East Anglia Sights

King's College Chapel

  • King's Parade Map It
  • Cambridge
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 08/18/2015

Fodor's Review

Based on Sainte-Chapelle, the 13th-century royal chapel in Paris, this house of worship is perhaps the most glorious flowering of Perpendicular Gothic in Britain. Henry VI, the king after whom the college is named, oversaw the work. From the outside, the most prominent features are the massive flying buttresses and the fingerlike spires that line the length of the building. Inside, the most obvious impression is of great space—the chapel was once described as "the noblest barn in Europe"—and of light flooding in from its huge windows. The brilliantly colored bosses (carved panels at the intersections of the roof ribs) are particularly intense, although hard to see without binoculars. An exhibition in the chantries, or side chapels, explains more about the chapel's construction. Behind the altar is The Adoration of the Magi, an enormous painting by Peter Paul Rubens. The chapel, unlike the rest of King's College, stays open during exam periods. Every Christmas Eve, a festival of carols is sung by the chapel's famous choir. It's broadcast on national television and considered a quintessential part of the traditional English Christmas. To compete for the small number of tickets available, join the line at the college's main entrance early—doors open at 7 am.

Sight Information

Address:

King's Parade, Cambridge, CB2 1ST, England

Map It

Phone:

01223-331212

Sight Details:

  • £8, includes college and grounds
  • Term time: Mon. 9:45–3:30, Tues.–Fri. 9:30–3:30, Sat. 9:30–3:15, Sun. 9:45–4:30. Out of term: Mon. 9:45–5:30, Tues.–Sun. 9:30–4:30. Sometimes closed for events; call ahead to confirm

Published 08/18/2015

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