Destination Friday: Cambridge

March 21, 2008 at 11:46 am 1 comment

Cambridge, long an important university town in England, has inspired the likes of Darwin, Newton, Steven Hawking, and many of the Monty Python gang.  It’s a gorgeous little town steeped in history and tradition.  I really enjoyed my visit back in 2001, so it’s my pick for this Destination Friday. 


Images from Wikipedia & Fitzbillies.

Getting There
This is, yet again, an easy day trip from London.  You might also consider visiting en route from London to points north or vice versa.  Trains (National Rail and First Capital Connect) run every 30 minutes from London’s King’s Cross and Liverpool Street stations (45 minute/1 hr 14 minute ride, from £14 one way).  National Express offers coach service (2+ hours, from £5 one way).

Some tour companies, like Evan Evans (£69pp), offer day trips from London in combination with Oxford – a busy day, but not a terrible way to see both if you’re short on time.

What to See/Do
How: Again, I’d recommend a guided walking tour – let your guide do all the work of explaining the history of the place (e.g., that the university opened in 1209) and making sure you see the top sites.  VisitCambridge offers a 2 hour walking tour combined with a 45 minute punt tour for just £20.  They have some other options as well, including Friday night ghost tours.  If you’d rather go at your own speed and DIY, check out TouristTracks’ offerings (download an MP3 containing 2 guided walks).  Punting is still recommended though!  You might also consider a ride on the City Sightseeing bus; it’s one of those hop-on, hop-off deals.

The university:  Colleges are open to the public at limited times, and the most popular ones chage admission.  Make sure you’re not visiting during exams, else you’ll be disappointed.  King’s College is one of the most popular to visit and has one of the top choirs in the country (£4.50).  Climb to the top of the Great St. Mary’s church for great views of the King’s College Chapel.  Other famous colleges include Queens’, Trinity, and St. Johns.

The Backs are gardens behind Clare, Trinity, and St. Johns.  It’s a nice place to walk along the river.

On some days, you can visit the All Saints Garden Art & Craft Market.  Local artisans create stained glass, jewelry, pottery, and more.

Ede & Ravenscroft is a robe shop that opened in 1689.  They make robes for the coronation ceremonies of British kings and queens.

The Fitzwilliam Museum is a good place to see art from around the world.  The collection includes masterpieces by Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso and some 20th century art.  The neo-classical building itself is an interesting thing to see as well.

Kettle’s Yard is a fun museum to visit if only for the entry experience – you have to pull a rope to ring the bell to be let in!  Check out their website to see what’s on.

There are two bridges that are especially worth seeing – the Mathematical Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs.  Oh, did you think this was in Venice?  Cambridge has one too!  Cambridge’s Bridge of Sighs is named after the one in Venice and is also a covered bridge.

Where to Eat
If you have a sweet tooth, head for Fitzbillies, serving Chelsea buns and cakes since 1922.  For other suggestions for places to eat (and where to stay), check out WikiTravel.


Entry filed under: CenturyClub, Destinations, Europe, UK.

NTR: A sweet lion TTT: Travel toothbrush

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Honeymoon in London — Elizabeth Anne Designs  |  May 13, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    […] out Feisty Tourist’s blog for more amazing tips on destinations such as Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick Castle, Leeds Castle, Windsor, Stonehenge, and Salisbury, Brighton, Greenwich, and […]


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