquisite tapestries of Soho, Anglesey, and Gobelin. You can also enjoy the art collection staging the Opening of Waterloo Bridge by Constable.
A walk through the abbey will make you intensely nostalgic for the eras gone by. It’ll allow you to feast your eyes on the splendid visual feast of a vast collection of silverware, English pottery, ornaments, and clocks belonging to the Broughton family.
You simply cannot leave the Abbey without taking out some time to walk around and enjoy the serenity of the gardens. The abbey is home to 114 acres of lush green spaces. The Wildlife Discovery Area, located nearby, is the perfect place to hang out with exquisite birds.
The historic Lode Water Mill is just around the corner; waiting to stun you with its fascinating mechanisms powered with grindstones.
Commissioned in 1546 by one of Britain’s most celebrated patron of arts, King Henry VIII, is the Trinity College. Trinity College is indeed one of the most captivating buildings amongst all the colleges located in the city of Cambridge.
When backpackers and tourists visit the college, they can feast their eyes on the magnificent expanse of the King’s Hall and Michaelhouse. The Trinity Great Court is one of the largest courts in the city. It stands as a vibrant reminder of the 17th-century architecture. Follow the passage that leads to the charming expanse of Nevile’s Court. Constructed in 1614, it’s home to a mesmerizing chapel and statues of imminent scholars.
If you harbor a strong bug of bibliophilia, you will find yourself drawn to the exquisite lime woodcarvings and historic oak bookcases lining up the walls of the spectacular Wren Library. The heritage of Trinity College is a charming experience on its own; creating some of the most distinguished and iconic scholars and politicians. Some of them also include George Herbert, Issac Newton, Austen Chamberlain, and Bertrand Russell.