King’s College Chapel was built over about 70 years, using money from just about all the kings who ruled England in this chaotic period. I don’t tend to give history lessons, but it’s worth noting a lot of the decor was determined by Henry VII, including plastering his Royal crest all over the northern part of the chapel. This has guardian animals of a dragon (reflecting his Welsh heritage) and a greyhound (reflecting my need to research some things more).
It’s a very grand building, dominated by a huge organ in the middle. I could say it left me speechless, but that was due to the fact that when I went they were tuning the organ so demanded silence. Other reasons to visit are the stunning stained glass, the carved pews familiar to viewers of the Christmas carol concert, and an exhibition on the building and design fit into the complicated political landscape of the day.
You can also walk around the grounds if you like. We did, despite the rain. Wife was surprised to see a memorial to a Chinese poet in the grounds, who studied at King’s in the 20s – she also overheard other tourists joking by paraphrasing his famous poem about Cambridge and love.
I first visited many years ago when it cost £3.50 to enter – it is now £9. Worth a visit, but I don’t think I’ll come again until I take my as yet unborn kids to show them why they need to work hard at school!
Address: King’s Parade, Cambridge CB21ST