The University. The University of Cambridge is a public University and was founded in 1209. The main University (including the Department of Chemistry) and most Colleges are embedded within the town of Cambridge.
Cambridge has made and is making many major scientific contributions, some of which are: the foundation of classical mechanis by Isaac Newton, the scientific method by Francis Bacon, the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin, the laws of thermodynamics by Lord Kelvin, the splitting of the atom by Ernest Rutherford, the electromagnetic theory by James Clerk Maxwell, the discovery of antimatter by Paul Dirac, the logic of language by Ludwig Wittgenstein, the structure of DNA by James D. Watson and Francis Crick, and the development of spacetime singularity by Stephen Hawking. The electron (by Joseph J. Thomson), the atomic nucleus and the proton (by Ernest Rutherford), the neutron (by James Chadwick), and the hydrogen atom (by Henry Cavendish) were discovered here!
The Department of Chemistry and the University were ranked top in the 2008 UK Research Assessment Excercise (2008 RAE), in the Independent University guide (Independent ranking) and in one of the top spots in all global rankings (Shanghai Chemistry ranking; THES, Shanghai University ranking). We particularly like the latest news: QS ranking. Affiliates of the University of Cambridge have won more Nobel Prizes than those of any other institution: a total of 88 and 21 in Chemistry so far.
The Colleges. Cambridge is a collegiate university (the university can be considered as a federation of autonomous colleges); one of the results of its ancient foundation. There are 31 Colleges in Cambridge and each College is an independent institution with its own property and income. Colleges support our lives in many ways. In short: most of the teaching takes place in colleges in the form of small group supervisions (in addition to departmental lecturing) and it provides the setting for social interactions. The Colleges provide the opportunity for extensive cross-disciplinary exchange between its students and fellows.
Cambridge as a place to live. Cambridge is a university town, about 80 km North of London. Convince yourself: here and here. Cambridge is also the home of over 100 pubs: a map can be found here and further information here.
Here some information: general, Colleges.
The Department of Chemistry is located here.
Coming to Cambridge: Closest airport: London Stansted; information about: train schedule.