Steeped in history and tradition, Cambridge boasts a myriad of world-class attractions to choose from.
Here are ten of our favourites:
1. University of Cambridge
No mention of Cambridge could be made without including its famous university. It may be a prestigious place of learning but many of Cambridge University’s colleges, which each have their own architectural style and quirky customs, welcome visitors. Trinity College is one of Cambridge’s biggest and most attractive, having been established in 1546 by Henry VIII, while St John’s College is the alma mater of six prime ministers and three saints.
2. Famous pubs.
The Eagle is Cambridge’s most well-known pub, having been the watering hole of choice for many a renowned academic, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists Crick and Watson, credited with discovering DNA. Or try the Granta, which sits in a pretty setting, with a terrace overhanging a mill pond. Fort St George, next to the River Cam is the ideal summertime pub and recently hosted royal visitors the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge while St Radegund may be the city’s smallest pub but it has an impressive selection of real ales that belies its size.
As befits such an esteemed university city, Cambridge is home to some of the globe’s best museums. Fitzwilliam Museum, known locally simply as the Fitz, is a mammoth neoclassical pile which houses priceless treasures, artwork and antiquities spanning centuries and civilisations. The Scott Polar Research Institute has an excellent museum charting the adventures of Amundsen, Nansen and Scott himself.
4. Strawberry Fair
Taking place every June, the Strawberry Fair is a Cambridge institution. Run entirely by volunteers affectionately known as the Strawberry Fairies, it is the most popular free music and arts event in Cambridge. Held on Midsummer Common, the Strawberry Fair is a family-friendly feast for music lovers of all ages.
No trip to Cambridge could be complete without punting along the River Cam – it’s like visiting Venice without enjoying a gondola ride. There are lots of companies offering guided tours or self hire punts, including Let’s Go Punting which offers a chauffeur service or, if you prefer to be captain of your own boat, Scudamores gives you instruction in the art of punting before letting you loose on the College Backs or the Upper River. From here, you’ll see unparalleled views of the colleges, gardens and parklands that butt up against the river.
6. The Orchard Tea Garden Grantchester
For relaxation, The Orchard just can’t be beaten. Time seems to stand still in this genteel setting as the rest of the world rushes by. Planted in 1868, the orchard became a tea room by accident when a group of students asked if they could take tea in its picturesque grounds. Now more famous people have taken tea here than anywhere else in the world, including Rupert Brooke, best known for his poem The Soldier, who lodged at Orchard House in the early 20th century.
Whatever time of year you visit, you’ll find something happening in Cambridge. At the beginning of September is the colourful Dragon Boat Festival, with racing every 10 minutes whereas later in the month, movie buffs are in for a treat with the Cambridge Film Festival, launched in 1977. In October, the Octoberfest Beer Festival emulates the famous Munich Beer Festival on a smaller scale.
8. Fine dining
Cambridge has a growing reputation for the quality of its cuisine. Named the best restaurant in the East of England by The Sunday Times, Midsummer House is the only establishment to boat two Michelin stars in East Anglia. Head chef Daniel Clifford cooks up a choice of tasting menus that make the most of scrumptious local produce. Alimentum has one Michelin star and is known for seasonally-dictated menu and slow cooking techniques.
9. Historical attractions
With evidence of settlements in Cambridge from pre Roman times, it’s no wonder there is so much history to soak up. Wonder around its narrow cobbled streets and you’ll spot medieval buildings aplenty. Or take a tour of Cambridge’s churches. St Bene’t’s tower is the oldest building in the county while The Round Church is one of only five surviving round churches in the country and The Leper Chapel is one of England’s finest examples of Norman Architecture.
Shopaholics will truly be spoilt for choice in the city. Because it’s so compact, you can easily indulge in a spot of retail therapy without any danger of sore feet. Stroll around the cobbled Market Square, where you’ll find everything from artisan cheese to vintage clothing. Try Rose Crescent, Trinity Street, Magdalene Street, Bridge Street and King Street for independent boutiques offering unique buys. Every Saturday, the All Saints Garden Art and Craft Market sets up stall opposite Trinity College while Mill road has a more bohemian vibe with a diverse range of unique shops, restaurants and cafés. If you’re looking to spend the weekend and enjoy all the activies, then why not stay in a luxury serviced apartment, such as CityStay who offer all the modern equirements for staying in the beautiful city!