Voyages: Pembroke and King’s Colleges [@CambridgeUK]

I didn’t intend for this blog to be as photo-heavy as I feel like it’s becoming, but unfortunately I can’t think of anything else to share with you today! I’ve already missed the last two Sundays due to a stressful trip to Dublin and a recovery-from-said-trip weekend back in Cambridge.

Speaking of Cambridge, you might be wondering “why is Cassie even there right now?” Great wonder! I’m here thanks to a little study-abroad adventure called the Pembroke-King’s Programme (PKP) at the University of Cambridge. I’ve been here since the end of June and figured now is the time to show you why my parents are going to have such a hard time getting me back to the States!

This week, I thought I’d spend my Sunday wandering around and taking pictures of my favorite spots in the two UniOfCam colleges I’ve been studying at. Enjoy!

Pembroke College

This is my resident college, the one I live and eat in (although technically I live outside of the college walls, around the corner). It was founded in 1347 and is by leaps and bounds my preferred college. It’s so cozy and comfortable and peaceful and overall it just has this feeling to it. I can’t really describe it, so take a look and see if you catch it too.


That tiny wooden door on the left leads in to the cafeteria, and the giant red brick building on the right is the Dining Hall where Pembroke College members eat. It’s also the building where the best Formal Halls in the entire University are held (might be a little biased… but I have a lot of fun at Pembroke Formals).


PemBar, JP, the Cafe, whatever you want to call it – I’ve spent quite a few afternoons and evenings here. There are giant leather couches that will actually swallow you whole if you start dozing while working on homework. Or if you have one too many ciders at karaoke night.


The New Library – my absolute favorite spot in the entire University. The building is beautiful inside and out. I usually tuck myself into the Classic Literature corner with all the Austens and Brontës because it can’t get more inspirational than that. If I ever become a novelist, I hope I get to come back and be it here.


Pembroke’s campus is filled with quaint little flower-lined paths and crevices. The Scotswoman in me totally lost it over this 6’+ tall thistle plant I stumbled across on my first day. Thankfully, a few purple-topped buds still remained for me to snap a picture of this morning.

Back of Hall

This is the opposite side of the Dining Hall. More flowers, more beauty, more immaculate grass you’re not allowed to touch.

On one of my first nights here, I was curious about Pembroke alumni so I googled “famous people who went to Pembroke College.” Imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that Roger Williams, the founder of my beautiful hometown state of Rhode Island, attended Pembroke! I don’t want to call it fate, or destiny, or anything but I mean… that’s a sign.

King’s College

Founded in 1441 (yes, also before America was even DISCOVERED…), King’s is probably one of the most iconic Cambridge colleges. I can’t say I’ve spent a lot of time here, but I can say that my breathing still hitches every time I walk through the gate. The campus features colossally overwhelming architecture and wide, expansive lawns. Not to mention it borders the River Cam, where you can sit on the banks gossiping with friends and laughing at tourists as they attempt to punt.

Front gate

This is the front gate that you have to approach in order to get in to the college. Usually it’s a battle through 15 different hoards of school groups and international tours, but the fight is well worth it once you see inside.

King's Chapel

I’m willing to venture that King’s Chapel is way up there on the list of popular locations in Cambridge, if not #1. The building is ginormous and stretches half the length of the college. I had the privilege of seeing Evensong performed in the Chapel during my first week.

Inside King's Chapel

The ceiling of King’s Chapel makes you just want to splay out on the floor and get lost in admiring it for a few hours. Can’t tell you all the intricacies of the architectural style but can tell you that its totally rad in here. A completely mesmerizing place of worship.

Keep off the grass!

… unless you’re at Formal Hall! Got to stand on this grass a few weeks ago when I took a break from the Pembroke formals to attend a King’s one. I personally wasn’t as impressed, but that might be because the Pembroke drinks are on the grass right in front of the New Library…


This is apparently Gibbs’ building but I’ve come to think of it as the scary place where all the Fellows hang out. This is the view you get when you’re standing on the bank of the river, looking through towards the Front Court. That statue in the doorway is actually a fountain on the Front Court, and the tiny dark doorway behind that is the front gate where you enter the college.

River Cam

My preferred spot to sit and people watch on the banks of the River Cam. Those are King’s College punts moored on the other side. Note: they’re a lot harder to maneuver than you might think.

Iconic View

If I turn around in that exact spot next to the river, this is what waits behind me. That’s the iconic face of the Chapel on the right.

King's Library

I can’t say I’ve spent any time at all in the King’s library, aside from the welcome tour, but look how pretty it is! The library is elevated and runs along that top row of windows, which all face the quiet enclosed courtyard I was standing in to take this picture.

Voyages: Anglesey Abbey [@CambridgeUK]

Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey

I formally declare myself lovingly obsessed with Anglesey Abbey. On Saturday I took a trip with a small group of darlings to this Jacobean-style country house in the nearby village of Lode. Rather than write you a play-by-play on all the things I saw, I figured I’d provide you with a few photos and comments on this fairytale of a place.


We set off on a leisurely stroll down a series of paths just like this one to get to the actual Abbey. Yes, those are lily pads. And yes, they are stretching as far as your eye can see.


One of our Program Advisors had been to the house before and served as an excellent guide through the overwhelmingly beautiful rooms. When I arrived in this particular one, I was so enraptured by the objects and artifacts around me that I completely missed the ceiling! Thankfully, she gave me a gentle reminder to “look up” and now I have this image in my life.


Stunning paintings and portraits covered every inch of wall that wasn’t too busy being impressively ornate on its own. As I walked around, I noticed that my eyes were always drawn to the same dark, Gothic-style scenes. I discovered that they were all painted by the Pethers, two generations of incredible, moonlight loving artists. My camera could not have done the landscapes justice, so do yourself a favor and find the nearest original.


Real tears of joy came to my eyes when I walked into the library. The original owners of the Abbey, the Fairhavens, were quite smitten with the Tudors so this room was home to several ORIGINAL(!) portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII, and others. As the very same Program Advisor-turned-guide put it, I was in the same room as something that had ALSO been in a room with those figures at some point in history. WHAT? That means I can say I’ve basically met them, right?

Oh, and Queen Elizabeth II also scratched her name into one of the library’s window panes while visiting… Casual.


Another cool thing about this library was the two gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. They are part of a set of five made by William Kent. The owner of the other three? Vladimir Putin. I believe they’re hanging in one of the Russian palaces.

Front of the House

I could have honestly sat myself down and stared at this view all day long. I’m in love with stone houses. There it is, I’ve said it.

Rose Garden 2

Lord Fairhaven installed a huge Rose Garden at the side of his house. He gets it.

Gardens 2

Unfortunately, I was too busy reverting back to the make-believe lands of my childhood to take many pictures of the grounds we walked around after visiting the house but let me tell you: this place is HUGE! 10-year-old me would have had the time of my life here. Plenty of gardens and woods and paths to run rampant through. Yes, I did pick up a stick and carry it around like a wand for a little while.


Before ending my day with some rose lemonade and a slice of Victoria Sponge, we sat ourselves down in a shady nook and I set to work learning how to make daisy chains. Apparently that is a skill acquired by many a British child in their primary school days, but I had never done it! We don’t really have wild daisies in Rhode Island.

I will confess, I cheated a bit. You’re supposed to puncture a hole in the stem with your thumbnail and weave it that way, but I had to resort to making knots because my nails kept wrecking the stems. Quite a meditative experience, regardless.

As was to be expected, my voyage to Anglesey Abbey left me in a state of hopeless daydreams. I hope these pictures can convey at least some of my love for this wonderful treasure.