As much as I love London it is sometimes nice to get away from the busy city. Cambridge is the perfect place for a short trip away from London.
Cambridge is one of the most iconic cities in England. It is a beautiful and historic city and home to the famous Cambridge University. It is easy to see why it such a popular destination for those looking for a short break away.
Getting There: The city of Cambridge sits on the River Cam and is about 50 miles north of London. There are a number of ways to travel to Cambridge depending on where you are coming from.
For those who are coming from abroad Cambridge is actually home to an international airport where some airlines including British Airways fly into.
If you are travelling from London then you can easily get a train from Liverpool Street Station or Kings Cross Station using the Great Northern or Greater Anglia train service. Trains depart throughout the day and prices vary depending on when you travel and take around an hour.
National Express Coaches also run a number of services from London to Cambridge throughout the day. Again prices vary depending on when you travel.
You can also drive to Cambridge from London – which is how we decided to travel. The drive takes around an hour and a half. Before heading to Cambridge I had a look online for parking in Cambridge and found that parking in the city centre can be difficult to find and very expensive. Instead we decided to use the Park and Ride service. I found it to be the cheapest and easiest way to get to Cambridge from London. There are 5 park and ride locations around Cambridge, depending on where you are travelling from. Parking costs £1 for up to 18 hours. The bus ride into the centre of Cambridge costs £3. You can only use the bus for one ride to the car park into the city centre and back but can otherwise use the buses to travel throughout the city using the same ticket for no additional cost. The buses run 7 days a week and arrive usually every 10 to 20 minutes. There are lots of great deals to check out like children travelling for free with an adult ticket. For more information on the Park and Ride service check out their website – http://cambridgeparkandride.info/index.shtml
Accommodation: If you are looking to stay overnight in Cambridge there are a range of different accommodation options including hotels, hostels and air b and b. Another great accommodation option that is available during the students holiday is being able to stay in student accommodation within the university halls. This is a great and unique opportunity to experience Cambridge University life.
Things to do and see: There is so much to do and see in Cambridge but it all depends on how long you are planning to spend there. You can stay for as long as a week or as little as an afternoon. The great thing about Cambridge is that you can feel like you have been on holiday even if you just spend half a day there.
Of course the most iconic places to visit in Cambridge are the colleges that make up Cambridge University. 31 colleges make up the University of Cambridge, each with separate grounds including gardens, dormitories, chapels, dining halls, and classrooms. You can wander around the streets of Cambridge and visit the different colleges. Some of the most well known colleges are King’s College, Trinity College and St. John’s College. Each college has different rules regarding visitors. I would recommend checking individual college entry details on their websites before visiting.
Cambridge University was founded in 1209 and has a list of successful alumni including David Attenborough, Alfred Tennyson, Sylvia Plath, Quentin Blake and Jawaharlal Nehru.
The university has also been the filming location for a number of movies and TV shows including Netflix’s The Crown.
Punting on the River Cam
The tradition of punting is one which has been associated with Cambridge for many years. A punt is a type of boat which is used in shallow and narrow waters like those passing through Cambridge. Punting through the River Cam offers some incredible views of the most iconic places in Cambridge including King’s College Chapel, The Wren Library at Trinity College and the Bridge of Sighs. Prices vary depending on factors like whether you are happy to share the boat with other people or want to steer the boat yourself. There are a number of fully licensed punt operators that are available within the city. It is worth mentioning that there are also illegal operators that you need to be careful of. To see a list of official operators check out the official website – https://www.visitcambridge.org/things-to-do/punting-bus-and-bike-tours/punting-tours
Cambridge can be very busy during the summer months so you may have to book the punt ride in advance to ensure availability.
View of King’s College Chapel from the River Cam
Bridge of Sighs
Another popular way of travelling through Cambridge is cycling. Cambridge is known known by some as the ‘city of cycling’. Cycling around Cambridge is really easy and there are a number of different cycle hire places throughout the city. It is relatively flat and has an extensive cycle route network for all ages and abilities to enjoy.
If you are not looking to get on a boat or cycle then you can easily see the city by foot. There are some amazing locations and architecture scattered throughout the cobbled streets of the city. You can easily navigate through the city centre and visit a range of museums, churches, green spaces and shopping areas.
Food: Scattered throughout the city are a range of places to eat from well known restaurants to independent and quirky cafes. There are a number of green spaces to utilise in Cambridge and when we visited it was the perfect weather to have a picnic. We ended up going to a supermarket and getting food for a picnic in one of the gardens. So therefore I cannot comment on the halal food options in Cambridge. I did however do a quick search online and found that there are a few different halal options in Cambridge if you are looking.
Masjid: Cambridge Masjid is also about a 15 minute walk from the city centre and is the perfect place to pray if your visiting Cambridge.
For more information about the Masjid be sure to check out their website – http://www.cambridge-mosque.com/
Final Thoughts: Cambridge is such a lovely city to visit and one I would highly recommend visiting especially if you are looking for a short break away from London. The city has so much to offer in way of character, history and architecture and definitely worth a visit! There is so much to and see do in Cambridge I would recommend checking out the official website to help you plan your trip according to how long you are visiting for and what you enjoy doing – https://www.visitcambridge.org/