Cambridge University (or The University of Cambridge), is the second-oldest university in the world. The earliest records available suggest Cambridge University was formed by a group of scholars in 1209 after they had a dispute with locals in Oxford. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge are often jointly referred to as "Oxbridge." In addition to cultural and practical associations as a historic part of English society, the two universities also have a long history of rivalry with each other. Academically, Cambridge is consistently ranked in the world's top 5 universities. Cambridge University is made up of 31 colleges, of which three admit only women (Murray Edwards, Newnham and Lucy Cavendish). Some of the most popular with tourists are detailed below:
Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII in 1546 as part of the University of Cambridge. Princes, spies, poets and prime-ministers have all been taught here, and members of the College go on to a very wide range of professions and careers after taking degrees in all the subjects the University offers.
The College of St Mary Magdalene is located in the centre of Cambridge beside the bridge on the River Cam, from which the city takes its name. The College has its origins in the year 1428 when King Henry VI approved the establishment of a hostel on the site for Benedictine monks coming from their abbey monasteries in the Fenland to study Canon Law at the University.
One of the 31 Colleges of the University of Cambridge, King's College was founded by Henry VI in 1441. Internationally renowned for its Chapel, Choir and televised 'Carols from Kings' each Christmas Eve, the College also has a first class academic record. Whilst foremost an educational establishment housed in a grand and impressive building, visitors are invited to explore the College Gardens and Chapel and attend services. An events calendar can be found on the College website, showing recitals, concerts and exhibitions to name but a few. The Chapel is open from early morning to mid afternoon during both term time and College holidays, with exact hours being available on the website. Admission to the Chapel is 7.50 GBP for adults, 5 GBP for concessions and free for under 12s. During private events the Chapel is closed and during exam times the gardens are closed while the Chapel remains open. Choral services are held Monday to Saturday at 17:30 and at 10:30 and 15:30 on Sunday. Full details and variations in timings can be found on the College website. The Shop at Kings sells a wide range of souvenirs regarding the College and Chapel and is open Monday to Saturday 09:30 - 17:30 and Sunday 9:30 - 16:30.
Queens' College sits either side of the River Cam, being linked by the famous Mathematical Bridge. A historic site, the College welcomes members of the public. Queens' offers much to see, including various historical buildings such as the medieval Old Hall and Chapel. Most of the buildings were constructed in 1448 and it is believed that they were designed by Reginald Ely, the mason who was at the time in charge of the construction of the Chapel of King's College. King's was formed of very expensive stone, whereas Queens' was built with cheaper red bricks. The other significant difference is that Queens' was finished within two years, but King's Chapel took just under a century to be completed. Not all buildings at Queens' are open to the public and current opening times for those that are can be found on the College website. The College is open to visitors from 9 March to 23 September 2013 and during weekends in October. There are various dates on which the College is closed and full details of opening dates and hours can be found on the College website. Entrance costs 2.50 GBP for all visitors, with no charge for under 12s. The Queens' Visitors' Shop is located at the Visitor's Gate, where souvenirs and gifts can be purchased.
Pembroke College was built in 1347 and is the earliest of the Cambridge Colleges which remains on it's original site. Having undergone a number of extensions over the years, the latest addition was a basement to the library which was constructed in 2001 to accommodate the College's rare book archive, a law library, reading area and seminar room. Visitors are invited to explore the grounds of Pembroke and visit the Chapel, outside of service times. The College can be visited from 14:00 to 17:00 every day, although not during exam periods. There is no parking available at the College and the nearest car park is Grand Arcade, off Pembroke Street.
Emmanuel College's buildings span Medieval to late 20th Century and the College is renowned for it's extensive gardens. The gardens have enormous lawned areas, rare trees and ponds, being an oasis in the busy city centre. The College was founded in 1584 and welcomed only male students until 1979. Former scholars at Emmanuel include George Porter, Nobel Prize for Chemistry winner in 1967, William Sancroft, Dean of St Paul's and 79th Archbishop of Canterbury and William Norman Birkett, one of the judges during the Nuremberg trials. The Chapel at Emmanual was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and became the first Church of England site to bless same-sex civil partnerships in 2006, but only for alumni and members of the College. The ducks who live on the pond in Emmanual's gardens are very much a part of the College and there is no truth in the myth that they are eaten by College Members! The College is proud of its 'Green Duck Scheme' which promotes environmental awareness and has resulted in many environmentally friends initiatives at Emmanuel, including energy saving lightbulbs, recycling bins, duplex printing on recycled paper and Emma Green Duck cotton shopping bags.
Corpus Christi College was founded in 1352, the only Oxbridge College to be founded by townspeople, and has a colourful history. In 1573 a rule was set in place stating that only Latin would be spoken within the College, with beatings being the punishment for anyone heard speaking English. In 1630 everyone but Master Dr Butts fled the College due to the spread of The Plague. In 1632 Dr Butts was found hanging, presumably through the stress of being alone, and the College is said to be haunted by his ghost. The College holds regular exhibitions in its library and these can be visited by booking onto a public tour, which are held on Thursday afternoons.
Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII in 1546. Former scholars at the College include Sir Isaac Newton, Byron and Tennyson. Trinity is famous for its Great Court Run, which sees contestants competeing to run around the Great Court within the time it takes the College Clock to strike the twelfth hour. The course is 370 metres in length and the race was a central scene in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, athough is was not filmed at Trinity. The race was run for charity by Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram in 1988, with Coe winning with a 46 second time over Cram's 46.3 seconds, however he didn't beat the clock, whose chimes took 44.4 seconds. In the 1960s the Government asked Universities to form closer links with high-tech insustries, which led to the founding of Trinity's Science Park which today accommodates 60 companies and is the principal Science Park in the UK. Trinity welcomes visitors, who should enter through the Great Gate. Built in 1530, the gate is the largest of all the Cambridge College gates and sits under a statue of King Henry VIII. The tourist porter at the Great Gate will inform visitors which parts of the College are open that day. The Great Court can be viewed from 10:00 - 16:30 every day and the Wren Library from 12:00 - 14:00 Monday to Friday and 10:30 - 12:30 on Saturdays during term time.
St John's College is one of the largest Colleges of Cambridge University. Founded in 1511, the College was formerly the Hospital of St John the Evangelist. In its early days the College was for students of theology, liberal arts and biblical languages and now specialises in humanities, medicine and experimental sciences. Former scholars at St John's include the poet William Wordsworth. The College welcomes visits from 2nd March until 27th October 2013 from 10:00 - 17:00, all other dates during 2013 from 10:00 - 15:30, apart from 25th December 2013 until 3rd January 2014 when the College is closed. Entry is 5 GBP for adults, 3.50 GBP for concessions and free for children under 12 years of age. Green Bradge guided tours are available at 3.50 GBP per visitor. St John's has many beautiful buildings and stunning gardens to explore. Of particular note is the Great Gate, the magnificent Chapel with its many stained glass windows, the beautiful covered Bridge of Sighs and the majestic Gothic New Court.
Clare College was founded in 1326 and is the second oldest College of Cambridge Universiry. It spans the River Cam, provides a more informal environment that some of the other Colleges and has a mix of students from a whole range of backgrounds. The college is known for its speciality in music and the Music Society perform regular orchestral, choral and chamber concerts, along with Monday lunchtime recitals. Many former students at Clare College have gone a long way in their musical careers, including Marcus Barcham-Stevens, co-Leader of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Pailthorpe, co-principal flautist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the composer John Rutter and musical entertainer Richard Stilgoe. Since its founding in 1971, the Clare College Choir has become internationally renowned as one of the leading University Choral Groups in the world. Whilst still performing their key function of leading services in the College Chapel at 18:15 on tuesdays and Thursdays, and Sundays at 18:00, the Choir has an active schedule recording and performing throughout the UK and internationally. The Choir have also toured many countries, including Australia, Russia, Japan and the US and in 2000 became the first Oxbridge mixed voice choir to perform at the BBC Proms.
Newnham College is the only women's College in Cambridge. The College was founded in 1871, initially a house for just five students to stay in when attending lectures in Cambridge. As demand increased, Newnham Hall was built and opened in 1875, the first building to be built on the current Newnham site. By 1913 the College had grown to six buildings, under architect Basil Champneys. The beautiful buildings are all made of red brick with sash windows and steep roofs, known as Queen Anne style. The gardens at Newnham were first planted in 1882 and remain a significant feature of the College today. Ornate gates, rose beds, sunken gardens, expansive laws and ponds create a relaxing and beautiful area of 18 acres. The Newnham Gardens have their own Garden Committee who develop plans for the gardens and organise events, such as talks and 'Secret Garden Balls'. Famous former students at Newnham include Germaine Greer, Australian academic and feminist writer, and actress Miriam Margolyes.
Magdalene College was etablished in 1428 as a hostel for Benedictine monks studying Canon Law at Cambridge. The College comprises an interesting variety of buildings and visitors can explore the College free of charge, although some areas are not open to the public. Of particular interest in the Pepys Library which fascinates tourists from all over the world. The 3000 volumes of Samuel Pepys are housed here, arranged numerically by size. The book are all beautifully bound and visitors can also see a library desk which is believed to have belonged to Pepys. The Library is open from 23rd April to 31st August 2013 Monday to Friday 14:00 - 16:00, Saturday 12:00 - 13:00 and 14:00 - 15:00. From 8th October until 7th December 2013 it is open from Monday to Saturday 14:00 - 15:00, and from 14th January2013 until 15th March 2014 the Library can be visited from Monday to Saturday 14:00 - 15:00. It is closed on Sundays throughout the year.