In England two cities define its historical intellect and culture like no other: Oxford and Cambridge. The latter, home to the University of Cambridge ordained in 1209, has received scientists, literary figures, politicians and royalty for centuries (including Charles Darwin, Lord Byron, William Pitt and the current Prince of Wales). This rich heritage manifests in the natural and architectural beauty of the city, which within one-hour from London, is a definite must for any visitor to the UK.
Take a Punt
The most tranquil way to bask in the ambiance of the city is by punt. King's College Chapel and The Bridge of Sighs are among many famous Cambridge landmarks you will see when punting along the river Cam. Though possible to hire a boat yourself, we recommend a chauffeured tour; lie back and soak up the atmosphere allowing the often humorous and friendly chauffeurs to impress you with their skill and knowledge of the city's history. Many companies offer additional luxuries including champagne services, afternoon tea and having your very own mixologist on-board to serve you cocktails.
It's not usual to find, in a city center, forty acres of sumptuous gardens with over 8000 different plant species. The continual application of expert knowledge, skill and vision of generations manifests in the artistry of Cambridge University's Botanic Garden. Founded in 1846 the gardens retain their Victorian grandeur whilst having been charmingly contributed to since. Having lost yourself in timeless herbaceous beauty why not have a bite to eat at the Garden Café on site? Using fresh, English ingredients, the Garden Café offers food to suit every palate. For that added experience of luxury, we recommend reserving the Gilmor Table. Offering the best views in the house and a bespoke menu, The Gilmour Table provides the perfect setting for indulgence.
The oldest University playhouse in England and though a department of the university, run entirely by students, the ADC Theatre is the cultural hub of University drama in Cambridge. Home to Footlights, the University's dramatic club, the ADC Theatrehas had many a celebrity actor grace its stage including Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton and Sacha Baron Cohen. It is the perfect place to experience the hottest talent on the world's acting stage performing both recognized productions as well as student written plays. The bar is provided by Cambridge Wine Merchants, and offers wide range of gins, whiskies and other spirits. It is the perfect spot to indulge in an evening of cultural refinement whilst being served your favourite tipple.
Art at the Fitzwilliam
Established in 1861 by Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion who bequeathed to the University of Cambridge his works of art and library to increase the learning of the 'noble foundation', the Fitzwilliam Museum is a haven of artistic splendour. With collections of medieval manuscripts and autograph music by composers such as Handel housed alongside paintings from the great masters of the High Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age, it is a must for any art enthusiast. With continuous varied exhibitions, a visit anytime of year is guaranteed an insightful experience. Consensio recommends the 'Building an Empire' exhibition which marks the 1200th anniversary of the death of the 'beacon, king and father of Europe', King Charlemagne. Feed your curiosity experiencing the exotic luxuries illustrating the complex political, economic and cultural ties of the period. Be quick - exhibition ends 3rd of August.
Tour the Colleges
The University of Cambridge comprises 31 colleges spanning nearly 700 years of history. Tour the colleges and indulge in the rich architectural splendour of this historic city. Each College has its different policy on admitting members of the public so checking individual college entries online before visiting is advised. However, most colleges are very welcoming with hospitable and helpful porters. King's College Chapel, commissioned in 1446 by Henry VI is a fine example of gothic architecture and has the largest fan vault in the world. It is most certainly recommended. Nevertheless, do not let the enormity of some of the central colleges be your guide; many of the smaller colleges have interesting histories in their own right. For example, Christ's college was home to Charles Darwin, father of evolutionary biology, who, from Cambridge, embarked on his ground-breaking journey of discovery on HMS Beagle, which informed his 'The Origin of Species'. Did you know that Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the common wealth of England (when England was ruled as a republic following the execution of Charles I), was one of the first students of Sidney Sussex College? His head is famously buried beneath the College's Ante-Chapel.
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