Only a short train ride away from London, Cambridge seems to be the city that has it all. The shops, the cafes, the architecture, the history, the museums and the river.
Cambridge is a city on the River Cam in eastern England, home to the prestigious University of Cambridge, dating to 1209. University colleges include King’s, famed for its choir and towering Gothic chapel, as well as Trinity, founded by Henry VIII, and St John’s, with its 16th-century Great Gate.
University museums have exhibits on archaeology and anthropology, polar exploration, the history of science and zoology.
There are lots of exciting things to do in Cambridge, UK, but what are the top 10 fun things to do in Cambridge?
10 Fun Things to do in Cambridge
1. See Cambridge University colleges in the day
Take a walking tour in the historical city to take in the sights of its medieval colleges. Imagine dozens of small branches which all belong to the tree of the University of Cambridge. Here the colleges are all very different and each college has their own private lives. The highlights include Kings College and Trinity College.
2. See human endeavour at Scott Polar Research Institute
The Polar Museum tells the stories of the polar explorers, who ventured into the North Pole and the South Pole and how they documented their journeys, their experiences and the stories they left behind. Visit here for diaries, grim photos, and stories of fateful trips to the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
3. Take a boat tour on the River Cam, aka Punting
Last week I went on a trip Punting in Cambridge, through the college backs with Scudamore’s Punting in Cambridge and as a result, we decided to go this weekend. I will write a proper blog post in the week about the experience and the company but until then here are some photos from the day which was great. The weather held out thankfully and we had a lovely tour guide Nick who was a delight!
Scudamore’s Punting Company are Cambridge’s oldest and most revered punting company, and the originators of pleasure punting as a leisure activity in Cambridge. Since their foundation circa 1903, they have hired boats and offered tours to both residents and visitors alike. Punting has over recent years become a mainstream activity so choose Scudamore’s to ensure the authentic punting experience.
The VAQAS-award-winning College Backs Punt Tour offers the ideal introduction to Cambridge’s fascinating history. You get to hear how the city has evolved from a medieval market town to a world-class centre for education, all the while enjoying spectacular views from the river.
The tour guide who will guide you around the college backs will be attired in uniform that matches the requirements of the season.
Our tour guide for the trip was called Nick and he was dressed in a waistcoat and punting hat and was wonderful. Nick was constantly talking to us and informing us about the different buildings as we glided past. He also dropped in some humorous jokes and facts about the people who attended the colleges and the university itself.
Overall he was lovely and such an interesting character. He certainly made the experience more enjoyable and it was nice seeing everyone else from other companies glide past taking photos of our tour guide because he was the best dressed!
4. Be artistic at Kettle’s Yard
Kettle’s Yard is one of the finest art galleries in the United Kingdom featuring modern and contemporary arts of work, and very nice concerts too! Cambridge Arts Centre and the Cambridge Arts Picture House should also be on your artsy things to do in Cambridge. The former is a small theatre with very nice performances, while the latter is a retro style movie theatre / cinema.
5. Get back to nature at The University Botanical Garden
For plants, trees and nature this is the place to go! Natural beauty is abundant in the University Botanical Gardens, which is ideal for romantic couples, or families with children.
6. Explore the Science and Technology Museums
There are tons of science and technology museums all across the city of Cambridge, so here are the best: the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Museum of Zoology, the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, the Museum of Classical Archaeology
7. Great St Mary’s Church
Climbing to the top of the Catholic Church is one of the highest points you can get in Cambridge to see the city from a bit higher above. Besides the exceptional views, you can learn about the history of the old Catholic church, where once even Erasmus preached.
Where to eat in Cambridge
Not many people know about it, but CAU now opens its doors for brunch. From the scrummy CAU full English to eggs Benedict with an Argentine twist, not forgetting the delicious healthy breakfast options of CAU granola with organic or frozen yoghurt and their classic steaks and eggs. Perfectly described by CAU themselves, “Start your day the CAU way.”
For me, brunch is the best thing about weekends, after lie-ins, of course, but it’s so much more than just a mealtime it is also an event, a way of meeting friends, boyfriends and family and kick-starting the day the right way. Brunch is no longer limited to the traditional English breakfast and a strong coffee. CAU is now doing just that, they’re shaking it up a little and putting on a brunch you’ll never forget.
Looking at the menu, it’s natural to assume that the stand-out breakfast on the menu would be the Steak and Eggs so I had the STEAK & EGGS priced at £9 which includes their tapa de cuadril flash grilled with 2 fried hen’s eggs. For good reason too; Cau’s signature tapa de cuadril steak is thinly cut and flash-grilled to perfection, served with two runny fried eggs. The meat was full of flavour and even after four strips and two eggs, I could’ve eaten more. It was divine!
Theo had the CAU BREAKFAST priced at £9.95 which includes pork & herb sausage, morcilla black pudding, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, smoked bacon and sourdough toast. However, the real highlight was the chimichurri served alongside the steak and eggs dish. It was a kick of flavour and the perfect complement against the smoky crisp meat.
With a friendly atmosphere, good tea, lots of choice and exceptional eggs, the brunch got a massive thumbs up from me. I was also told that compared to other chain restaurants they use the freshest and finest ingredients available and are proud of that fact! Only the best is good enough for CAU.
Check out my full review from CAU Cambridge.
“In the heart of Cambridge we’ve smoked, pulled, brined and seasoned classic BBQ food and paired it with beer & bourbon. It’s crammed into 2 floors of funky and industrial seating. Delivered Fast. Eat-in or take out. We now take bookings for groups of 10 or more.”
SmokeWorks plugs a gap between great fine dining and fantastic street food right in the centre of town – it’s great food, but quick and not too pricey. Their slogan is Slow Food. Fast. and that makes it the ultimate pre-theatre, post-work or shopping break lunch spot.
You can sit down, eat and be out again in half an hour if you need to be and can come away stuffed and content for under £15. Dining is informal, diner-style with a button to turn when you are ready to order so there’s no waiting around trying to catch a waiter’s eye. I really loved this touch it made sure service was quick and efficient.
Theo and I both had burgers, I had the pulled pork burger and Theo had the pulled chicken burger with sweet potato fries. Both of the burgers were amazing (we shared) and full of flavour. Something about the smoky pulled pork with the pickled sauce inside meant that one just wasn’t enough. I will certainly be going back again in search of those flavours!
Check out my full review from Smoke Works.
Where to stay in Cambridge
Travelodge Cambridge Orchard Park
Located 1.2 miles from the River Cam and only 4 miles from Cambridge, the Cambridge Orchard Park Hotel is an ideal choice for those seeking budget accommodation in this picturesque city for either business or leisure.
I stayed at the Travelodge Orchard Park this weekend with my partner in crime as we had tickets to see Clean Bandit at the Corn Exchange in the city centre. We wanted something quite central but still cheap and this hotel seemed to have the best of both. The hotel looked really lovely and the website also mentioned it was a new build hotel so I had really high expectations.
Cambridge Travelodge Orchard Park Hotel is very convenient for guests wanting to visit the city for a day trip or you can even take a trip to Milton Country Park and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings interlaced with over 2 miles of pathways, or shop till you drop in the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre. And if horse racing is your thing, Newmarket racecourse is only 13 miles away and only a short car journey.
It is a great location, however, it probably isn’t the best location if you don’t have your own mode of transport. It is a ten-minute walk to the nearest bus stop and then another 20 minute journey into the city centre, so if you have a car, take it.
The hotel is located on a brand new housing estate north of the city and is surrounded by modernised city living houses, apartments and buildings. The hotel surprisingly blends comfortably in to the housing estate and has its own car park around the back. It seems like a very nice, quiet estate and the hotel continued the modern look throughout the hotel.
The hotel has a fresh new look and features Travelodges new room design complete with Dreamer Bed so you can be sure of a great night’s sleep. The rooms are a large size with all the amenities you could need. The design of the room was simple and not particularly characteristic but then you do get what you pay for. However, the bed was super comfy and the room was extremely clean throughout.
Unfortunately, one thing that we keep finding in hotels and hostels, and again at this hotel, was the plug points close to the bed. In today’s modern world when we live on our phones, tablets and laptops it is vital for plug points to be dotted around the room and close to the bed. In our room the only two plug points we could find were on the desk so I had to sit on the floor for half an hour whilst my phone charged.
I really loved the bathroom it was super clean and had a bright red feature wall in the shower which brightened up the bathroom. The only thing that was annoying was the one towel they had provided for the two of us. We should have gone to reception and asked for another but we were in such a rush when leaving to go in to the city and then when we returned I was too tired to ask at reception.
Overall the stay was lovely – the hotel cost us £45 (we got a £5 discount voucher found online) and I feel like it really was worth it. I have always been a Premier Inn fan but after this impressive stay I will certainly stay with Travelodge again when booking a weekend break.
READ MORE: Staying at Travelodge Cambridge
Cambridge is a beautiful part of the world and now I am living and working here I am looking forward to exploring the area in the next few months!
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
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For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!
Photography and Technology
Here is a list of the technology I always travel with:
- Canon G7X Mark II
- Canon EOS M50 and lens
- GoPro Hero Black 7
- DJI Mavic Pro
- RØDE VideoMic GO On Microphone
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