There isn’t a single time when mentioning the University of Cambridge, that the University of Oxford doesn’t come to mind. There isn’t a single person who doesn’t compare both cities. In fact, there isn’t a local that rather their city to the other one. The rivalry between Cambridge vs Oxford is older than what we could imagine.
Apparently, it dates back to the 13th century. Where there were only two Universities in the whole country of England and Wales. Putting aside the famous rivalry between both cities, the truth is that they have more similarities than differences. Moreover, in the whole, they have opened the path to the greatest scientists, writers and politicians.
Although, Oxford was the first institution to be created. Curiously, Cambridge was only originated because Oxford’s scholars came to Cambridge while taking refuge from hostile townsmen in Oxford. Overall, both Cambridge and Oxford Universities are the two oldest universities in England, and sometimes they are also mentioned as one by the name of ‘Oxbridge’.
What makes each city unique?
Firstly Oxford, its a historical yet urban industrial city. Comparing to Cambridge, Oxford is a larger city with a large number of constructions in the local sandstone – which make lot’s of the buildings the same colour and pattern of construction.
This city is often the stage of many Hollywood classics, hence it’s streets and scenarios speak for themselves. Thus, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Inspector Morse and Lewis’ and ‘His Dark Materials: Northern Lights’ are just a few examples of films shot in Oxford.
In the other hand, Cambridge is unique because it is both historical and rural. For instance, the main market square which operates every day explains why this is an agricultural market town. When comparing to Oxford, Cambridge has very little buildings constructed with the same style and material. As a matter of fact, this city was built with the use of lot’s of importation of other local stones, and this can be evidenced when observing Kings College and the Senate House.
What do both cities have in common?
Even though the myth of rivalry between both cities, always mentioning them in comparison terms such as Cambridge vs Oxford. The funniest thing is that, nowadays, there might not even be that much of a rivalry between them. However, it is relevant for both that this ancient belief is still a big deal, so both cities could remain famous around the world.
More importantly than what sets them apart, is what do they have in common. Therefore, let’s start by talking about their Universities. Despite the rivalry to find the best grades on the diverse subjects or the best results of each sports teams; They both share this sense of mutual cooperation to keep both of them as the high standards of education around the world. Moreover, these distinct Universities have some colleges named after each other. For example, you can find Jesus College in both cities.
Another aspect that unites both cities is the foundations of a city built near a River. The only difference here is that Oxford has two rivers flowing around (River Thames and River Cherwell); While Cambridge is a prominent sole and a unique river flowing around the city, the River Cam. Even though both cities are known by its touristic activities of punting along the River for a privileged view of each city. Punting is particularly important in Cambridge, by public demand.
When in Cambridge, make sure to visit ‘The Backs’ one of the most famous areas of Cambridge and of the University of Cambridge which is exclusively open to the public by the River. So, over a relaxing chauffeured punting tour along the River Cam, you would get to experience a whole lot of a visit to Cambridge as well as an unforgettable moment within such a peaceful environment.