Cambridge, the county town of Cambridgeshire, is a university city famous for its academic institutions. The city is about 90 kilometres from London and close to River Cam. With its historical buildings and ancient architecture, Cambridge is a favourite spot for travellers hoping to learn the history of the UK. The city is surrounded by old buildings, museums and churches built in different historical periods. Aside from the historical structures and academic institutions, Cambridge offers botanical gardens hosting diverse plant species. Despite the medieval character and ancient architecture, Cambridge is a modern city that hosts cultural events and world-class film festivals.
The History of Cambridge
During the Bronze and Iron Ages, settlements covered the land that Cambridge currently sits on until the Romans built a fort on Castle Hill in the 1st century. As the Roman empire declined in the 5th century, the fort was abandoned. Cambridge city was founded in 875 when Vikings took over Eastern England, creating a fortified town called Burgh. Saxons captured the fortified city in the 10th century. In 1068, William Normandy built Castle Hill, rebuilding Cambridge into a medium-sized town. The first university, Cambridge University, was founded in 1209 by students avoiding townspeople’s hostility in Oxford. By the 13th century, Medieval Cambridge had a weekly market and a fair.
Cambridge also played a part in the English Civil War since it was the Eastern Counties Association’s headquarters, administering the regional East Anglican Army. In the 19th century, Cambridge expanded rapidly due to the increased agricultural production and trade in the town markets. Cambridge was also an important centre for defence on the East Coast during the Second World War.
Historically Significant Sites in Cambridge
Cambridge University is one of the oldest surviving universities and the second-oldest in the English-speaking world. Modern Cambridge is considered an authentic university town in England, with the college and university buildings providing outstanding architectural features.
King’s College Chapel
King’s College Chapel in Cambridge is another historically significant facility. The chapel is at the University of Cambridge, and travellers often visit the place to see the English Gothic architecture and learn its history. King’s College Chapel was built from 1446 to 1515 by a succession of kings of England. The chapel is a significant landmark and a symbol of the city of Cambridge.
Our Lady of the Assumption
Visitors can also visit Our Lady of the Assumption Church and the English Martyrs at the junction of Lensfield Road and Hills Road in southeast Cambridge. It’s one of the largest Catholic churches in the UK, designed in a gothic revival style built in 1885 and 1890.
Great St Mary’s
Great St Mary’s, the University Church, is another church in Cambridge on the north end of King’s Parade that attracts travellers due to its architecture.
The Round Church
The Round Church is a medieval church still in use in England. Its shape is inspired by the rotunda and the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Important Sites to Visit in Cambridge
Queen’s College and the Mathematical Bridge
Cambridge has a significant number of preserved historic buildings in England. The architectural splendour revolves around the 31 colleges and universities with a rich tradition. One of the colleges is Queen’s College, and the Mathematical Bridge was founded in 1448. The college has medieval buildings with ancient architecture for travellers to marvel at the sights. The other site to visit in the college includes a wooden Mathematical Bridge. Its reconstruction in 1902 led to college gardens.
Cambridge University Botanic Garden
The Cambridge University Botanic garden was established in 1831 and featured a collection of 8,000 plants. Visitors tour the place to stroll through the glasshouses and trails. The botanic garden covers over 40 acres and provides guided tours for travellers. At the edge of the garden, visitors can visit the Botanic Garden Shop and Garden café.
The Fitzwilliam Museum features impressive architecture and contains a Chinese and English pottery collection. Travellers can explore antiquities and illuminated manuscripts from Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures. The gallery also features a collection of artwork from Gainsborough, Hogarth and Turner, and the Dutch Masters of the Baroque and Impressionists. The museum sits on Trumpington Street.
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology was developed by Cambridge University in 1884 and held a collection of artefacts and prehistoric materials. The collections featured are from across the globe, including classical and visual arts from Africa and the Orient. Visitors can see the Pacific Collection from Cook’s exploration and other research projects by notable British anthropologists.
The New UK ETA for Cambridge
To tighten border controls, the United Kingdom’s government will launch an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system for registering the number of persons entering or leaving the country. The new digital system will determine whether a person is allowed to enter United Kingdom’s territory. The ETA system will allow the UK government to count travellers and control the entrance of people who don’t meet the ETA eligibility requirements for entering the countries. It also makes it easier for authorities to identify potential threats at the border. The digital system will be rolled out in phases and will be fully digital by 2025.
The new ETA system will be required of every traveller entering the UK, apart from British and Ireland citizens. Visitors planning to visit Cambridge require an ETA before they visit to avoid delays at the border.
How the New UK ETA System Helps Travellers
The UK ETA for Cambridge is part of the Permission to Travel Scheme that will be used to monitor visa-exempt travellers as they enter and leave the UK. Acquiring an ETA is not the same as getting a visa since it operates like the ESTA from the USA. It simply grants digital travel authorisation to visa-exempt visitors entering the UK. Hence, it only permits travelling to the United Kingdom for short-term visits. Travellers from non-visa-exempt countries still require a visa to visit the UK.
Since it permits travelling across the country, it is ideal for travellers visiting the UK for a short time. For instance, visitors attending a short-term study or travelling for business or pleasure can rely on the ETA to cross the border.
Who Needs to Apply for the UK ETA for Cambridge
The United Kingdom permits citizens of various countries to enter and leave the country using their passports due to visa agreements with the countries. The downside to the arrangement is the lack of prior records of the travellers crossing into the country since they don’t require an advance visa. The introduction of the UK ETA for Cambridge allows the UK’s government to monitor activities on the borders.
Non-British and non-Irish citizens who are visa-exempt nationals will need the UK ETA to transit or visit the UK. Citizens from countries in the European Economic Area will also require an ETA to travel to the UK. However, the new UK ETA doesn’t apply to travellers who have obtained a visa to travel to the country, visa nationals, as they are already registered in the system.
Exemptions for the UK ETA apply to travellers with UK or Irish passports, as well as individuals holding migration permissions within the UK. For instance, holders of a student, skilled worker, global business mobility visa and EU settlement scheme don’t need to apply for an ETA.
How to Apply for the UK ETA for Cambridge
The ETA system is an online document that works like a visa. The application process takes a few minutes, and travellers can complete the process online and wait for an approval email. To apply for a UK ETA for Cambridge, a traveller requires a valid biometric passport, including a scanned copy of the information page. An active email address is required for sending the ETA after approval, while a debit/credit card is needed to pay the ETA fees. After the ETA application, processing takes between 48 and 72 hours, and visitors can receive an approval or rejection email within the time frame.
How to Use the UK ETA
The ETA is attached to the passport number, so it works like a visa. When the visitor reaches the border, the passport is scanned, and the ETA information will be available to the authorities. Once the ETA is approved, it can be used in any part of the country. Travellers planning to stay longer than 180 days require a visa. Check the UK ETA FAQ for more details.
Cambridge is rich in history, culture and attractions. The mediaeval buildings and ancient architecture attract many visitors. The museum and art scene preserve the city’s history and is suitable for those interested in exploring and learning about England’s history. The green spaces and modern art scenes serve as great outdoor activities for travellers.