Other Essentials


Cambridge is renowned as an important university town, although the history of the city dates back to at least the 1st century BC.

The start of the University is generally taken as 1209, when scholars from Oxford migrated to Cambridge to escape Oxford’s riots of “town and gown” (townspeople versus scholars). To avert possible troubles, the authorities in Cambridge allowed only scholars under the supervision of a master to remain in the town. It was partly to provide an orderly place of residence that (in emulation of Oxford) the first college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, bishop of Ely. Over the next three centuries another 15 colleges were founded, and in 1318 Cambridge received formal recognition as a studium generale from Pope John XXII.

The University of Cambridge is an acknowledged centre of educational excellence in many important subjects arguably rivaled only by Oxford University. The architecture of the city is amongst the most stunning to be found in the UK and is best viewed whilst punting along the River Cam in one of Cambridge’s traditional flat-bottomed river boats.

Jesus College

Today Jesus College is one of the larger colleges in Cambridge. Its origins lie 400 years earlier, when John Alcock, Bishop of Ely, decided to convert a derelict nunnery on the eastern edge of Cambridge into a community for graduate priests studying in the University. Jesus College had spacious grounds and a strong reputation for sport. Over time it grew richer thanks to the land inherited from the priory which was now in demand for railway developments and new construction.

Since the Second World War the College has continued to grow, gaining a reputation for academic achievement to match its sporting success.

Cambridge weather in December

The average high-temperature, in December, in Cambridge is 7°C (44.6°F), while the average low-temperature is 3.1°C (37.6°F). December is the most humid month with an average relative humidity of 90%. The average length of the day is 7.8h with the average sunshine is 4.4h. The average daily maximum UV index is 2. A UV Index reading of 2 and below, represents a minimal health vulnerability from the exposure to the Sun’s UV radiation.


Britain’s national currency is the pound sterling (symbol: £), which is sub-divided into 100 pence (symbol: p). You get notes in denominations of £50, £20, £10 and £5, and coins in £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p.

There are lots of places you can change money in Britain:

•    bureaux de change on high streets, in airports and major railway stations
•    banks
•    travel agents
•    Post Offices

It’s worth shopping around to get the best deal and remember to ask how much commission is charged.


The voltage in Britain is 220/240 AC, 50 Hz. Electrical plugs have three rectangular pins and take fuses of 3, 5 and 13 amps. Visitors from abroad will need an adaptor for appliances that have been brought from home, such as laptops, hairdryers and phone chargers.

EU-UK adapters we suggest you should buy for your electrical equipment

Pharmacies and Medical help

Pharmacists in the UK are highly trained professionals who should be able to assist you in most instances. You can find many community pharmacies in towns and villages in and around the UK where pharmacists will be able to dispense medication, dispose of out-of-date medication and offer advice on minor ailments and wellbeing. 

If you’re feeling unwell a pharmacist will be able to help you decide whether or not you need to see a healthcare professional. You can buy a wide range of over-the-counter drugs in Britain. Many medicines, however, are available only with a doctor’s prescription so if you are likely to need medication, either bring it with you or ask your usual doctor to write out the name of the drug you need. If you are entitled to an NHS prescription, you will be charged a standard rate; if not, you will be charged the full cost of the drug.

Some pharmacies are open until midnight; contact your local hospital for a list. You can call the NHS 111 Service, a 24-hour helpline or, for emergencies, go to a hospital A&E department. In an emergency, dial 999 for assistance.

Further Travel advice