Cambridge University is the second oldest university in England, and shares with Oxford University an unrivalled reputation for excellence and tradition.
Founded in the 13th century by scholars from universities in Oxford and Paris, its distinguished alumni include Sir Isaac Newton, John Milton and Stephen Hawking. The university's various colleges, many of them architectural masterpieces, are scattered throughout the city.
St John's College was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, in 1511 and contains the New Bridge, often referred to as Cambridge's Bridge of Sighs. Kings College is perhaps the most famous of all the colleges due to its magnificent chapel, built between 1446 and 1515; the choir's Christmas Eve service of nine lessons and carols is internationally renowned, and constitutes an integral part of the festive season in Britain. Trinity College is perhaps the most interesting college, with its magnificent front entrance, rooms used by Isaac Newton, a quad immortalized by the race around it in the film Chariots of Fire, and the famous Wren Library with 1,250 medieval manuscripts, early Shakespeare editions, many books from Sir Isaac Newton's own library and A A Milne's manuscripts of Winnie-the-Pooh
Other highlights include the chapel at Pembroke College, the medieval court at Corpus Christi College, and on the corner of Kings Parade, next to the college, the amazing Corpus Clock, built in 2009.
Many of the university colleges are partially open to visitors at certain times. A board at the entrance lists opening times, otherwise ask at the tourist office.