Cool Places - The best places to stay in the UK

The Best Places to Stay in the UK

Cambridge

Cambridge needs little introduction. Its name is a synonym worldwide for academic excellence. The 31 colleges of its university have nurtured an influence out of all proportion to its size. Yet Cambridge appeals as much to the heart as to the head. Smaller and more charming than its great rival Oxford – ‘the other place’, as it’s known in academic circles – it is a cornucopia of historical nooks, crannies and glorious vistas: soaring Gothic chapels and hushed Tudor courtyards; narrow cobbled streets full of bicycles; gowned choirs in chapels at Christmas. And, of course, it is a town where you can punt gently down the River Cam. Small wonder over four million people visit each year.

History

Never mind a tribal settlement on a ford at today’s Magdalene Bridge. Forget even the 1st century Roman garrison town or the Saxon and Norman towns that followed. What changed Cambridge from backwater to world leader was the arrival of scholars from Oxford in 1209; evicted from its university for bad behaviour, it’s claimed. The Bishop of Ely established the first college, Peterhouse, along monastic lines in 1284, and by the mid-1400s Tudor kings and aristocrats had joined in, using the town and its growing colleges as a mirror to their magnificence. Academia still rules and has helped Cambridge to establish itself as a science centre, nicknamed ‘Silicon Fen’. These days it’s one of the UK’s most booming regional centres.

Cambridge kings college monuments 532 original large

Cambridge

Go and loaf about with the students for a weekend.
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