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Church of St. Mary the Great

Climb to the top of the tower for enchanting views of the city’s famous spires and learn about the church’s rich history.

The Church of St. Mary the Great is the official university church of Cambridge and has played an important role in the development of the city and the colleges. Admire the late Perpendicular design of the church and its 19th century stained-glass works, then ascend to the top of the tower for stellar city views.

A church has existed at this site since the 1200s, although the current structure was only built at the end of the 15th century, during the reigns of Richard III and Henry VII. Today, the church plays a small role in university legislation, stipulating that some staff and students must live within a certain distance of it.

Take a walking tour of the church with a docent to learn about its long history. Inside, you’ll find several interesting features including exquisite 19th-century stained glass and intriguing relics from the past, such as the hearse cloth for Henry VII.

Be sure to check out the 17th-century University Organ, which is used for the academy’s services. It is thought that this organ may have the largest repository of pipework by famous organ builder Father Bernard Smith in a single instrument. Rather unusually, the church also has a second organ, which was built in 1991.

To hear one of the organs in action, attend a recital here. Classical music concerts are often held in the church to take advantage of its excellent acoustics. Upon exiting, explore the market beside the church, where you will find all sorts of trinkets and treasures, such as antiques, books and food.

The church is open year-round from morning until late afternoon. There is a small fee to climb the tower, with discounts for families.

The Church of St. Mary the Great is found on the King’s Parade near the River Cam in the center of Cambridge. Take the bus here or walk to the church from the city center. Nearby attractions include the Cambridge Corn Exchange and the Cambridge City Council.


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Top Church of St Mary the Great Hotel Deals

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Hilton Cambridge City Centre RM522
Hilton Cambridge City Centre

Hilton Cambridge City Centre

Downing Street, Cambridge, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Cambridge City Centre, this hotel is steps away from Cambridge University Museum and Archaeology and Anthropology and Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. St Catharine's College and Cambridge Corn Exchange are also within 5 minutes. Cambridge Station is 19 minutes by foot.

    ibis Cambridge Central Station RM282
    ibis Cambridge Central Station

    ibis Cambridge Central Station

    2 Station Square, Cambridge, England
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in the business district, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of University Botanic Gardens, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and University of Cambridge. Anglia Ruskin University and Parker's Piece are also within 1 mile (2 km). Cambridge Station is only a 2-minute walk.

      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cambridge City Centre RM570
      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cambridge City Centre

      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cambridge City Centre

      Granta Place Mill Lane, Cambridge, England
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of Cambridge, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of The Backs, University of Cambridge, and St Catharine's College. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and Church of St Mary the Great are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 23 minutes by foot.

        The Gonville Hotel RM516
        The Gonville Hotel

        The Gonville Hotel

        Gonville Place, Cambridge, England
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Cambridge, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Our Lady and the English Martyrs and Parker's Piece. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and University of Cambridge are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 15 minutes by foot.

          University Arms, Autograph Collection RM637
          University Arms, Autograph Collection

          University Arms, Autograph Collection

          Regent Street, Cambridge, England
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Cambridge City Centre, this hotel is steps away from Emmanuel College and Parker's Piece. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and St Catharine's College are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 15 minutes by foot.

            Tamburlaine RM474
            Tamburlaine

            Tamburlaine

            Station Rd, Cambridge, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Cambridge, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge and Cambridge Arts Theatre. St Catharine's College and Church of St Mary the Great are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cambridge Station is only a 2-minute walk.

              Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge RM601
              Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge

              Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge

              15-19 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, England
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of Cambridge, this romantic hotel is steps from Fitzwilliam Museum and University of Cambridge. St Catharine's College and Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 18 minutes by foot.

                The Varsity Hotel & Spa RM646
                The Varsity Hotel & Spa

                The Varsity Hotel & Spa

                24 Thompsons Lane, Cambridge, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Cambridge, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Pepys Library, St. John's College, and Trinity College. Church of St Mary the Great and King's College are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 29 minutes by foot.