Dating back 1,200 years, with a host of colleges, churches and bridges to admire, Cambridge wears its history on its sleeve. Despite being a relatively small city, it can take time explore, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here are six of the best landmarks in the city you won’t want to miss.
At a glance, this small wooden bridge over the River Cam seems rather unassuming. Connecting two parts of Queens’ College, it was built by James Essex in 1749 and is so named because it forms an arch, despite being made from only straight beams. While some have said no nails or bolts were used to construct it, that’s just a myth.
You’ve heard of a sundial, but what about a moondial? Only a handful remain intact, and you can see one of them at Queens’ College. It was painted on the wall of one of the campus buildings in 1733, and to tell the time with it, you would need to make four complex mathematical equations. It’s not hard to see why it never caught on.
Pubs are not in short supply around Cambridge, but the Eagle offers something special. Opened in 1667, its proximity to the university soon made it the favoured watering-hole of many academics. In 1953, while sitting in one of the booths, James Watson and Francis Crick announced they had cracked the double helix – the structure of DNA. Visit this history-changing boozer on a day in the city. The Eagle is on Bene’t Street, just past the Grand Arcade.
You can spend hours looking at the ancient buildings lining Cambridge, but what about something more modern? Sitting on a quiet road on the east side of town is a hidden gem – a museum lined with fascinating artefacts from the age of the microchip and Cambridge alumnus Alan Turing.
Anyone who has walked past this structure in the city will surely have been left intrigued. Unveiled in 2008 by Stephen Hawking, this big clock, with a metal bug on top, is actually a mechanical marvel. The bug is the titular Chronophage, or “time-eater”.