This week we’re off to a city that’s home to one of the most famous University’s in the world…Cambridge!
Welcome to Cambridge, a city where the charm of history meets the innovation of the future. Famed for its prestigious university and beautiful collegiate buildings, Cambridge is a treasure trove of cobbled streets, scenic river views, and lush green spaces. Whether you're punting on the River Cam, exploring the wonders of science at a quirky museum, or enjoying the culinary delights of a vibrant food scene, this iconic city offers a unique blend of intellectual brilliance and old-world British charm. In this issue, we'll uncover the best-kept secrets and must-see attractions for any traveller looking to enrich their visit with both knowledge and unforgettable experiences.
What you need to know…
🚆 Travel time: Getting to Cambridge is straightforward, with efficient rail connections from major UK cities. Direct trains from London King's Cross will have you in the heart of Cambridge in about 45 minutes to an hour, while services from other cities like Birmingham and Manchester offer frequent but longer journeys. The nearest airports - Stansted, Luton, and Heathrow - provide easy access from international and domestic flights, with Stansted being just a 30-minute train ride away. By car, Cambridge is well-connected by the M11 and A14, providing direct routes from both London and the Midlands.
🌡️ Weather: Today it’s 11°c and cloudy.
😋 Must-try dishes: A visit to Cambridge offers a chance to indulge in the city's culinary delights alongside its scenic beauty. No trip is truly complete without a taste of the Cambridge Burnt Cream, an indulgent treat with a rich custard base and a crisply caramelised top, reputedly first enjoyed within the walls of Trinity College. Add a slice of the Duke of Cambridge Tart, a local specialty with a frangipane filling and a raspberry jam layer, to your afternoon tea for a truly Cambridge experience. And for those with a love of savoury flavours, the Cambridge Sausage, with its unique blend of herbs and spices, is a must-try; perfect grilled and placed in a crusty roll or as part of a traditional English breakfast.
🚴 Getting around: Cambridge is a city best experienced at a leisurely pace - and on two wheels. It’s renowned for its cycling culture, with ample bike hire shops and dedicated lanes throughout. For those who prefer not to cycle, the compact city centre is easily navigable on foot, and electric buses provide a green alternative to get around.
💬 Key phrases & slang:
Alright? (Hello, How are you?)
The backs (The super pretty green area west of the river)
The other place (Oxford University)
Boatie (Enthusiastic College or University boat club rower)
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What to do in Cambridge?
Visit Britain's brainiest cemetery, or enjoy a roast in a box at the cinema…
Most popular Cambridge attractions…
I’ve started including these suggestions to ensure you’re getting a complete guide, particularly if you’ve never visited here before.
🏛️ The hallowed halls of the University of Cambridge aren't just a centre for learning; they're a chronicle of the academic endeavours that have shaped the world. Visiting the King's College Chapel, with its awe-inspiring Gothic architecture and the renowned Kings College Choir, is an experience drenched in beauty and history. Wander through the colleges and you’ll find grounds and buildings that tell the stories of scholars, monarchs, and poets who walked before you. Tip: Don't miss the chance to see the historic 'Cambridge University Library,' which houses an extraordinary collection of manuscripts and texts.
🛶 Punting along the River Cam provides a tranquil yet picturesque means of appreciating Cambridge’s charm. Gliding past the backs of the colleges, you'll gain a unique view of their stunning architecture and lush gardens. Renting a punt or joining a tour can give you an idyllic and quintessentially Cambridge experience, complete with the tales of the city and university's history as told by knowledgeable guides.
🕵️♂️ For a dose of mystery and history, the Cambridge Spy Tour takes you on a journey through espionage tales and the city’s connections to secret service. This walking tour reveals the more enigmatic chapters of Cambridge’s past and the university’s role in international intrigue.
🎨 The Fitzwilliam Museum is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts, displaying an impressive range of artifacts and artworks from around the world. Entry is free, offering access to vast collections from the ancient world, medieval manuscripts, and masterpieces by the likes of Titian and Rembrandt, set within a majestic neoclassical building.
🌿 The Cambridge University Botanic Garden is a lush sanctuary of over 8,000 plant species, designed to inspire and educate. Wander through landscapes ranging from glasshouse rainforests to seasonal blooms, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic.
🕍 Explore the Round Church, one of the city’s oldest buildings, now hosting an exhibition that recounts the founding and history of Cambridge. The Church stands as a testament to the city's medieval roots and offers a quiet space to ponder the flow of time.
My Insider tips…
These are my suggestions on the best non-touristy things to do. Here the focus is on sharing unique, unusual, quirky and amazing things to see and do.
🤸♀️ Experience the thrill of the circus at Cambridge Community Circus! Learn juggling, aerial acrobatics, and more in a welcoming environment. It's a fantastic way to have fun, get fit, and try something completely different. Why not swing by and learn to fly? It’s a unique skill and a great story to tell.
🏊♀️ For a refreshing dip, head to Jesus Green Lido. One of the few remaining open-air pools in the country (and the longest in Britain), it's a historic spot for a summer swim or a cool plunge on a hot day. It's less crowded than many indoor pools and provides a taste of the great British summer with a community feel.
🎥 Enchanted Cinema in Cambridge offers an intimate outdoor movie-watching experience under the stars. With a line-up of classics and blockbusters, cosy blankets, and gourmet snacks, it's the perfect evening for cinema lovers looking for a magical night out. Catch a film in the great outdoors and enjoy a night to remember. They’re streaming some Christmas classics in December (luckily indoors) and will be serving a roast in a box!
🕰️ Check out the Corpus Clock for a slice of contemporary innovation. This intriguing timepiece, with its dramatic design and gold-plated disc, represents an impressive intersection of art and science. Pay a visit to ponder time's swift passage in a setting steeped in academic achievement.
📚 Visit Britain's brainiest cemetery, the Ascension Burial Ground, where many notable Cambridge academics rest including the great philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and Nobel Prize winners such as Sir John Cockcroft (Physicist) and Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (Biochemist). It's a peaceful place for contemplation amid the inspiring stories of past scholars. Walk the grounds for a quiet and thoughtful experience connecting with Cambridge's intellectual legacy.
This week our premium members got access to 6 more insider tips, including a mysterious man-made cave, sub-aqua adventures, adrenaline in the countryside and fun scavenger hunts. Our premium guides also include pricing details for every recommendation.
Where to stay in Cambridge?
First up…Save 💷
🏨 IBIS Cambridge Central Station is a modern and economical choice right in the pulse of the city, just a stone's throw from the railway station and a short stroll to the university's colleges. This hotel is known for its bright, inviting rooms and friendly service, making it an excellent pick for travellers looking for convenience and value. Why stay here? Enjoy great proximity to transportation hubs and a vibrant social scene right in the hotel's lobby.
🎓 The Fellows House Cambridge, Curio Collection by Hilton, welcomes guests with its blend of sophistication and homely charm. Situated within easy reach of the city’s storied colleges and bustling streets, this elegant hotel offers a luxurious home-away-from-home experience. It's the perfect spot for those who appreciate the finer things, with spacious rooms and thoughtful amenities catering to families, academics, and professionals alike. Why stay here? Get a touch of Cambridge prestige and the comfort of Curio’s reliable luxury.
🎓 The Graduate Hotel Cambridge is a stately retreat that prides itself on its collegiate spirit and elegant comfort. Perfectly positioned on the banks of the River Cam and a short walk to the city’s iconic university, the Graduate weaves the richness of Cambridge’s heritage with thoughtful, scholastic-inspired design. Offering a variety of accommodations, it caters to those who desire a stay that’s as steeped in academic tradition as it is in luxury. Why stay here? Get an immersive Cambridge experience that celebrates the storied legacy of the city with modern flair.
Readers of our premium guide were recommended 3 extra hotels, as well as my recommendations on the best cafés, bars and restaurants in Cambridge.