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East of England
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.
Woburn Abbey is one of the great treasure houses of Britain. It began life as a Cistercian abbey. The estate was given to John Russell, later Earl of Bedford, by Edward VI in 1547 and his ancestors became the Dukes of Bedford. Woburn Abbey is still the home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, but has been open to the public since 1955. The Palladian mansion contains a world-famous art collection, including works by Canaletto, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Hogarth, Lely, Rembrandt, Tintoretto and Van Dyck, as well as collections of porcelain and silver. The estate also includes gardens, a deer park and the Woburn Safari Park.
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.
Christ's College was first established as God's House in 1437 by William Byngham, a London parish priest, for training grammar school masters. However, its site was needed for King’s College, so it had to move to its present location in 1448. Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, decided to enlarge God's House and in 1505 the College was re-founded as Christ's College. Lady Margaret has been honoured ever since as the Foundress. You can spot her coat of arms on the gatehouse and as pictured. Christ's became one of the leading Puritan colleges of Elizabethan Cambridge. In 1625 it admitted the young John Milton. The Garden still boasts what is known as 'Milton's Mulberry Tree'. Charles Darwin is another famous old boy. Further noted alumni include JH Plumb, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Simon Schama, Roy Porter, Colin Dexter, CP Snow, Rowan Williams and Sacha Baron Cohen.
IWM Duxford is a historic RAF airfield also used by the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. It houses the Imperial War Museum's huge collection of historic aircraft and other large vehicles like tanks. Permanent exhibitions include the American Air Museum, Battle of Britain, Land Warfare and Historic Duxford (many of the buildings are original). You can get up close and personal with some of the most famous aircraft ever, including the Spitfire, Lancaster, Concorde and Vulcan. It's probably the best aviation collection and museum in the country, and enormous, so allow enough time. Air Shows are a regular feature and Duxford is also home to the Airborne Assault and Royal Anglian Museums.
Ely Cathedral was founded by Queen Etheldreda in the 7th century on the site of an earlier church. Sacked by the Danes, it was re-founded by Benedictine monks in the 10th century. The present, magnificent yet serene, cathedral dates from 11th century, was heavily refurbished in the 19th century and is partly surrounded by parkland. Do not miss the amazing octagon tower, the ceilings and the Lady Chapel.
Part of Cambridge's student life since 1920 (and now on the tourist trail), Fitzbillies is a quality bakery and café, particularly famous for its Chelsea buns. When it became known that it was heading for bankruptcy in 2011, it was saved by Alison Wright when she saw a tweet by Stephen Fry, which said: “No! No! Say it ain’t so - not Fitzbillies? Why I tweeted a pic of one of their peerless Chelsea buns but a sixmonth ago”.
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.
King's College was founded by King Henry VI in 1441, the year after he founded Eton College, originally a sister college which sent scholars on to King's. It is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge and parts are open to the public. The highlight is undoubtedly the chapel, begun by Henry VI but finished by Henry VIII in 1544. The ceiling, windows and carving are breathtaking. It is also famous for the annual Christmas Eve service of Nine Lessons and Carols, introduced by Eric Milner-White in 1919 and now broadcast all over the world.