Centrally located on Trumpington Street just opposite Fitzwilliam Street, it attracts nearly half a million visitors a year. The great news is that there's no admission fee to look around this cultural treasure trove – but they suggest a small donation, so do be generous if you've enjoyed the museum.
The collections cover almost everything you could think of, from arms and armour to Islamic art and furniture, as well as clocks and some breathtaking illuminated manuscripts. There are also sculptures, woodwork, jewellery, textiles and fans, with exhibits on display from all over the world, including Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Japan and Korea.
As well as its permanent displays, the Fitzwilliam Museum has an ever-changing roster of temporary exhibitions. These are as varied as Valentine’s cards and Cupid sculptures, portrait prints, ancient scripts from Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, Egyptian coffin portraits, coins from the end of WWI and a special exhibition on Edward Lear.
The museum also has a fabulous gift shop, which is located in the courtyard areas. Here, you can purchase a great range of books, cards and merchandise, all inspired by the collections. One of its bestsellers – Alan Turing’s Zeta Function Machine Jigsaw Puzzle – won Range of the Year at the annual Best Product Awards run by the Association for Cultural Enterprises. The 1,000-piece jigsaw was launched to coincide with the 2017 exhibition Codebreakers and Groundbreakers about the invaluable work by Cambridge academics that worked on discovering the secrets of the German Enigma code machine.
There’s also the Courtyard Café, which you can find in the covered area by the Courtyard Entrance. If you find browsing all the intriguing exhibitions to be thirsty work, then this is the perfect spot to relax, refresh with a hot beverage or tuck into a light lunch.
The Fitzwilliam Museum is closed on Mondays and is open from 10am-5pm every other day, with the exception of Sunday, when the doors open at 12pm. Our North (Girton) hotel is just a short drive away, with limited pay and display parking available on Trumpington Street and the Grand Arcade car park less than a 10-minute walk away.