Birdeye view of river Cam and University Library

Explorations in Syntactic Government and Subcategorisation

Wednesday 31 August 2011 - Saturday 3 September 2011
University of Cambridge, UK

Cambridge sightseeing



  • Browse through this website for an idea of what to see and do: > 'Things to See and Do'.
  • A calendar of University organised exhibitions, talks, concerts, and theatre performances - usually held in University museums, departments, or in colleges - can be found on:
  • A variety of walks and guided tours of Cambridge city centre are available, see:
    Apart from traditional guided tours, there are highly recommended self-guided 'interactive map' walks, and 'podcast/mp3 audio walks'.
  • 'Interactive map' ShapeWalks ( include the following themed tours: Historic Higlights; Tudor Cambridge; Victorian; Contemporary Architecture; Green Spaces; Clocks and Sundials. Print your map and guide booklet with detailed information about buildings off the web free of charge, and walk round Cambridge at your own pace. Don't forget to print off your selected tour before arriving in Cambridge.
  • Stride Guide Audio Walks ( include the following themed tours: Cambridge Past and Present; Buildings, Lives and Legacies (a celebration of the University from its early beginnings to the present day); 800 Years of Death and Disease (a Cambridge history of illness and its cures over the last eight centuries); Walking in Henslow's Garden (a walk round the Botanic Garden, learning about its influences on Charles Darwin). Print your map and download an audio trail as a iTunes/iPod Podcast or an MP3 file. For some audio walks, you can also print the whole text of the tour. Don't forget to print off your map or text, and download your selected tour before arriving in Cambridge.

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Don't miss

  • Climbing the tower of Great St. Mary's
    Great St. Mary's is the University Church; its tower, which was completed in 1608, provides excellent panoramic views of the city and colleges ( The chimes from this clock tower were copied for the Westminster chimes at Big Ben in London. Many of the Cambridge Protestant reformers preached in St. Mary's. Entry to the church is free; tickets for the tower are £3, there are concessions for students and senior citizens.
  • The Eagle Pub
    The Eagle (8 Bene't Street) was once the most important coaching inn in Cambridge and its history is on display throughout its five large rooms. The decor features medieval wall paintings, fireplaces and panelling from the 16th century, and the signatures of British and American World War II airmen etched into the ceiling with cigarette lighters. The Eagle has always been a popular watering hole for scientists working at the Old Cavendish laboratory nearby, and it was here, on 28 February 1953, that Francis Crick and James Watson first announced that they had 'discovered the secret of life', DNA.
  • St. Bene't's Church
    The oldest building in Cambridge, St. Bene't's (Benedict's) Church predates the Norman conquest of England in 1066, and so the church stood long before the establishment of the University. The Anglo-Saxon tower remains (dating from around 1025), the semi-ruined sides noticeably more crude than the later Norman architecture. Inside there are colourful angels on the roof beams of the north transept, but more noteworthy is an arch and pair of lions dating from around 1000. You may sometimes hear change-ringing from St. Bene't's tower (i.e. ringing a set of tuned bells in a series of mathematical patterns called 'changes').
  • Corpus Clock, or Chronophage ('time eater')
    On the corner of Trumpington Street and Bene't Street, a few steps from the Eagle Pub. Entirely mechanically controlled, with the world's largest grasshopper escapement mechanism. Designed to be accurate only every five minutes, its erratic motion reflects life's 'irregularity'. The hour is tolled by the sound of a chain clanking into a small wooden coffin hidden in the back of the clock, and below the clock is an inscription from the Vulgate 1 John 2:17: mundus transit et concupiscentia eius ('the world passeth away, and the lust thereof'). The clock was conceived and funded by John C. Taylor, an old member of Corpus Christi College. It was officially unveiled to the public on 19 September 2008 by Stephen Hawking.

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  • King's College Chapel
    King's College Chapel ( is the grandest building in Cambridge and ranks among the most important examples of late gothic (perpendicular) architecture in the world. Entry to visit the Chapel is by ticket which you can buy at The Shop at King's, opposite the entrance of the College on King's Parade, or at the North Gate of the Chapel (£5/person, £3.50 concessions). Please note that the Chapel is occasionally closed to the public because of recordings, concerts and private ceremonies (you can check the dates with amended opening times online). You do not have to buy a ticket if you come to the Chapel to attend a religious service.
  • Wren Library, Trinity College
    The Wren Library was completed in 1695 to the design of Sir Christopher Wren, and it also features stunning limewood carvings by Grinling Gibbons and marble busts by Roubiliac. Today it contains the manuscripts and printed books which were in the college library by 1820, together with various special collections given to the college during the last 190 years. Among the special collections housed in the Wren are 1250 medieval manuscripts (including an 8th century copy of the Epistles of St. Paul); the Capell collection of early Shakespeare editions; many books from Sir Isaac Newton's own library (including a first edition copy of Principia Mathematica with Newton's handwritten notes for the second edition); the Rothschild collection of 18th century English literature; and A.A. Milne's manuscripts of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. Several of these treasures are on display in the Wren Library.
    The Wren Library is open to the public and free to enter, but please note that the opening times are very limited (from 12 midday to 2pm weekdays only).
  • Bridge of Sighs, St. John's College
    If you don't get to St. John's College with a guided tour, you may choose to drop in especially (tourist admission charge is £3.20); it is next door to Trinity College. St. John's was founded in 1511 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII; it is the second largest Cambridge college, and its Bridge of Sighs, a single-span bridge of stone with a highly decorative Neo-Gothic footbridge covered with traceried openings, is of the most photographed buildings in Cambridge. You can catch a glimpse of the Bridge of Sighs from Trinity College when you visit the Wren Library at Trinity (see above); while walking up the stairs in a splendid staircase leading up to the Wren Library, do not forget to look through the window.
  • Darwin's Rooms, Christ's College
    Darwin's Rooms and Garden are open to the public Tue-Sun 10-12 and 14-16 (admission charge £2.50). Members of the public can also go on a Darwin Walk through the college and see the Darwin Portico, Sun-Sat, from 9:30 am, i.e. at any time when the college is open to visitors (£1).

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The University has a number of world-class museums which can be visited free of charge. All of them are within comfortable walking distance of the city centre. Please see the University webpages for detailed information.
Overview, visitor information, and maps:

A list of University museums (with links to their individual webpages):

  • Fitzwilliam Museum
    World-class collections of works of art and antiquities. Paintings include masterpieces by Veneziano, Titian, Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso, and a fine collection of 20th century art.
  • Kettle's Yard
    A beautiful and unique house which belonged to H.S. 'Jim' Ede, a curator at the Tate Gallery in London in the 1920-30s, and an adjacent gallery of modern art. The house, with a remarkable collection of early 20th century art, is particularly worth a visit, but please note the limited opening times. It was envisaged by Jim Ede as a place where visitors would 'find a home and a welcome, a refuge of peace and order, of the visual arts and of music.'
  • Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
    [Local, national and world archaeology including Captain Cook's collection and a 14-metre-high totem pole.] Unfortunately, this museum is currently closed for redevelopment.
  • Museum of Zoology
    A huge variety of recent and fossil animals, intricately beautiful shells, a comprehensive collection of British birds, and many large skeletons of mammals.
  • Museum of Classical Archaeology
    One of the largest collections of plaster casts of Greek and Roman statues.
  • Whipple Museum of the History of Science
    An internationally important collection of scientific instruments and models dating from the Middle Ages to the present.
  • The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
    500 million years of the history of life on Earth. Superb exhibits and presentation. Includes items collected by Darwin on his Beagle voyage; a spectacular mineral gallery; a piece of Apollo's heat shield.
  • Scott Polar Research Institute
    Holds a unique collection of artifacts, journals, paintings, photographs, clothing equipment, maps, and other materials illustrating polar exploration and polar science.
  • The University Library
    One of the greatest collections of books and manuscripts in the world. Check the Cambridge University Library Exhibitions webpage for details of the current exhibition held at the Library.

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  • A shorter walk: along the college 'Backs', i.e. behind the main line of colleges, on the west side of the River Cam. Each college owns its own part of the river banks, so it is not possible to walk immediately by the river, but you can walk along Queen's Road (there is a nice path beside the road for most of the way), catching sights of the colleges through the trees, in particular the picture-perfect sight of King's College Chapel. The Backs can be reached by three public bridges: Silver Street Bridge (from which you can see another bridge: the famous Mathematical Bridge at Queens' College), Garret Hostel Bridge, and Magdalene Bridge.
  • A longer walk: from Quayside by Magdalene Bridge, along the southern bank of the river, via Jesus Green (a large area with excellent grass to sit on, perfect for an outdoor lunch or picnic), to Midsummer Common, and if you wish even further to Stourbridge Common and Fen Ditton. A very relaxing walk away from the noise of the city.
  • A longer walk: to the village of Granchester south-west of Cambridge, across fields and meadows along the river Cam. About 3 miles (up to 1 hour walking) each way. The destination in Grantchester: The Orchard Tea Gardens (, 'a corner of England where time stands still as the outside world rushes by, (...) where more famous people have taken tea than anywhere else in the world.' The famous Grantchester Group of friends who frequented The Orchard from 1909 until 1914 included Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, E.M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, and Augustus John. In The Orchard, you can take refreshments of our choice, for example cream tea, i.e. freshly made scones served with jam and clotted cream, and a pot of tea, or light lunch. One of The Orchard buildings houses a small museum dedicated to Rupert Brooke, and you can also make a short excursion to the village church across the road (dating from the 14-15th century). Nearby there is Byron's Pool where Lord Byron used to swim whilst a student at Cambridge, and where allegedly on one occasion Brooke and Virginia Woolf swam naked by moonlight.
  • A walk in the University Botanic Garden, a heritage Garden showcasing some 8000 plant species. 40 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens including a Rock Garden, Woodland Garden, Water Garden, Winter Garden and Glasshouses full of seasonal plants. Note the opening times (10am - 6pm; the Glasshouses close 5:30pm) and an admission charge (£4 adult; £3.50 student). Stride Guide Audio Walks ( have a themed tour of the Botanic Garden: 'Walking in Henslow's Garden' (a walk round the Botanic Garden, learning about its influences on Charles Darwin). You can print your map and download an audio trail as a iTunes/iPod Podcast or an MP3 file (don't forget to do it before arriving in Cambridge).

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  • In the summer, there are likely to be dozens of interesting concerts in various locations in the city (including various college chapels). To find out about them, read posters attached to the railings in numerous places in the city centre, visit the Tourist Information Office in Bene't Street/Wheeler Street, or the City Centre Box Office next door to the Tourist Informaton Centre, or check the online 'Concert Diary' ( For many smaller concerts advertised locally via posters and leaflets, you don't need to pre-book, but it's usually sufficient to just turn up.

Shakespeare in the college gardens

  • This is a great Cambridge experience. The festival usually runs from mid-July until the end of August. All performances begin at 7:30 pm (except for special charity performances which begin at 2:30 pm). Tickets can always be bought on the door. Or you can buy them from the City Centre Box Office (next door to the Tourist Information Office), +44 (0)1223 357851. Or check and pre-book online via the website of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival:

Arts Picturehouse

  • At the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, opposite Emmanuel College, you can see a wide range of independent and classic films in luxurious yet historic surroundings. The cinema was built in 1937 and many of the original features remain including an art deco cafe bar for a pre or post-film drinks. Check what's on:

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Around Cambridge

Cambridge is surrounded by gorgeous countryside, with quaint villages, impressive country houses, and other places of historic interest to explore. Below are some ideas of excursions around Cambridge.

A day trip to Ely

  • The historic town of Ely is 15 miles north-east of Cambridge (15 minutes by rail).
    Online timetable and fare calculator:
    A (day) return ticket is always less expensive than two single rail tickets.
    A 'GroupSave' rail ticket is available, where 3 or 4 adults travel for the price of 2 adults on various off-peak ticket types. The group must travel together.
  • Once you get to Ely, everything is within reasonable walking distance.
  • Things to see in Ely: a magnificent Norman cathedral ('the Ship of the Fens') with an impressive octagonal tower held up by eight 64ft oak trunks, and a famous Lady Chapel; lots of historic buildings in town including a Bishop's Palace adjacent to the Cathedral, and Oliver Cromwell's house within 3 minutes' walk of the Cathedral (both open to visitors); a yacht harbour on the river Ouse.
  • Links to more information:
    Ely tourist information:
    N.B. Oliver Cromwell's house doubles as Ely Tourist Information Centre. Due to pre-booked group visits, admissions to the house may sometimes be limited, so please check this with them beforehand (by phone, or by dropping in first thing after arriving in Ely).
    Ely Cathedral:
  • Have cream tea, lunch, or dinner at the Old Fire Engine House opposite Oliver Cromwell's house, a traditional English restaurant and art gallery. Check their opening times on the web ( and book a table to avoid disappointment. If the weather is good, I recommend sitting outside in the garden; there used to be a swing there, which was an additional attraction.
  • Visit the Waterside Antique Centre ( at The Wharf, open until 5:30 pm on Saturdays. It's one of the largest antiques centres in East Anglia for antiques and collectables, including various household items, crockery, tools, jewellery, furniture, books, etc. The centre itself is located in a historic building, three floors high, with exposed beams and brickwork, and overlooking the Quayside.

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A day trip to Wimpole Hall

  • The 2500 acre Wimpole Estate (, with a historic 18th century house, landscaped park, gardens, and home farm, is situated around 11 miles south-west of Cambridge.
    Directions by bus can be found on the Wimpole website, click on 'Visiting Wimpole' > 'Location'. Please check with the bus company beforehand to confirm the bus timetable.
  • Alternatively, rent a bike and cycle to Wimpole. The ride will probably take you around one hour if you take a direct route. However, you may choose to take a longer route and go via picturesque villages of Barton, Comberton, Toft and Bourn. If you arrive at Wimpole on a bike and can prove it, you can have £1 deducted from your entrance ticket.
  • Take a picnic with you, or have a refreshment or meal at Wimpole. The Old Rectory Restaurant has an outdoor terrace overlooking the Old Rectory's beautiful gardens. The Stable Kitchen serves a selection of light refreshments and ice creams. The Farm Kitchen serves a selection of meals and light refreshments and also has outdoor seating.

A day trip to Audley End

  • Audley End is an elegant Jacobean mansion built in 1603, set in parkland designed by 'Capability' Brown. It is an 'English Heritage' site. Visitors today can browse the various collections of previous owners of the house, including an extensive picture collection, a natural history collection and a rare set of English tapestries. Detailed information about the house, gardens, all facilities, and tickets:
  • Audley End is situated 15 miles south of Cambridge (15-20 minutes by rail).
    Online timetable and fare calculator:
    A (day) return ticket is always less expensive than two single rail tickets.
    A 'GroupSave' rail ticket is available, where 3 or 4 adults travel for the price of 2 adults on various off-peak ticket types. The group must travel together.
  • Note that Audley End House is 1 1/4 miles from Audley End railway station, and the footpath is beside a busy main road.

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A day trip to Duxford

  • The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is Europe's premier aviation museum, as well as having one of the finest collections of tanks, military vehicles and naval exhibits in the country. Detailed information:
  • Duxford is located around 9 miles south of Cambridge. Between Monday and Saturday a scheduled Stagecoach C7 service operates from Bus Stop B in Emmanuel Street, via Cambridge Rail Station, departing at 30 minute intervals from 8:55 am and then throughout the day. The return times from Imperial War Museum Duxford are on the hour and half past the hour. The last departure is at 5:30 pm. Visitors using the C7 service receive a reduced rate of admission upon producing their bus ticket (except on Special Event days).

Other options

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  • Travel by rail from Cambridge to London King's Cross (around 50 minutes).
    Online timetable and fare calculator:
    A (day) return ticket is always less expensive than two single rail tickets.
    A combined 'rail + London travelcard' ticket is usually less expensive than a Cambridge-London rail ticket plus a separate London one-day travelcard.
    A 'GroupSave' rail ticket is available, where 3 or 4 adults travel for the price of 2 adults on various off-peak ticket types. The group must travel together.
  • Or travel by coach (bus) from Cambridge to London Victoria Coach Station (around 2 hours 15 minutes, but may be less expensive than rail).
    Online timetable and fare calculator:
  • Pick up a leaflet with '2 for 1 London attractions' vouchers at the Cambridge railway station or bus station.
  • Browse through this online London guide: to find information about things you may want to see and do in London, including landmarks and attractions, museums, theatres, and shopping.

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This page created 30 December 2010
This page last updated 8 June 2011
Maintained by Anna Kibort
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