What are some of your favorite memories of Cambridge?
Punting along the River Cam in a boat full of good food, drinks, and company! There are boat rental companies in the city center, and you can even rent a guide to punt and share the history of the city with you. There are great green spaces to stop at along the river where you can hop off for a picnic or game.
How would you spend 36 hours in Cambridge?
I would disembark at the rail station and take a quick taxi ride to the city center. Once there, I’d stroll around the quaint shops before heading into the central market square. Dozens of stalls with locally-produced foods and crafts are on sale, and bargaining is possible and fun! For lunch I’d head to The Eagle before starting my tour of the city’s exquisite colleges! Be sure to hit St. Johns College and Trinity College! I’d round out the day with a dinner at The Chop House and a drink at Hotel Du Vin. The next day, it’s all about the River Cam! Go to the nearest Tesco or Sainsbury and pick up fresh fruit, cheese, and a bottle of wine. Find a punting company and enjoy being pushed up and down the river while soaking up the beauty of the campus. Have friends to join? Then leave the guide behind and punt away on your own! There are many lovely green patches to stop at along the way, in case you want to hop out and stretch for a bit!
What kind of practical information should first-time visitors know about Cambridge?
Cambridge (and all of the UK) uses the pound, not the euro. You’ll find loads of Barclays, HSBC, and Santander ATMs around for any cash withdrawals. Food can be pricey in this city, but you can offset nice meals at The Chop House or Hotel Du Vin with lunches at Subway or Nandos.
Getting to Cambridge is straightforward, as there are coach bus stops at Parker’s Piece and a rail stop in the city (with frequent trains to and from London). Cabs are reasonable, especially when split with others, but the bus system is also very efficient. Whenever possible, take public transport (and be sure to cut costs by getting return tickets!).
If you’re staying in Cambridge for a while, definitely get a bike. Cycling is by far the most popular way to get around town! In fact, there are so many cyclists that you’ll need to keep an eye out for them as you walk through the streets.
What are some precautions that people should take while exploring Cambridge?
I’ve always felt very relaxed and at ease in Cambridge. Like most cities, it’s best to go out in groups. There’s a major hospital in town (Addenbrooke’s) in case of any health issues.
Any other indispensable pieces of advice to share?
Cambridge is less rainy, but more windy than London. A jacket or windbreaker, especially when cycling, is strongly advised.
Perhaps one of the most popular pubs in town, this site marks the spot where Watson and Crick celebrated their discovery of the double helix! The Eagle offers up a warm and cozy interior with multiple mahogany bars. Food here is good, and I highly recommend the dessert platter! Arrive early in the night though; this place gets very packed early on!
Cambridge is home to one of the finest universities in the world, and the many colleges that make up the University of Cambridge are stunning! I recommend tours of Trinity College and my favorite, St. John’s College. Be careful not to step on the grass or else you may be asked to leave by the porters!
The River Cam snakes through Cambridge and offers a lovely alternate view to the city. Punts can be seen going up and down the river throughout the day. Inside the boats you’ll spot family, friends, or close-cuddled lovers, most washing down strawberries with Pims or wine!