*Updated March 23rd 2020*
It’s March and it’s warm and sunny outside, although maybe not as warm as it should be at this time of year…
Winter is over and spring has finally started to gain some traction. The never-ending rain the seemed the characterise the most recent winter has stopped, at least for the time being.
Under normal circumstances we’d be telling you that this is a great time to pay a visit to Cambridge. Of course, these are not normal circumstances.
Here are a load of good reasons why you should visit Cambridge this year, starting once things have gone back to normal, whenever that will be.
Many of the events mentioned below may well be cancelled in 2020, so please check the relevant websites for more information before planning a visit. In the meantime though, please stay at home.
1. Punting. Obvs
Yeah, okay, so we’ll hold our hands up to being a tiny bit biased on this one, but trust us, going for a boat ride along the river Cam is actually really amazing whatever time of year it is. This used to be number 2 on this list but we decided that it deserves to be number 1.
Plus, in the winter it’s much quieter, there are no pesky leaves on the trees to obscure the view and the light is great for taking photos. So just wrap up warm, bring a Thermos and some thermals and you’ll be sorted. For more information on going punting with us visit this page.
3. Cambridge is beautiful
Again, you might accuse us of being a bit biased here, but trust us, we’ve done our research and visited ‘the other place’ and it’s not a patch on Cambridge. Still don’t believe us?
Have a look at our gallery, or check out this video evidence for further proof:
4. The economic situation
Let’s face it, the last few years really haven’t been great for the value of the £ compared to other currencies. If you’re from the UK, then the cost of going abroad has gone up and if you’re from outside of the UK then the cost of visiting the UK has come down.
It doesn’t look like this is about to change any time soon either. So, whichever way you look at it, your best bet is to spend your hard-earned money right here in Cambridge – you know it makes sense!
The age of the stay-cation is upon us. Plus, you don’t have to worry about which colour your passport is, or whether your favourite airline is still in business (does anyone have a favourite airline?)
5. Celebrity endorsements
That’s right, you heard us. The list of famous and notable individuals who studied at Cambridge, or have graced this fair city with their presence is extensive. In years gone by we’ve had the likes of
- the Beckhams
- William Shatner
- Amanda Holden
- Stephen Fry
- Welsh Rugby international Jamie Huw Roberts
all going punting.
Great minds such as
- Stephen Hawking
- Sir Isaac Newton
- Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
- Rosalind Franklin
- Mel Giedroyc
- Jimmy Carr
(to name but a few) have all studied or worked at Cambridge University. Every day, the world leaders, ground-breaking scientists and tax dodging comedians of the future are wandering the streets and frequenting the pubs of this magical, medieval city.
6. You can get around on foot (or by bike)…
…and most of the time, you’re actually better off if you do.
Cambridge’s expensive parking, one way systems, narrow medieval streets and pedestrianised city centre make driving around town a frustrating experience, even for the most hardened of locals. Fortunately (despite its rapid expansion in recent years), it is still quite a compact city, and not only is it quite easy, it’s often quicker to navigate your way around on foot, or better yet by bicycle. The lack of any serious hills also means you won’t need to be a hardened Lycra fanatic in order to feel comfortable doing so.
You might not necessarily associate Cambridge with festivals. However…
- Every year there is a world renowned Folk festival held in Cherry Hinton. This year it’s on from the 30th July – 2nd August. For more details see https://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/folk-festival
- Not forgetting, for the real ale fans amongst you, the Cambridge Beer Festival from Monday 18th – Saturday 23rd May on Jesus Green – more info can be found on their website
- There’s also the Cambridge Big Weekend a free two day event on Parker’s Piece (the home of modern football, fyi) from Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th July
- The Cambridge Shakespeare festival – although we can’t find any dates for this year yet, this is always an excellent event worth checking out. Keep an eye on their website for more details
8. Did we mention how beautiful Cambridge is?
We did? Okay, well just in case you needed a reminder:
9. There are loads of places to stay…
…and to suit all budgets as well. Cambridge offers accommodation ranging from B&B, Travelodge/Premier Inn style hotels, boutique hotels such as the Varsity hotel, Air BnB accommodation, camp sites (probably only advisable during the warmer months!) and, outside of term times, the Cambridge colleges even offer B&B style accommodation in their rooms.
That’s right, as well as visiting the famous colleges, you can actually stay in them too! Check out our places to stay in Cambridge page for more information on that and to make a booking enquiry. So, with so much to see and do, why limit yourself to just a day trip?
10. There are plenty of great places to eat…
Much like places to stay, there is a huge variety of places to get food from in Cambridge. You should be able to find something to suit both your taste and budget, no matter what.
From Mill Road’s plethora of kebab shops (many other restaurants are available on Mill Rd too, it has to be said) and the now legendary Gardenias in Rose Crescent, through to at least one Michelin starred restaurant (until quite recently there were two).
There’s also a variety of street food vendors (last year the Mill Road feast was excellent) and numerous coffee shops – there are so many options that we would have to write an entire blog post just devoted to them to stand a chance of covering them all. Actually, there’s an idea for another time…
11. So much green space…
Yes, Cambridge is a city, but most of the time it really doesn’t feel like it. As well as the numerous green spaces in the city centre itself (Jesus Green, Midsummer common – hello cows!
Parker’s Piece, etc), you can easily get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre by heading out towards Fen Ditton or Grantchester Meadows for some peace and quiet and country air (and Jeffrey Archer’s house if you go to Grantchester…).
Prince Charles used to park his helicopter here:
12. We’ve got a singing bin man…
Yep, that’s right, we’ve got a world renowned busker (not necessarily renowned for his singing, it has to be said…) who plays guitar from inside a bin… it has to be seen to be believed. You can usually find him roughly opposite the Corpus Chronophage (time-eater) on King’s Parade.
Not to mention the Chronophage itself (big shiny gold thing with the ugly looking insect on top). It’s actually a clock and cost a £million to make.
13. You can have high tea in the Orchards
Primarily something that should be done on a nice day, no visit to Cambridge would be complete without a visit to the Orchard team rooms in Grantchester. For more details see their website
14. There are loads of free museums
There are countless museums (okay, you could probably count them, if you really wanted to) in Cambridge and many (most) of them do not charge an entry fee. Check out
- the Fitzwilliam Museum
- the Cambridge Folk Museum
- the Whipple Museum of the History of Science
- the Cambridge Museum of Technology for a start
Offering something for everyone, no matter what the weather.
15. You’ll be standing on the shoulders of giants
You can have a drink in the pub where the discovery of DNA was first announced (the Eagle on Bene’t St), you can look at the apple tree that is closely related to the one that invented gravity (yeah, we know that Sir Isaac Newton got all the credit but really the tree is the real hero here).
As you wander through the ancient streets remember that you are following in the footsteps of 800+ years of history and achievement.
16. It’s pretty…
17. Really, really pretty…
Oops, nearly forgot…
18. And there’s a really, really big tree…
19. It boasts one of the most iconic views in the UK (and, the world)
1. Cambridge e-Luminate Festival?
We’ve left this in for now, although we’re not currently sure if it will ever happen again.
Certainly there was no festival in 2020 and their website hasn’t been updated since the 2018 festival.
If you’re not sure what that is, check out our blog posts from the 2016 and 2018 festivals
As soon as we get more information about whether it is on this year, we’ll update this post. In the meantime you can check their website https://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/e-luminate
There’s other stuff, like the fact it’s really easy to get to Cambridge by train from London; it has its own airport, etc, etc, but we won’t bore you with all of that stuff, because if you haven’t been convinced by now, then telling you about the excellent transport links probably isn’t going to do it!
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