Museums in Cambridge

Tourists and locals alike should take advantage of the museums, gardens, and galleries Cambridge has to offer. The University of Cambridge has built impressive collections as part of their legacy.

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The museums provide a valuable resource for the university students and researchers while also offering a site for the public to discover. The museums in Cambridge rival in prestige even the most interesting London exhibitions.

History buffs should be sure to check out the Museum of Classical Archaeology and the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Both collections display rare examples from each academic concentration, including pre-Columbian textiles found in the Archaeology collection.

For some local history, check out the Museum of Cambridge just north of the River Cam.  The museum’s collections of Georgian and Victorian toys make it a great place for young children.

If you’re craving local culture, a trip to one of the university art galleries should top your list. The Fitzwilliam Museum holds literary works and manuscripts from authors such as Thomas Hardy and Virginia Woolf. Kettle’s Yard provides a more contemporary art collection, showcasing a harmonization of modern sculptures, paintings, and live music performances.

As one of the world’s leading cities in scientific research, Cambridge has plenty of museums dedicated to the sciences. The Whipple Museum of the History of Science echoes Cambridge University’s history as a research centre by housing a wide of array of scientific instruments, some dating back to medieval times. The Polar Museum explores the journey of Captain Robert Scott and his tragic journey to the South Pole; more recently, the museum has also turned its attention to the effects of climate change on the planet’s poles.

Sedgwick Museum Iguanodon

Courtesy of The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

The University Museum of Zoology has some of the most impressive animal remains ever collected, including a skeleton of the planet’s second largest animal, the finback whale.  As home to a complete fossil of the massive Iguanodon, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences serves as the dinosaur destination for people of all ages. Aside from impressive skeletons, both of these museums display many rock, plant, and animal samples collected by one of the university’s most famous pupils, Charles Darwin.

Looking for something outside the cramped city centre? Newmarket’s National Horseracing Museum celebrates the sport’s three hundred years of history.  Tours of the racetracks, stud farms, and riding simulator make this museum fun for the whole family.

A few miles south of Cambridge is another great museum: the Imperial War Museum at the Duxford Airfield.  Not only is the IWM Duxford England’s largest flight museum, but it also hosts a number of air shows throughout the year.  A trip to see the Spitfires loop through the air can create memories that last a lifetime.

For plant lovers, the Botanic Garden preserves and researches more than 8,000 species of plant life, and has well-kept paths for visitors to walk while enjoying the scenery.

With over a dozen free museums and galleries, Cambridge has an exhibition for every taste.