Seven Most Interesting Facts About The University Of Cambridge

Most Interesting Facts About The University Of Cambridge

Written by Shefali Onawale

Someone, somewhere said a thing...and now we remember it because they probably wrote it down! She used to write for herself and now writes to help others. Writing has brought her a long way and she wishes to walk some more, preferably making sojourns along the way.

May 11, 2021

The University of Cambridge as we know it is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Founded in 1209, the university is the 2nd oldest in the world and the 4th oldest surviving university. The university is formed with a variety of institutions and these include 31 semi-autonomous constituent colleges and over 150 academic departments, faculties and other institutions. One of the most interesting facts about the University of Cambridge is that all the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, control their own membership and with their own internal structure and activities. 

The University of Cambridge has a rich history and is famous for its stories from the past. This has attracted not only students but also tourists from around the world. There are many reasons to visit the University of Cambridge and experience the scholarly activities taking place behind the walls of this educational institution. Moreover, what makes the university different from the others is that it has its own press. The Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest publishing house and second-largest university press belong to Cambridge University. 

The University of Cambridge unfailingly ranks one of the top 5 universities in the world as well as in the UK since the early 2000s. One of the most interesting facts about the University of Cambridge is that it remained insignificant till 1510 until the Dutch philosopher, Desiderius Erasmus managed to inculcate the wave of a renaissance in the university. 

The University of Cambridge is popularly conservative and traditional. It is because the university was able to preserve its centuries-old customs such as the Ely Eel festival of the university and the Cardboard Boat Race. 

Before you think of applying to study Masters in the UK and specifically at the University of Cambridge, let us first discuss some of the most interesting facts about the University of Cambridge. 

7 Most Interesting Facts About The University of Cambridge 

The Centre For Gravity! 

We already know how the city of Lincoln became famous among students and how sir Issac Newton realised the existence of gravity while sitting under a tree in his hometown, Lincolnshire. But do you know where he went to further educate himself and the world about gravity? It was the University of Cambridge where he pursued the idea of gravity turning and published his paper on the theory of gravity in 1687. 

Formulation Of The “Cambridge Rules” 

The first game of football ever played was in Cambridge in 1848. The University of Cambridge had a significant impact in forming the rules for football. The codes created by the university in the 19th century were adopted by the Football Association as the Laws of The Game. For instance, The rule that “no player is allowed to loiter between the ball and the adversaries’ goal” formalised the offside rule. This is one of the most interesting facts about the University of Cambridge. 

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Movies & Real Life Stories

Cambridge, the soon to be the wonder of the world, has been the location of many award-winning movies such as The Theory Of Everything, Pirates of The Caribbean and Sylvia. There are a total of 71 movies that have been shot at the university and this has marked the existence of the University of Cambridge in popular culture, making it an attractive tourist destination. 

Moreover, the famous Doctor Who was created by a Cambridge graduate who was also the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

The Cambridge Library 

The Cambridge Library has over 3,00,000 volumes of books, manuscripts and preserved documents from the 13th century. The university’s library is one of the most amazing libraries in the world and has a copy of every single book ever published in Britain. Some noteworthy collections include the ecclesiastical and modern history, Acton Library of medieval, the W.G. Aston Japanese library, the papers of Charles Darwin and the Wade Chinese collection. 

Dogs Are Banned But Big Cats Aren’t?!

The incident that centres around Lord Byron who wanted to keep a pet dog in the dorm room is a famous one because dogs are banned in the University of Cambridge. Clearly being revolting against this rule, Lord Byron instead adopted a bear as a pet and this was not objected to. A similar incident followed at Selwyn College where students adopted a rescue cat named YoYo. Even though dogs were not allowed and cats were frowned upon, the university accepted YoYo as a “very large cat” instead of just a cat. The students agreed to this and YoYo remains a part of the university grounds. 

The blurred lines between what is considered a pet at the university make it one of the most interesting facts about the University of Cambridge. 

The Clock That’s Correct Every 5 Minutes 

The Corpus Christi Clock that calls the University of Cambridge its home, is a superb attraction for tourists. The Corpus Clock at the end of King’s Parade is a famous landmark of the UK and correctly reflects that time is relative. This is because, The clock speeds up, slows down, and even stops to represent the relativity of time. However, it tells the correct time to a hundredth of a second every fifth minute. 

The University Follows A Drinking Tradition 

Pennying is one the most famous drinking custom-cum-game followed by the pupils of the University of Cambridge. Here, If a person puts a penny in your drink, you must aim for a bottoms-up. However one may only penny another if they have an alcohol drink themselves. Another version of Pennying is an “engineer’s penny” where the pennies are bent so that they can fit atop a wine bottle. But beware, the bent pennies follow a risk, if you are found with one, you would have to down the entire bottle.  

Thanks for reading this blog on Seven Most Interesting Facts About The University Of Cambridge. If you are interested in learning about student life abroad, the following articles should interest you: 

  1. 5 Step Guide To Choose The Right Degree With The Right University 
  2. Find Student Finance For Postgraduate Students
  3. Become A Millionaire By 30


1. What is Cambridge University known for?

The University of Cambridge is arguably one of the world’s most iconic, prestigious and renowned universities. Known for its excellence in education and research, it is a university people dream of getting into but only the chosen few get the opportunity to study in its centuries-old halls. It is ranked number 5 in the world.

2. How old is Cambridge University?

The world’s third-oldest surviving university, the University of Cambridge was founded in 1209. Established 813 years ago, it rose in prominence with each passing year and continues to be a symbol of prestige and excellence in education.

3. What famous person went to Cambridge University?

The University of Cambridge boasts quite a few famous personalities on its roster. From royal persons to renowned inventors and advocators in the field of science, there is a list of iconic personalities in every field who have studied at the university. Some notable alumni are Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Sir David Attenborough, and Alan Turing among others.

4. What makes Cambridge University special?

It is true when people claim that the University of Cambridge is unlike none other. It is not only its education that sets it apart but its rich history and centuries-old heritage that adds to its prestige and legendary status. Boasting student infrastructure that no university can match up to, it continues to be one of the greatest universities in the world.

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