Cambridge, with its iconic punting experience along the River Cam, offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. However, a visit to this charming city is incomplete without exploring its vibrant shopping scene. Join us as we take you on a journey through a day of punting and shopping in Cambridge, highlighting nearby shops and boutiques, the city’s shopping districts and markets, and why Cambridge deserves more than just a day of exploration.
Punting in Cambridge: A Must-Do Activity
Before we delve into the shopping delights, let’s set the stage with a quick reminder of why punting in Cambridge is one of the most cherished “things to do in Cambridge.” Traditional Punting Company provides an authentic punting experience, where you can glide along the tranquil waters of the River Cam, passing by iconic Cambridge landmarks and lush green meadows. It’s an experience that immerses you in the city’s history and natural beauty.
Nearby Shops and Boutiques
Once you’ve savoured your punting adventure, it’s time to explore the shopping treasures that Cambridge has to offer. Here are some nearby shops and boutiques to consider:
1. Kings Parade shops
Located at the heart of Cambridge, King’s Parade is not only steeped in history but also home to a unique selection of shops and boutiques. As you explore this iconic street, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque backdrop of King’s College and its majestic chapel.
King’s College Visitor Centre: Start your shopping adventure on King’s Parade at the King’s College Visitor Centre. Here, you can find a range of official merchandise, including books, postcards, and souvenirs celebrating the rich history and culture of King’s College.
Cambridge University Press Bookshop: Dive into the world of academia with a visit to this historic bookstore, offering a wide selection of books and university-related merchandise.
Ede & Ravenscroft: Just slightly up from Kings Parade is Ede & Ravenscroft, founded in 1689, it’s one of the oldest tailors in London, with a presence on Green Street. It’s renowned for its bespoke academic and legal attire, and it has a rich history of serving dignitaries, scholars, and legal professionals.
2. Green Street Boutiques:
Nestled amidst the historical charm of Cambridge, Green Street offers a tranquil and picturesque shopping experience. The street is known for its upscale boutiques and elegant offerings. As you explore the cobbled pathways, you’ll be captivated by the blend of history and contemporary shopping.
Reiss: a high-end fashion brand, has a boutique on Green Street. This British label offers sophisticated and contemporary clothing, making it a destination for those seeking chic and timeless apparel.
L.K.Bennett: a renowned British fashion brand, is located on Green Street. Known for its elegant and versatile clothing, footwear, and accessories, it’s a favorite among those seeking classic styles.
OSKA Cambridge: the renowned German brand, presents two seasonal collections each year, characterized by exclusive color palettes and distinctive designs. Committing to crafting pieces that transcend trends, focusing instead on timeless elegance and versatility.
Lucy & Yak: this high-street brand is quite new to the fashion world and their aim is to bring vibrancy in clothing as they offer colour and edgy prints that are woven into their fabrics to reinforce comfortability and reassurance in your style.
3. Market Square
Nestled at the very heart of Cambridge lies the bustling Market Square, an epicenter of commercial activity and a testament to the city’s vibrant shopping culture. As you meander through this historic square, the essence of Cambridge engulfs you with its delightful medley of independent boutiques, iconic establishments, and bustling market stalls, all steeped in tradition yet refreshingly contemporary.
Cambridge Market: Dominating the center of Market Square is the illustrious Cambridge Market, a daily market that’s as much a Cambridge institution as it is a shopping paradise. Dive into the rich tapestry of offerings here, from farm-fresh produce, gourmet delights, and locally-crafted goods to fashionable apparel, accessories, and unique souvenirs. It’s not just a marketplace—it’s a sensory experience capturing the authentic vibe of Cambridge.
Surrounding the market are a selection of specialty shops and eateries that showcase the best of local craftsmanship and culinary artistry. Whether you’re a seasoned shopper on the lookout for something unique, a tourist eager to take a slice of Cambridge back home, or a food enthusiast wanting to sample regional flavours, Market Square stands as a beacon of the city’s rich shopping tradition. The surrounding shops includes the like of M&S, Anthropology, LuLuLemon and Market house.
Cambridge Shopping and Market
While these nearby shops are fantastic, Cambridge also boasts distinct shopping districts and markets that offer a diverse range of products.
1. Grand Arcade:
Nestled in the heart of Cambridge, the Grand Arcade boasts an impressive lineup of high-end and high-street brands. From fashion to electronics, you’ll find it all here. Rebuilt in 2007, this 2.5-hectare shopping center houses over 60 premium and high-street retailers across two floors. Its flagship store, John Lewis and Partnerships, stands as a testament to the city’s retail significance. The timeless architecture, with its blend of stone, steel, and glass ceilings, mirrors the deep-rooted affection locals hold for the Grand Arcade. It is not just a shopping centre; it’s a symbol of Cambridge’s allure.
Second to the Grand Arcade is the Grafton centre, which offers a mix of fashion retailers like Next, H&M and River Island, home goods, and entertainment options such as Pure Gym and Vue Cinema. Perfect for a leisurely afternoon of shopping. Originally built in 1983 and located east of central Cambridge it is one of the three main shopping centres within the city.
3. All Saints’ Garden Art and Craft Market:
Located opposite Trinity College Gatehouse surrounding the central memorial cross, this market showcases the work of local artists and artisans every Saturday, and has been for the last 37 years. You’ll discover handmade jewellery, artwork, ceramics, and more.
Cambridge: More Than Just a Day Trip
Cambridge may often be seen as a day-trip destination, but it is, in fact, a city brimming with experiences that warrant a more extended stay. Here’s why Cambridge deserves more than just a fleeting visit:
- Cultural Attractions: Beyond shopping, Cambridge boasts world-class museums, galleries, and historic sites. The Fitzwilliam Museum, steeped in history dating back to before the third millennium BC, beckons with its rich collection. The Cambridge University Botanic Garden offers over 8,000 plant species for you to explore, while the iconic King’s College Chapel stands as an architectural marvel. These cultural treasures invite you to delve into the city’s diverse heritage.
- Culinary Delights: The city’s dining scene is a treasure trove of gastronomic experiences. From Michelin-starred restaurants to cosy cafés, you can savour a wide range of culinary delights. Why not come and visit the dineries on Quayside after a relaxing punting tour such as Thaikun if you like asian cuisine, or The Tipsy Vegan if you are not a meat eater. Or if you want a lighter and more tranquil atmosphere why not visit Cafe Foy located meteres away from the other mentioned establishments.
- Festivals and Events: Throughout the year, Cambridge hosts a variety of festivals, including the Cambridge Folk Festival which is one of the oldest annual festivals in the world held since 1965, and the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival which can attract upward of 25,000 people each year, and include an evening of dynamic and highly visual theater. These events offer a glimpse into the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
- Nature and Green Spaces: Don’t miss the chance to explore the many parks and green spaces in Cambridge, including Jesus Green and Midsummer Common. They provide a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle and are elocated just 10 minutes away from the city centre.
In conclusion, a day of punting and shopping in Cambridge offers a delightful way to experience the city’s multifaceted charm. While punting with us, the Traditional Punting Company, allows you to appreciate the city’s natural beauty and history, the diverse shopping scene enables you to take a piece of Cambridge home with you. Remember, Cambridge is not just a day-trip destination; it’s a place where you can revel in culture, history, and the joy of exploration. So, take your time, savor the experience, and discover all that this remarkable city has to offer.
Posted on September 19th, 2023, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor