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Best Car Rentals Cambridge

History Cambridge

One of the smaller but fastest growing cities of Britain, Cambridge has come a long way from having just a population of 36,000 hundred years ago and having agriculture and the world famous university as the main sources of employment. Now hi-tech industry is a major part of business in Cambridge known as the Silicon-Fen due to the Cambridge Phenomenon. This phenomenon led to start-up of new businesses and as the city's reputation rose people poured in from all walks of life into this city. In spite of having an ultra-modern image, Cambridge has retained the picturesque scenery which delights and draws visitors from all over the world. The historic colleges and narrow lanes have a worldwide fame along with pictures of punts gliding down River Cam which has a willowed line. Most of the students own cycles and visitors too prefer hiring cycles to tour the picturesque city. The day long rush in busy parts of the city is motivation enough for people to switch to other modes of transport and now cars are being encouraged out of the city centre into the ring road. The colleges of the university date from the early 1200s to mid 1900s, apart from these there are many other historic and beautiful buildings. The stately grandeur of Senate House, the Greco-Roman face of the Fitzwilliam Museum, the modern colours of the Judge Institute, the prized glass chapel at Fitzwilliam College and numerous other architectural marvels abound to suit all tastes.

When to go Cambridge

Summer is a good time to enjoy the seaside view and pleasures of the beach in Cambridge. Winter is cold and wet with rainfall being ample and unpredictable as well. So the best months to visit are May ? August. A place with a young crowd and an ethnic feel, Cambridge is a delight to visit.


Weather Cambridge

Temperatures in Cambridge range from 1.65 to 22.8 (Celsius). The best time to go to Cambridge is in summer when it is less cold

Arrival Cambridge

The train station is off Hills Road, a mile or so south-east of the city centre. You could walk an easy twenty minutes into the centre but it gets tedious so shuttle bus #3, which runs to down-town Emmanuel Road can be taken as well. It runs every ten minutes or so but is less frequent on Sundays. The bus station lies at the centre on Drummer Street, right by Christ's Pieces - and Emmanuel Road. Stansted airport is thirty miles south of Cambridge on the M11 and is also famous for its striking Terminal building designed by Norman Foster. There are trains running every hour from the airport to the city and regular bus services as well. Travelling by car is not very convenient as much of the city centre is closed to traffic and on-street parking is almost impossible. The best option for a day trip is a Park-and-Ride car park. These are signposted on all major approaches.

The city centre is small and it is easy and comfortable to walk around. Apart from getting to or coming from the train station, buses need not much use. Therefore it is apt for cycling to be extremely popular with the locals and students as it is enjoyable. The town has bike rental outlets doted all over including the at the train station which is quite handy. Bikes being so popular, bike theft is common and whenever leaving your bike some place, padlock it to something immovable. The Cambridge tourist office is situated at a convenient location in the ornate, off King's Parade which was a former public library on Wheeler Street. The tourist office issues city maps, leaflets on local attractions and also sells in-depth guides to the city which cost about ?4. Help is also provided with accommodation and this is a useful service when rooms are hard to find especially in summer. The Cambridge tourist office timings are. There are tours available as well, and it is advised to book these in advance through the tourist booking office.

Best locations Cambridge

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford exist eight miles south of Cambridge next to junction 10 at the Duxford airfield and is visible from the M11. East Anglia was a centre for operations in World War II for the RAF and USAF with the landscape dotted by dozens of airfields. Duxford was also a station in the battle of Britain and used to be equipped with spitfires. One of the control towers has a reconstructed operations room. Duxford holds over 150 historic aircraft from the Sunderland flying boat to the Concorde. Vulcan B2 bombers are also present which were used for the first and last time in the Falklands. However in spite of all these, the Spitfires remain enduringly popular. Most of the planes at this museum are in full working condition and taken out for a spin at the Duxford air shows several times a year. These air shows attract thousands of visitors.

There are usually three air shows in a year with tickets costing from ?12.50 to ?15.50. Advance bookings are strongly recommended. The telephone number for bookings is 01223/499353.The museum is open for visitors. A free courtesy bus service links Duxford with Cambridge. For details you can call the following number: 01223/835000

Corpus Christi and Queens are two noteworthy town-centre colleges at the west end around the foot of King's Parade. This is where Downing Street leads into Pembroke Street, opposite Emmanuel. The Corpus Christie college is on the east side of King's Parade and was founded in 1352 by two of the town's guilds. Leaving alone the first court, head north into old Court which dates from the foundation of the college. In 1587 Christopher Marlowe wrote Tamburlane here before graduating. On the south side is the college library which contains a priceless collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts while the north side is linked to St Benet's Church by a gallery. This used to serve as a college chapel but is of earlier than Saxon origin. Inside, Thomas Hobson's Bible is exhibited in a glass case. Hobson was the owner of a livery stable in Cambridge. He would allow only the horse nearest to the door to be taken by a customer. Hence, the phrase Hobson's choice gained popularity.

Nearby, stands the Queen's college just off Silver Street and can be accessed through the gate on Queen's lane. It is a very popular college with university applicants and it is not difficult to see why. In the Old Court and the Cloister Court of Queen's college are present two fairy-tale Tudor courtyards, the first being a perfect example of the original collegiate ideal with kitchens, library, chapel, hall and rooms all set around a tiny green. Cloister court is surrounded by the Long Gallery of the President's Lodge. This Lodge is the last remaining of a half-timbered building in the university. In its south-east corner by the tower, Erasmus was thought to have bereaved away during his four years here which were probably from 1510-1514. The college hall is present off the screens passage between the two courts. This passage holds mantel tiles by William Morris, portraits of Erasmus and of Elizabeth Woodville who was a co-founder of this college and the wife of Edward IV.

The wooden Mathematical Bridge over the cam is a copy of the mid-eighteenth-century original which was claimed to stay in place even if nuts and bolts were removed. This college is open for viewing daily between 10am - 4.30pm at a cost of ?1.20 per person. The Emmanuel College is present a little further along St Andrew's Street from the Fellows' Garden. Its stolid Neoclassical facade hides a neat and trim Front Court. This court contains the college chapel which was designed by Wren. The chapel has a simple classical style with a wood panelled nave set beneath a fancy stucco ceiling. This college was founded in 1584 following the Reformation, to train a new generation of Protestant clergy. Emmanuel men were numbered among the Pilgrims who settled New England. This not only explains how the name Cambridge came about in Massachusetts but also accounts for Harvard University as John Harvard, an alumnus, is remembered by a memorial window in the chapel.

The Fitzwilliam museum stands head and shoulder above other museums in Cambridge. This building built in the mid-nineteenth century in a splendid and grandiloquent interpretation of neoclassicism and was built to house the vast collection bequeathed by Viscount Fitzwilliam in 1816. Since then it has been very special. This museum talks a lot about the changing tastes of the British upper class. The Lower Galleries contain numerous antiquities like Egyptian sarcophagi and mummies, fifth-century BC black- and red-figure Greek vases, a bewildering display of European ceramics etc. At the far right end are galleries containing Far Eastern applied arts and Korean ceramics. Also present are sections devoted to armour, glass, pewterware, medals, portrait miniatures and illuminated manuscripts. The Upper Galleries mostly contain paintings and sculpture with three out of five rooms containing a marvellous assortment of mostly nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European paintings.

There are works by Degas, Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Delacroix, Cezanne and Matisse. The other two rooms contain mostly British paintings like those of Reynolds, William Blake, Hogarth, Constable and Turner, Gainsborough and Stubbs. The Italian section consists of paintings by various artists like Titian and Veronese, Fra Filippo Lippi and Simone Martini while the Flemish section features Frans Hals and Ruisdael. There is a gallery that contains a fascinating selection of post 1945 pieces displaying likes of Ben Nicholson, David Hockney, Ivon Hitchens, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Lucian Freud. The Round Church near Bridge Street is a few seconds walk from St John's Street. It was built on the likes of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, in the twelfth century. It is a curious looking building with an extension to its rear of the late medieval times which is quite ill built. All that remains of the original church are Norman pillars overseen by sturdy arcading and finely carved faces in the form of a ring. Brass is seen in a varied selection in the church and sells all the necessary tackle. This church is the starting point of Christian Heritage walks around the city for which staff wll help you get started.

These walks are generally organized from February to November every Wednesday 11am and Sunday 2.30pm. A donation of ?3 is recommended. Further information can be gained by calling 01223/311602. Near to the Round Church is the Magdalene Bridge which is the site of an old Roman ford. And beyond it is the Magdalene College pronounced maudlina. Magdalene College became a university college quite late in 1542 as it was initially founded as a hostel by the Benedictines. In 1988 it agreed to admit women in the college. The second of the college's ancient courtyards contains the Pepys Building which is the major focus of attention in the building. A student Samuel Pepys bequeathed his entire library to the college. The original red-oak bookshelves have since then displayed the entire collection. It was however, only in the nineteenth century that his famous diary was found and has been here ever since.

Jesus College reminds one of a monastic institution owing to its intimate cloisters. Situated after the first left of the Round Church, it is a bit of a walk down Magdalene Street and then Bridge Street. This college was founded on a suppressed Benedictine nunnery by the Bishop of Ely in 1496. There is a red-brick main gateway which can be approached by a walled walkway. This distinctive walkway has bicycles strewn all over it and is known as The Chimney. The college has a very pretty courtyard that contains hanging baskets and drips with ivy. Much of the ground, especially around Cloister Court has been well preserved. The college chapel occupies the former priory chancel and entering from the court it looks like a medieval parish church. William Morris very imaginatively restored it, especially the ceilings using Pre-Raphaelite stained glass in the nineteenth century.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the famous poet was also famous as a bad student here. In the first year he was absconding as he wanted to join the Light Dragoons. Later on joining again he was asked to leave due to his unconventional opinions and bad debts. King's College was founded by Henry VI in 1441. Not very satisfied with initial efforts he cleared almost half of Cambridge in that medieval period to build a grander foundation. He had very ambitious plans but these kept being intervened by one thing or the other- the war of the roses, bouts of royal insanity etc. and by 1471 when his death took place very little had been accomplished. The site where the grand project was planned remained empty for three hundred years! Today King's College has a long stone screen facing the King's parade. This is largely neo-gothic. It was built by William Wilkins in the 1820s. The only work that was done by Henry's men was a very fine structure- the much celebrated king's college chapel which is situated on the north side of today's Great Court.

Now best known as the boy's choir its members travel around the college grounds in antiquated garb during term time to sing song even and carols on Christmas eve, every Tuesday to Saturday at 5.30pm. This boys' choir was eulogized in three sonnets by Wordsworth and committed to canvas by Turner and Canaletto. The chapel took Sixt y years in making with work beginning in 1446 and has turned out to be an extraordinary building. From the outside it is a slender, streamlined channel like structure with four spiky turrets. The design of the exterior was considered a happy accident, its design predicated by the interior which was carefully designed. There are kaleidoscopic patterns of light filtering in through copious stained-glass windows and it is thought to have represented the mystery of Christianity by this long uninterrupted flowering of Gothic style.

King's college had the right to award degrees to its students without taking examinations until 1851 and has an exclusive supply of students from Eton, one of the country's public schools. It was in 1873 that the first non-Etonians were accepted. Now King's college is one of the most progressive colleges and was one of the first to admit women in 1972. Famous alumni include; film director Derek Jarman, E.M. Forster, who described his experiences in Maurice, poet Rupert Brooke and John Maynard Keynes whose economic theories did much to improve the college's finances when he became the college bursar. Sidney Sussex College is a short walk from where Malcolm street cuts off Jesus lane. The architecture is mostly mock-gothic and sombre and this structure glowers over Sidney street. The famous Oliver Cromwell studied at this college and his skull was brought back to the college and buried in a secret location in the ante-chapel in 1960.

St Andrews Street lies just to the south of Sidney Sussex and is the town's main shopping area with a lot of hustle and bustle. It has the Lion Yard Shopping centre, this is one of the few town planning mistakes in Cambridge's centre as an extremely modern centre rumbles along petty Cury, formerly a cobbled curve of leaning half-timbered houses. Christ College is just opposite to Lions yard and provides aesthetic relief. This college features the coat of arms of Lady Margaret Beaufort who was the founder of this college and of St Johns as well. As you enter comes the first court, passing which is the Fellow's building, attributed to Inigo Jones. The building's central arch gives access to the fellow's garden which is open to the public free of cost from Monday to Friday from 10am till 12pm.

A famous undergraduate of this college was Charles Darwin who was more interested in hunting and shooting than in academics. Another, was the poet John Milton who was said to have painted and composed beneath the elderly mulberry tree of the garden but there is no definite proof of that. Another structure worth seeing is a modern adjunct which is a concrete pyramidal accommodation block dubbed as the typewriter. St John's College is Situated just next to the Trinity College is St John's College on St john's street and it is open to the public from 10am to 5pm at a cost of ?2. Further information can be obtained by calling 01223/338600. This college has a grand Tudor gatehouse held aloft by two mythical beasts and distinguished by the coat of arms of Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII and the founder of this college. There are three successive courts beyond which is a river but an overdose of brickwork which is dull reddish in colour made Wordsworth who lived above the kitchens on staircase F describes the place as gloomy.

The Third Court has an arcade on its far side which leads to the bridge of sighs which was built in 1831. Very unlike its Venetian namesake the bridge is quite chunky and covered. This bridge is closed to the public. It is best viewed from either a punt or from an older bridge which is few meters south to it. This older bridge is far more stylish and was designed by Wren. The bridge of sighs links the old college with the New Court built in the nineteenth century. This New Court is known as the wedding cake as it is a richly crenellated neo-gothic structure which is extravagantly topped by a central cupola and pinnacles.

Trinity College is the largest college in Cambridge with the largest courtyard and is present on Trinity Street. It is available for viewing daily from 10am till 5pm with the ticket costing ?1. For further information contact 01223/338400.With a long list of famous alumni, Trinity college is no doubt one of the famous colleges. The list includes two prime ministers, Balfour and Baldwin, Isaac Newton, Pandit Nehru, literary greats, including Dryden, Byron, Tennyson and Vladimir Nabokov, William Thackeray, Lord Rutherford, Vaughan Williams, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Cambridge spies Blunt, Burgess and Philby, a trio of royals, Edward VII, George VI and Prince Charles etc. Henry VIII founded the college in 1546 and his statue is placed majestically over Trinity's Great Gate, his sceptre replaced with a chair leg by a student wit. The huge majestic Great Court lies in a vast asymmetrical expanse displaying a splendid range of Tudor buildings. The oldest among these is the fifteenth-century

Night-life Cambridge

Casablanca, is a basement venue featuring live bands and all types of funk, including Latin and jazz. Concorde is a live music venue, with an admirable booking policy featuring everyone from Bert Jansch to Sparklehorse. Also happening are club nights at the weekend and a Tuesday night comedy club.

Escape, it is Cambridge's trendiest nightclub packs them in night after night, specializing in funk and techno. Then there is The Jazz Rooms it is popular jazz venue in the basement, with the livelier Enigma upstairs catering for active ravers and fronting the occasional abstract dance troupe. Paradox. The best option after the Zap Club. Its Wild Fruits gay nights on the first Monday of the month are particularly popular. Revenge is the south's largest gay club with Monday night cabarets plus upfront dance and retro boogie on two floors. The Zap Club is the Cambridge's most durable club, right on the seafront opposite Ship Street.

City of Destinations

The main shopping street in Cambridge is the Bridge Street which becomes Sidney Street, St Andrew's Street and finally Regent Street. The procession of St John's Street, Trinity Street, King's Parade and Trumpington Street is the other main thoroughfare. This latter route along the banks of Cam led to the university being developed on the land west to it and now a series of colleges along half a mile from Magdalene to Peterhouse is formed with sundry others scattered along the periphery. South of Peterhouse, just along Trumpington Street is the Fitzwilliam Museum which has; the city's finest art collection. The chapel of King's college is the university's most celebrated attraction and covers the town in a broadly clockwise direction.

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