This post is part of a throwback series to my semester abroad in London in 2007!
On our second weekend we spent three days at Cambridge University. Cambridge is such an accredited school as it is widely regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious and influential universities. It was founded in 1209 (!) and is the second oldest university in the English speaking world.
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Our housing for the long weekend was individual dorm rooms. Compared to our London-style (read: cramped) living, single rooms were a dream to have for a few days! Obviously from this photo below I am thrilled!
A big part of Cambridge’s fame (and as students led by a physics professor, a large reason for our visit) is the University’s key setting for the discovery of the DNA double helix. Our time in Cambridge also included an organized lecture relating to our study of astronomy (which honestly I cannot recall much of, other than it took place in a round classroom that was warm, and many students may have drifted off at one point or another…..)
An English fall look, as well as proof that selfies were a thing in 2007!
Our time allotted for ample touring of the university’s many Colleges. The architecture of the buildings is breathtaking and the grounds are immaculate!
Cambridge sports blue plaques in the similar fashion as the London blue plaque scheme, which denote where famous people have lived and worked. It’s a handy way to easily spot places of significance and bring more meaning to your sightseeing.
Cambridge has multiple outstanding museums, including the Fitswilliam Museum which features art and antiquities. The shot below is one of Darwin’s microscopes, featured in the Whipple Museum of the History of Science.
Again with the selfie, and sporting a Cambridge sweatshirt that was well worn by the end of my semester in London!
Of course we checked out the pubs while in town, our pick being the Prince Albert pub. The atmosphere is great and the food is yummy! The pub has dart boards and pool tables too.
Walking around Cambridge really is lovely. The town has the most spectacular feel to it and everywhere you look is something beautiful!
One of the best parts of the weekend was experiencing punting. I recently mentioned this to a friend and she looked at me like I had three heads!
Punting is the fine art of boating a punt (quite a “le duh” comment right there). A punt is a flat bottomed boat, and is propelled by pushing against the river bed with a pole. This is not the same as a gondola, as those use oars rather than poles to traverse. Nowadays punting is almost exclusively an activity of leisure and you will constantly see punting on the River Cam which flows through Cambridge. As the river is narrow it is ideal for punting. Cambridge punters also tend to be attractive males who sometimes punt shirtless, another reason this is a must activity!
The trip down the River Cam is beautiful as it passes many old buildings.
I would just love to visit Cambridge again one day; it really is a magical place!
Logan’s Tips and Tricks
-On a vacation when you are based in London, I recommend visiting either Cambridge or Oxford. No they aren’t the same, but to get a well rounded trip experience I say pick one or the other. I also visited Oxford on a trip three years later in 2010. Both are fabulous and doable as a day trip out of London!
-Cambridge is an easy train ride out of London; frequent trains are available out of several of London’s train stations. The trip takes about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the exact one you select; round trip tickets can be bought online or in person at the train station. I recommend selecting an open return option so you can take a return train to the city whenever you’d like!
-Cambridge has many museums and collections that are open to the public. Additionally college chapels are open at select times, and most of the Colleges are also open for visits. It’s best to check times when planning your trip to make sure any must sees on your list will be open.
-We visited before university was back in session; students start around early October. The campus was still lively despite this fact but if you are partial to experiencing Cambridge when the semester is in session, plan accordingly by looking up the term dates on the university website. On that note if you do visit when term is in session, remember that Cambridge first and foremost is a school. Take this into consideration as you traverse around campus and be respectful of the students and faculty.
-Punting when the weather permits is an absolute must when you are visiting! You can arrange your ride the day of; make sure to bring your camera!