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Visiting Cambridge University, England, and Senate House: historic landmark, close to King's College Chapel

Updated on December 25, 2014
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Senate House, Cambridge University
Senate House, Cambridge University | Source
King's College Chapel and Senate House in the snow
King's College Chapel and Senate House in the snow | Source
Cambridgeshire map
Cambridgeshire map | Source

Two outstanding examples of architecture, making a visit to Cambridge especially memorable

In the city centre of Cambridge is Senate House, a major landmark belonging to Cambridge University. It forms part of the Old Schools Site, where the University's administration is based.

Traditionally, Senate House is the location where Cambridge University student examination results are first posted.

Sir James Burrell and James Gibbs were responsible for the structure, which was built between 1722 and 1730. Executed in Portland stone in smooth, neo-Classical lines, the building easily catches the light, making it impressive to visitors.

Senate House Passage is a narrow pedestrian street which links Trinity Street with Trinity Lane. It passes between Senate House and Gonville and Caius College (founded 1348 and again in 1547).

Close to Senate House is King's College Chapel, another landmark, which is world renowned, and may be accessed from King's Parade. Completed in 1515 in a outstanding example of Perpendicular style, the Chapel's dimensions were personally designed by King Henry VI, who founded the College in 1441, together with Eton College.

The Chapel's fan vaulting, built 1512 - 1515 by master mason John Wastell, is the largest such creation in the world. The stained glass windows were made mainly by Flemish artisans in the 16th century. During World War Two, in anticipation of enemy aerial activity, these windows were removed by way of precaution and put into storage.

Among the Chapel's treasures is Reubens' Adoration of the Magi. Listeners and viewers worldwide regularly follow the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve, observed at the Chapel.

Also worth seeing

Visitor attractions in Cambridge itself are too numerous to summerize here adequately, but a few of these include the scenic, nearby Backs, on the Cam River, where boats known as punts are often hired out. The juxtaposition of Clare Bridge, Clare College and King's College Chapel form a very popular photographic combination. Trinity College's Wren Library and St John's College's 'Bridge of Sighs' make for impressive views from the Backs.

Ely Cathedral (distance: 26 kilometres) is a striking, Medieval structure.


How to get there

United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Rail services link Cambridge with London's Liverpool Street and St Pancras railroad stations. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada


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    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 4 years ago

      Gyanu: Cambridge is certainly very historic. Thank-you for your comment.

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      Gyanu 4 years ago

      Bristol is very creative and alitrnateve and cool and has a big music scene but Cambridge is more quiet and chilled and historical and refined but has less nightlife .