5 Things Cambridge is Famous For

The city of Cambridge is steeped in history and has everything from beautiful architecture to plenty of culture and sports. Although perhaps best known as a student city, with more than 29,000 students, there’s a lot more to see and do if you’re thinking about visiting. The Cambridgeshire city is an excellent place for a “staycation” if you’re already in the UK, or one of the must-visit places if you’re visiting England. With a train station that connects Cambridge to London in under an hour, it’s fantastic for a day trip or a longer visit.

Cambridge is famous for several different things. Before you visit, take a look at these locations, attractions, and activities that might interest you.

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1. Cambridge University

The University of Cambridge is undoubtedly the most famous thing about Cambridge. First established in 1209, it is, along with Oxford University, considered one of the two best universities in the country. The university is made up of a number of different colleges, which essentially operate as different entities. You can see many of the university’s buildings around the city, and they are evident in its skyline. Due to the prominence of the university, it has given rise to a variety of other notable things in Cambridge, from arts and culture to science and technology.

The University of Cambridge has produced many scholars, entertainers, and other famous alumni. They include Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, John Maynard Keynes, Zadie Smith, Emma Thompson, and many more in various fields.


King's College Chapel, Cambridge UK
King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, UK

2. King’s College Chapel

One part of the university that is particularly popular is the chapel at King’s College. The building is considered to be one of the finest examples of Perpendicular Gothic English architecture. Construction first began in 1446, but it took many years for the whole chapel to be completed. For example, the stained glass windows were not finished until 1531. Still active as a house of worship, the chapel is well worth a visit, whether you want to look around or attend a service. Tickets are available to buy online, and guided tours are given by certified Cambridge guides.

King’s College Chapel is also home to the King’s College Choir, who sing at the daily chapel services.


Cambridge River Cam
River Cam and Trinity Bridge in Cambridge, UK.

3. Punting and Rowing

Cambridge lies on the River Cam, which makes it an excellent place for watersports of varying types. The Cambridge University Boat Club uses the river to practice rowing – and has won their annual race against Oxford University Boat Club 44 times to their 30. However, visitors to Cambridge might be more likely to go punting on the river instead. Traditional punts are available for shared and private tours, offering a great way to see the city, including the riverside colleges. Passengers can simply sit back while someone else does all the work.

Other ways to tour the river are available too. These include larger riverboats for a mini cruise, narrowboats, and even canoe rental. Choose your preferred method for floating down the river.


Charles Darwin

4. Scientific Discoveries

Cambridge is an excellent place to visit if you like science and technology. The university has produced plenty of notable scientists but has also been the site of important research and scientific discoveries and developments. Some notable scientists who attended Cambridge include Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Ernest Rutherford, and more. In terms of the science that has emerged from Cambridge, the university and its alumni can take credit for such things as IVF, artificial intelligence, stem cell research, and some of the first successful organ transplants.

To find out some more about Cambridge’s connection to science and technology, visitors should consider a trip to the Cambridge Museum of Technology and the Whipple Museum of the History of Science.


Football - Oxford-Cambridg. Date: 1908
Football – Oxford-Cambridge. Date: 1908

5. Football

Football fans everywhere can thank Cambridge for the format of the game today. The first set of rules for modern football were written down in Cambridge. Members of the university put them together in 1848, and the game was first played with Cambridge Rules on Parker’s Piece, a green common near the centre of the city. Cambridge United FC is based in the city for those who might want to watch a match when they’re visiting. However, Cambridge City FC is now located outside of the city.

Cambridge has a lot to offer anyone who wants to visit. You can discover the city’s rich history, from its scholars to its sports. The city is sure to continue to mark its place in the history books too.


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