Things to do in Cambridge

Unveiling the Past: Historic Places in Cambridge

King's College Cambridge . Historic Sights in Cambridge

Unveiling the Past: Historic Places in Cambridge

If you’re heading to the renowned city of Cambridge, we’ve got some incredible must-see historical spots for you! Here are our top 11 historic locations in Cambridge, guaranteed to leave you in awe. Read on to join us on this journey.

  University of Cambridge

How can one begin talking about historic places in Cambridge without starting with the University? Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. Walking through the corridors of this majestic institute feels like stepping into another time. The University’s incredible 31 colleges, each with its own rich history, offer visitors a plethora of architectural splendours from Trinity Hall Gates to the beautiful buildings and gardens at Christ’s College.

 King’s College Chapel

A shining example of English Gothic architecture, the King’s College Chapel stands tall since the 15th Century. Famous for its captivating fan vault, vibrant stained-glass windows, and the historic tradition of ‘A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’ every Christmas Eve, this chapel is an unforgettable Cambridge hallmark. Don’t forget to check out the stunning Adoration of the Magi by Rubens hanging above the altar.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Here’s something for nature lovers – this beautiful 40-acre botanic garden, a haven established way back in 1762, houses over 8000 plant species from all around the world. While enjoying a serene stroll amidst the foliage, remember that Charles Darwin himself used to wander here. This historic garden was and continues to be a centre of plant research and exploration. Explore the different areas within the garden as well as the Glasshouse.

The Fitzwilliam Museum

When you’re a bit exhausted by architectural marvels, step into the Fitzwilliam Museum, which houses a collection of over half a million artworks. Established in 1816, the museum is a spectacular fusion of classic and modern, home to a stunning array of artefacts and masterpieces from across the centuries. You can spend hours lost in the time and history from Medieval and Renaissance Art to Italian Pottery, this treasure trove of a museum is a must.

The Round Church

Cambridge houses one of the only four round churches in England. Built in 1130 by the Fraternity of the Holy Sepulchre, The Round Church is steeped in rich history. Its round design, based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, is a tangible link to the historical connection between Cambridge and the wider world.

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial

For a more sombre slice of history, visit the Cambridge American Cemetery. It serves as the final resting place for over 3,000 soldiers lost during World War II, offering a stark reminder of the tragedies of war. Its beautifully maintained grounds and respectful atmosphere make it a profound experience.

Leper Chapel

Nestled to the East of the city centre, the historical Leper Chapel holds significant value in England’s rich heritage. As one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge, it’s steeped in intriguing tales, initially built as a chapel for a leper hospital in 1125. Even though the leprosy hospital no longer exists, the charming Norman architecture of the chapel itself continues to thrive.

Incredibly, it’s also still in use today for services and special events, creating a magical amalgamation of old and new in one location. Don’t miss the annual Stourbridge fair which started over 800 years ago, for a historical experience.

Kettle’s Yard

Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge is not just a typical art gallery but a unique landmark. This stunning space dates back to 1957 when it was the residence of H.S. ‘Jim’ Ede, a former curator of the Tate Gallery, and his wife Helen. Its founders believed in art’s ability to transform lives and they invited students to their house every afternoon to see their vast art collection, promoting an open dialogue on the appreciation of art.

This vision is still the same today as it is home to a variety of modern and contemporary exhibitions.

Mathematical Bridge

The Mathematical Bridge, one of Cambridge’s iconic landmarks, has an intriguing history with tales of ingenious engineering and student pranks. Officially known as the Wooden Bridge, it was originally designed and built in 1749 by William Etheridge and later rebuilt in 1866 and 1905. Despite the popular legend claiming that the bridge was initially constructed without the use of any nails or bolts by Sir Isaac Newton, it’s a myth, as Newton died 22 years before the bridge was even built. Today, this photogenic structure continues to draw inquisitive visitors and is a popular view spot.

St Bene’t’s Church

St Bene’t’s Church is reputed as the oldest standing building in the city. Steeped in historical significance, its construction dates to over a thousand years. Archaeological investigations have unearthed that the Anglo-Saxon tower, its defining feature, was built in the late 10th or early 11th century, making it older than Cambridge University.

Throughout its existence, the church has undergone a series of changes; the 13th century saw the expansion of its aisles and the addition of the south door, while in the 14th century, the church was endowed with new windows. Despite the various modifications, St Benet’s Church retains the essence of its Anglo-Saxon architecture and provides a snapshot into England’s religious history.

If you are looking to go further afield….

Oliver Cromwell’s House

Nestled within the historic city of Ely in Cambridgeshire lies a house filled with a fascinating past – Oliver Cromwell’s House. Serving as the family residence to Cromwell, one of the most divisive figures in British history, from 1636 until 1647, this timber-framed house provides a unique insight into 17th-century living. Much of its architecture has been well preserved, granting visitors the chance to step back into the past and experience the daily life of Cromwell’s family, with each room furnished according to the period.

Aside from its rich history, it currently stands as Ely’s Tourist Information Centre, housing an exhibition about the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell’s role within it. It truly is a priceless piece of England’s intriguing past.

Every cobblestone street and ivy-laced college of Cambridge has a story to tell, waiting to pull you back in time and gift you a fresh perspective. Pack your camera, comfortable shoes, and sense of wonder as you set off to discover these enchanting locations.

If you are visiting Cambridge for a show or an event, then why not make it into a city break and explore what the city of Cambridge has to offer?

Our Cambridge B&B rooms are simple and affordable, and many have an en-suite bathroom. As a guest of the College, you are welcome to explore the beautiful grounds which are steeped in history and are home to Milton’s Mulberry Tree and Darwin’s Garden.

Our dedicated team of staff recently won a Visit England 4 Star Campus Award, as well Gold Bid Award for Best Overall Customer Experience 2022, so you can be sure of a warm welcome.

To find out more about the Bed and Breakfast accommodation we offer visit

Book directly with us and you will receive 10 percent off our publicised rates. Just use the code REVIEW10. We can’t wait to welcome you.


Other things to do in Cambridge

Cambridge Market

Discover Cambridge Market

Cambridge Market Welcome to the Cambridge Market, a place where tradition and local charm intertwines with global influences. The History of Cambridge Market The market

Read More