Last Updated on
A small museum telling the history of British military intelligence from the Boer War onwards. There are additional exhibitions dedicated to BRIXMIS, an intelligence gathering mission based in the former DDR during the Cold War, and to the Intelligence Corps' work with SOE, Special Operations Executive, during WW2.
The museum is on a military base. Visitors are welcomed but need to book visits in advance and brink photo ID with them - eg UK passport or driving licence.
Cambridge developed around an Anglo-Saxon bridge, the Danes used it as a trading post and William the Conqueror built a castle there. The city’s greatest fame, however, derives from being home to Britain’s second oldest university, established sometime after 1209. The first of Cambridge’s residential colleges, Peterhouse, was established in 1284 and it is these self-governing institutions that make up the university. The entre of Cambridge is King’s Parade, where you’ll find King’s College (founded in 1441) with its breathtaking chapel and, close by, other colleges – like St John’s (1511) and Trinity (1544) – which can be visited. In parallel with King’s Street are the Backs – a stretch of riverside gardens and lawns linking several colleges. The university boasts more Nobel Prize winners than you can shake a stick at, as well as a multitude of well-known graduates including politicians, writers and entertainers.
Wander along in and out of colleges, , take a punt on the Cam, stop for a coffee, ice-cream, or a pint. For visitors, Cambridge also offers notable churches (including one of only 5 round churches in England), outstanding botanic gardens, several museums with interests ranging from archaeology, computing, earth sciences and the polar regions – though the most famous is probably the astonishing Fitzwilliam Museum, which includes world-class artwork as well as major collections from antiquity. Theatres and cinemas offer a variety of entertainment and there is a large general weekday market as well as specialist arts and crafts ones at weekends. Nearby attractions include Duxford air museum, and the Cambridge American Cemetery just outside the city is a thought-provoking place to visit.
The Cambridge American Cemetery commemorates almost 9,000 Americans who died while based in the UK, or travelling here, during the Second World War. It is the only World War II American military cemetery in the United Kingdom. The site was established as a temporary military burial ground in 1943, on land donated by the University of Cambridge, and has been granted free use in perpetuity by HM Government. It was dedicated in 1956, covers 30.5 acres and lies on a gentle slope overlooking farmland. Simple, white marble, headstones – mostly crosses – mark the resting place of 3,811 of America’s war dead - the missing are listed on large panels. There is a fascinating, and moving, visitor centre as well as an impressive memorial building.
The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1816 with the legacy of the library and art collection of Richard FitzWilliam, 7th Viscount FitzWilliam. Its collections include antiquities from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; medieval and renaissance art; English and European pottery and glass, furniture, clocks, fans, armour; Chinese, Japanese and Korean art; coins and medals; literary and music manuscripts and rare printed books; paintings, including works by Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso. The building itself is stunning too!
Great St Mary's (aka 'GSM') is a parish church and the University Church, the first home of the University in 1209. The present building dates from the 15th century. The Protestant reformer, Martin Bucer (1491-1551), preached here, was burnt nearby, and his ashes are interred in the church. Queen Elizabeth I visited the church and Stephen Hawking had his funeral service here. It is famous for its bells, which date from 1515, and its clock, installed in 1793. For a fee, visitors can climb the tower for fabulous views over the city. The picture is the view to the north, showing Gonville and Caius College in the foreground.
The Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew has its roots in Anglo-Saxon times. The first abbey was established at Peterborough (originally called Medeshamstede) in 655 AD and largely destroyed by Viking raiders in 870. In the mid 10th century a Benedictine Abbey was created from what remained. Some buildings were destroyed in Hereward the Wake's resistance to the Norman Conquest in 1069, but the church survived until an accidental fire swept through it in 1116. The present building was begun in 1118, consecrated in 1238 and the structure of the building remains essentially as it was on completion. Most significantly the original wooden ceiling survives in the nave, the only one of its type in this country and one of only four wooden ceilings of this period surviving in the whole of Europe, having been completed between 1230 and 1250. There is some fine 16th century fan vaulting at the east end of the church. Peterborough grew to be a wealthy monastic house, with 120 monks just before it was dissolved in 1539. However, the abbey church survived as Peterborough Cathedral. Parliamentary troops caused damage to glass and monuments during the Civil War. Two queens were buried in the Cathedral, Katherine of Aragon and Mary Queen of Scots: however, in 1612, James I/VI had his mother re-buried in Westminster and her grave is now empty.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain and a World Heritage Site. It was designed by Thomas Telford and carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the river Dee. The Aqueduct is 336 yards long, 42 yards high and 4 yards wide. You can walk across (the advice is not to look down), or take a boat.
Durham Cathedral's official name is 'the Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham'. It is the home of the shrine of St Cuthbert and burial place of the Venerable (aka 'Venomous') Bede. The cathedral, along with Durham Castle, occupies a rocky promontory high above the river Wear - originally an excellent defensive position, now dramatic and picturesque. It was founded in 1093 and the outstanding architectural feature (probably) are the massive, soaring, Romanesque/Norman arches in the nave. There's a wonderful simplicity about Durham Cathedral.
The Bishops of Durham - 'the Prince Bishops' used to wield temporal, as well as spiritual, power and effectively ruled the diocese for 850 years. That did not stop Oliver Cromwell using the Cathedral to hold 3,000 Scots prisoner after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650; many of them died within the Cathedral.
Durham Cathedral, along with the adjacent Castle, is a World Heritage Site.
The evocative ruins of a small Premonstratensian monastery in a picturesque location just above the River Tees. The monks that lived here were often short of money. It is a charming spot now; perhaps it was then too.
There is a small car park. It is also possible to walk from Barnard Castle.
9 foot high steel statue by Ray Lonsdale depicting a British soldier immediately after hearing the news of the Armistice at 11 o'clock on 11th November 1918. Also known as 'Tommy', the nickname for British troops everywhere since the 18th century, the town of Seaham raised the necessary money to keep him.