Cambridge: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Cambridge.

  • Cambridge is the county town of Cambridgeshire, located in the eastern part of England.

  • The city is about 80 km northeast of London and has a population of about 125,000.
  • The city is home to the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s top universities. The university consists of over 30 separate colleges, and over 100 academic departments.
  • Cambridge University was founded in the early 13th century, making it the 4th oldest in the world. In 1233, Pope Gregory IX gave permission for the students to teach anywhere in the known world.
  • Peterhouse, founded in 1284, is the oldest college still in existence. It still carries on many traditions, including the reading of Latin verses before meals, and requires students to wear gowns at mealtimes.
  • Hundreds of famous people have studied at the university over the years. Well-known alumni include Charles Darwin, John Cleese, Christopher Marlowe and 15 British Prime Ministers.
  • About 25 percent of Cambridge residents cycle to work, the highest number in the UK.
  • In 2014, the third stage of the Tour de France cycle race started in the city.
  • All the staircases in Trinity College are designated by letters rather than numbers. There is no ‘J’ staircase because St. John’s is considered to be their main rival.
  • The chapel at King’s College is one of the city’s best known buildings. The 15th century building has 26 large stained glass windows and the world’s largest fan-vault ceiling.
  • Punting is popular on the River Cam and there are more punts than on any other UK river. It has been known for students to grab the poles from tourists in punts as they go under the bridges.
  • The rock group Pink Floyd was formed in Cambridge during the late 1960s.
  • The city hosts several arts and music festivals each year, including the Midsummer Fair, dating back to 1211.