King’s Parade, Cambridge

A belated Happy New Year to my readers!

I hope 2013 has been good to you so far? After a little blogging break I am back!  My first post of 2013 is dedicated to one of my favourite streets in Cambridge – King’s Parade (and its immediate surrounds).

King’s Parade, once Cambridge’s main high street, is a picturesque and atmospheric street in the centre of the city.  This busy street has its own unique and exciting atmosphere, bustling with tourists, students and thriving with cafe’s, restaurants and shops. During it’s quite periods it still has an exciting, yet gentile, atmosphere which allows you take in its history and architecture, at a slower pace.

The focal point of the street is the world-famous King’s College and its chapel (more about that later).  However, it also has many other fascinating buildings and unusual things to look at, which you can find out about below. There are some lovely little streets you can walk through, from the main area of the city, to get to King’s Parade. A couple of those streets lead through from the Market Square, which is where I will start for the purposes of this post!

On the right, as you enter King’s Parade, is Gonville and Caius College and Trinity Street (where you can find the brilliant Heffers Book Shop!, it’s been there since 1876!).

Senate Housesenate house

Just before you get to Gonville and Caius is Senate House Hill, which is not actually a hill! This is where, as the name suggests, you will find the Senate House, built between 1722 & 1730.  The Senate House is the University parliament building, mainly used now for graduation ceremonies.

Great St Mary’s Church

Close by is St Mary’s Church, which I previously posted about after walking up its 123 steps (phew!).  A church has been situated on the site for over 800 years, the current version was rebuilt in the late 15th century. The church, which looks out over both King’s Parade and the Market Square, also became known as the ‘university church’ as the University originally used it for their ceremonies and official meetings.

If you like a challenge do take the steps up the tower, there are great views at the top!view from top

Cambridge University Press Book Shop

Whilst you are wandering around the area have a mooch around the Cambridge University Press Book Shop.  The shop is situated on the oldest book shop site in the country, books have been sold on the site since 1582.  However, the current shop has been open since 1992. Read more about Cambridge University Press and the books it publishes here.

Architecture and Businesses


As you continue your walk down King’s Parade you will arrive at the shop, cafe’s and restaurants. Take time to look up as you will see some lovely architecture, also take time to have a look at the shops, cafe’s and restaurants as you’ll find some interesting places.  Benets of Cambridge is worth stopping at for a bite to eat, especially if you are craving something sweet! The Copper Kettle is another good place if you are hungry, there’s also Rainbow Cafe if you are vegetarian.

One of my favourite places to go on King’s Parade is Inner Space, which is a meditation space and shop.  They run meditation sessions, retreats and seminars, it is definitely worth a visit if you are staying in Cambridge for a while and in need of some relaxation!  I attended their meditation sessions on Tuesday evenings for a while, it was a great experience, definitely worth giving it a go! Inner Space is directly opposite the entrance of King’s College.  The meditation room is upstairs, when you look out of the window the view you get of King’s College is amazing.

Meditating at Inner Space is quite a challenge when you are a learner, it’s a very busy street!  When you meditate you are supposed to be able to block out any noise and think of nothing, which proves quite tricky when you can hear people below and the chimes of the King’s College clock!  However, I aways enjoyed my meditation experience there, I haven’t been for a while, I must go back!

King’s College

Kings College

King’s College needs a whole blog post to itself, watch this space! For now here is a (very!) short description!

The college was founded in 1441, replacing houses which were situated on the site.  In 1446 work began on building the its chapel, one hundred years later it was finished! The iconic chapel is home to the Festival of Nine Lessons, broadcast each Christmas Eve.  People queue out for hours, in all weathers, to be able to get in to the service.

Visitors are welcome, admission times can be found here.  I took the tour around the chapel and grounds a couple of years ago and really enjoyed looking round it, I recommend it.  I think another visit is in order for blogging purposes!



King’s Parade leads on to Trumpington Street, to get there you will need to walk past a very odd clock!  It is called The Chronophage (meaning ‘time eater’) and was unveiled by Stephen Hawking in 2008. You can read more about it in this link to the BBC news website. It’s a great talking point, there are always a big groups of people hanging around fascinated by it.

I feel there is a lot more to the King’s Parade area than this post has highlighted.  However, I hope it has interested you enough to want to discover it for yourself.


About Maria Explores...

Blogger and Freelance Writer
This entry was posted in 101 challenges, Cambridge, Cities, Food and Drink, History, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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