Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire. It is the home to a large student population that are studying at either, one of the thirty one Colleges of Cambridge University, Anglia Ruskin University or one of the esteemed private schools. It is a City of culture, history and world-changing discoveries and the home to more Nobel Prize winners than any other city as well as one of the largest biomedical research clusters in the world. As you can see Cambridge is brimming with learning, culture and recognition which makes it a popular UK destination to visit. When you come to Cambridge, the size of the city is in your favour as you can walk from one side of the centre to the other in less than 30 minutes (main attractions lie in the ‘market’ district or the ‘centre’ of Cambridge). This means that you can do most of your exploring by foot or by bike (the Cambridge way).
What you need to know before you visit Cambridge
A trip to Cambridge for first-time visitors can be daunting given how much there is to see in the city. It has a long history, once settled by the Romans, while its famous university was founded way back in 1209. Almost every part of the city is occupied by either a landmark, a retail outlet or eatery that is just waiting for your visit. When you come to Cambridge people would opt to stay overnight to get the most out of the city, even though day trippers still can cram a lot into their itinerary. One top tip is to ditch your car and train it into the city or use one of the Park and Rides services. Driving in the city is not the easiest and parking is very expensive so often tourists use public transport or bikes to explore once they arrive. Since the city is largely flat it is ideal for most as you do not have any hills to contend with (except for Castle Hill which is a beautiful photo spot). However, pack a pair of comfortable shoes as pounding the pavements can take its toll.
How can I spend a day in Cambridge?
Begin with a trip to either Café Foy to delight yourself with their amazing toasties, pastries and in-house made breakfasts or Bill’s to fill your belly before your jam packed day. Once a couple of cups of coffee have been consumed, spend the rest of the morning walking around either Fitzwilliam Museum or the Botanic Gardens to walk off your breakfast before you are ready to lunch again. Both the museum and the botanic gardens have changing exhibits all year around and are suitable for all ages, so is perfect for all the family.
After spending a couple of hours walking around visiting some of the attractions here in Cambridge you would have worked up quite an appetite, so you could visit the Cambridge Market for a cultural experience as well as picking up a bite to eat – there are many food stalls located at the market from Chinese to African cuisine, even waffles are available for those who have a sweet tooth. Or you could opt for a coffee and cake from the most elegantly reputable coffee shop in town – Bould Brothers. If you are looking for more of a sit down meal then take a look here for more options. After your lunch why not take a trip to visit one of the churches in the city (there are 39 to choose from) – our favourite is Great St Marys church where you can climb to the top for great views of the city.
End your day with the most popular attraction here in Cambridge; Punting. Punting especially in the evening is a sight to behold, with the river becoming calm and tranquil, with the sun setting behind the college backs – it is the perfect time to take a trip upstream. After your guided Punting Cambridge tour, you could visit The Architect for their ‘design your own menu’ which enables you to transform the much loved British classics with a modern twist (if you so wish).
What are the main things to do in Cambridge?
Cambridge is a destination in which there are things you certainly must do upon visiting. There are many wonderful sights, of which can typically be seen within just a few days during your stay, if you want a more in-depth guide click here.
Even though we included a typical day out in Cambridge above, we also wanted to highlight some key attractions or ‘must do’s’ when you visit Cambridge…
High in demand, punting is the only way in which you can exclusively visit the college backs, all within a short space of time. Without a punting tour in Cambridge, your experience will cease to be complete. Here at the Traditional Punting Company, we provide the most informative and enjoyable guided tours along the River Cam – (in our opinion) your highlight of your visit to Cambridge.
Coffee and cake
Being a traditionally English activity, afternoon tea in Cambridge is as quintessential as ever. Fitzbillies and The Varsity both provide exceptional afternoon tea, alongside coffee to suit any coffee lovers palette.
King’s College Chapel
The Chapel at King’s College is one of the most iconic landmarks in Cambridge and is a definite must-see. The chapel is considered one of the finest examples of late Perpendicular Gothic English architecture and features the world’s largest fan vault ceiling.
The Grand Arcade. Here, you will find John Lewis, Pandora, Krispy Kreme, Hotel Chocolat and various fashion retailers. This makes it an excellent place for all you shopaholics.
The Market Square
Having operated since the Saxon times, a wide variety of international foods and local business thrive here. The square is located just in front of the Guild Hall.
Museums and art galleries
As highlighted above, here in Cambridge we have a selection of around 18 museums and art galleries to choose from, so you could definitely fit in a few when you visit. If arts, history or cultural activities are your thing then you’ll find plenty of things to do in Cambridge.
There are 39 churches in Cambridge, which are all beautiful to see.
Whether you are visiting Cambridge for the day or the weekend, fill your time in this historic city with landmarks, museums, churches and of course punting. It is the perfect city for couple on a romantic getaway or families wanting to explore a diverse city together. From beautiful parks to old buildings and even statues, Cambridge caters to all.
Posted on August 26th, 2020, by the Traditional Punting Company