On my way to Morocco, I had a one day layover in London-Stansted airport. My flight didn’t leave until the next morning so I had some time to kill. Rather than travel all the way into London for only a few hours, I opted to go a little farther north to Cambridge. It was the right decision. Getting to Cambridge from Stansted Airport is very easy since there is a train station in the airport. The train ride was around thirty or forty minutes and only cost 15 GBP round trip. Cambridge Station is near the center of the city, so everything is very easily walkable once you arrive.
Cambridge is an absolutely beautiful city with lots of great restaurants and places to shop. It has that old-world English feel, and you can get lost for hours walking the streets and admiring the architecture. Don’t be surprised to see older gentlemen walking around in brown three-piece suits, smoking a pipe. It doesn’t get much more English than that.
Cambridge University is made up of 31 colleges, each with their own distinct buildings and areas of academic expertise. Collectively, the colleges have produced some of the greatest minds in the world, and their alumni rosters read like a who’s who in the arts and sciences. Some notable alumni include: Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Jane Goodall, Douglas Adams, Prince Charles, John Cleese…and the list goes on. I had just watched The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game on the flight over, so it was great to see some of those stories come to life.
One of the can’t miss attractions in Cambridge is the King’s College Chapel. The chapel was started in 1446 by King Henry VI, but it wasn’t fully completed until 1515. That time period was very interesting in English history, highlighted by the War of the Roses and lots of volatility in the throne.
The inside of the King’s College Chapel is incredible. Beautiful vaulted ceilings tower over you, and stained glass windows line the walls. The architecture around the rest of King’s College is also very impressive. Just don’t step on the grass! That is a privilege reserved for senior members of the university.