Peterhouse College

The first Cambridge University college to be founded is home to a wonderful 13th-century main hall, a beautiful chapel and delightful gardens. 

Peterhouse College is the oldest of Cambridge University’s colleges, dating back to the late 13th century. It is also one of its smallest. Many buildings have been rebuilt or restored over the years, but you can discover a few remaining original features, as well as explore the pretty gardens and gorgeous little 17th-century chapel.

The college was founded in 1284 by the Bishop of Ely and has an impressive list of alumni. As you tour the grounds you will be following in the footsteps of Nobel Prize winners such as Sir Aaron Klug, Sir John Kendrew, Max Perutz and Archer Martin. Other luminaries to have been educated here are Henry Cavendish, the discoverer of hydrogen, and Sir Frank Whittle, the inventor of the jet engine.

On your way in, go to the First Court to see the college’s 17th-century chapel. Study its architecture, which is a blend of Gothic and classical styles with some Dutch influences. Venture inside to admire the stained glass windows, organ and wooden furnishings.

North of the First Court is the 18th-century Burrough's Building and to the south, you can see the Porters’ Lodge with the Perne Library above it. Be sure to visit Peterhouse’s restored 13th-century hall. Inside, observe a grand 16th-century fireplace and an oriel window with stained glass designed by William Morris, a 19th-century textile designer and social activist.

Take a stroll in the Grove, the gardens located south of Gisborne Court. You might hear these gardens referred to as Deer Park, a reference to the deer that lived on the site in the 19th century. You can also enter the pretty Fellows' Garden, located south of Old Court, as well as the Scholars' Garden, which surrounds the William Stone Building.

Find Peterhouse College on Trumpington Street, within walking distance of the bus station. The main buildings are situated just north of the Fitzwilliam Museum. The august learning institution is open daily to visitors from the middle of June until early April.


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