The Local Area around ILC Cambridge

ILC Cambridge is right in the heart of the historic city of Cambridge, so our ‘local area’ is pretty impressive. Our building is attached to the Cambridge Union, the home of the university’s debating society, and that has been on this site since 1866. The Union regularly sees well-known people come to talk everyone from Winston Churchill to Bill Gates has passed through the doors, and last year we had a visit from Hollywood actor Robert De Niro.

Walk about another 10 metres further on and you come to the ‘Round Church’, a church that is … round. Actually, it’s the second oldest building in Cambridge (built around 1130) and one of only four medieval round churches still in use in England today. You get the idea –Cambridge is full of some very old stuff!

The Round Church is on BridgeStreet, so-called because it leads north to Magdalene Bridge and over the RiverCam. Stand on the bridge here and you’ll see lots of people enjoying punting –a ‘punt’ is a long narrow boat that you push along with a long pole. This is a traditional, fun and relaxing way to travel along the river and see some of the famous sights. You can have a chauffeur to do the hard work for you or have a go yourself (definitely fun but probably a bit less relaxing).

Walk south down Bridge Street and turn right into Trinity Street. Here you will see the Cambridge colleges that are famous all over the world, not least because they have been home to an incredible 110 winners of the Nobel Prize. The first college you come to on the corner is St John’s College(nine Nobel Prize winners) and, carrying on into King’s Parade, you will reach Great St Mary’s Church on the left. You can walk to the top of the tower here and take in an amazing view of the whole city and into the countryside beyond.  Opposite Great St Mary’s you will find King’sCollege – probably the most famous of the Cambridge colleges (but only five Nobel Prize winners, so it has some room for improvement).

If you continue down Trumpington Street you will come to the Fitzwilliam Museum, which houses an amazing collection of art and objects from all over the world. Having a museum of this size and that’s free to enter is a real treat in a relatively small city like Cambridge. You probably won’t be able to visit them all in a day but there are more fantastic museums (again, completely free to enter) along Downing Street,just round the corner from the Fitzwilliam. These include the Zoology Museum and the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum.

If you go back to King’s Parade and turn right into Bene’t Street you will see on your left the Eagle pub, where Francis Crick announced his discovery of DNA (history tells us that RosalindFranklin should have taken credit too but let’s not go into that now). If you’ve had enough of all this history though and prefer a bit of shopping you can continue to the Grand Arcade, a large shopping centre home to a wide range of famous brands. It was opened in 2008 – see, not everything in Cambridge is old - and is a great space to be in.  Cambridge is also home to a variety of independent shops, so take time to look around this area further if you’re looking to buy something a bit different, whether it’s clothes, books or art.

Being in such a central location makes our school a fantastic base to go out and explore some of the best history, culture and entertainment the UK has to offer – I didn’t even mention the restaurants, bars, theatres, concert halls….