I hadn’t even heard of the Fitzwilliam Museum until I started researching what there was to do in Cambridge online. The museum got really good reviews on Tripadvisor. And, like many other museums in England it was free, so I figured we should at least check it out. Let me tell you more about our visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum so that you can decide if you should go too.
The Fitzwilliam Museum is in an impressive building in the same style of the British Museum. I love the massive columns in the front. We arrived right when the museum opened at 10 am and were the first ones there. We didn’t have the whole museum to ourselves for long, but it was never too crowded.
The museum holds the collection for the University of Cambridge and they recently celebrated their 200 year anniversary. The collection is pretty diverse including paintings and sculptures, ceramics, and coins. The time period of the pieces ranged from ancient Egypt to modern day. We spent a little more than two hours exploring the museum.
European Art at the Fitzwilliam Museum
Most of the top floor was beautiful European art. The balcony in the entry room, had several gorgeous marble sculptures and also a nicely decorated Christmas tree since we visited in December. Then we wandered into the rooms, which were set up beautifully. Many of the rooms had furniture pieces that were also works of art. I also really liked the rooms that were painted red. There was one room that had a balcony with more artwork, but it was also nice just to look down at the room below and admire the decor.
Modern Art Collection
My favorite part of the museum though was the small but significant collection of more modern art, specifically the impressionist works. There were some lovely Monet, Seurat, Cezanne and Renoir paintings and also some sculptures from my favorite artist, Rodin. They also had some nice even more modern pieces.
Downstairs at the Fitzwilliam Cambridge
At the stairway, there is a replica of the Angel of the North sculpture. You can find the full-size 66-foot tall version, designed by Anthony Gormley, just outside of Newcastle, England. Downstairs they have an interesting collection of coins and also ceramics. The rooms with ceramics were full of so many beautiful items, we did not have time to look at them all! They also have a nice collection of Egyptian art and artifacts as well. If you are hungry, you can find the Fitzwilliam Museum cafe next to the gift shop.
We spent about two hours at the Fitzwilliam Museum and really enjoyed it, so I would definitely encourage you to check it out even if you are just doing a day trip to Cambridge.
Have you visited the Fitzwilliam Museum? What did you think?
Expert Tips for Visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum
- The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge is always free!
- There is a gift shop and cafe in the atrium downstairs.
- When visiting Cambridge, be sure to go punting on the Cam and visit the Cambridge American Cemetery.
- If you have time, there are also many places near Cambridge that are worth visiting.
- Parking can be an issue in Cambridge, so try to take public transportation.