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6th Apr 2017 12:00am | By Tilly-Jane Kidman
Are you planning a trip to the UK? Or perhaps you’re already here! Either way, there’s one destination that you simply must add to your travel itinerary.
Cambridge is a beautiful city situated in the East of England and home to one of the most famous universities on the planet! It recently ranked in The Sunday Times 20 best places to live in the UK (number 3 to be precise) and is regularly hailed as one of the most picturesque cities in the country. So what’s so special about Cambridge? OK, perhaps I’m biased having grown up here since birth but I can say that a visit to Cambridge certainly won’t be a waste of time!
As a city regular I can definitely offer a few inside tips and all of the hottest places to visit – read on to find out the best things to do whilst you’re in the city…
It had to be mentioned as let’s face it Cambridge is heavily associated with punting! So we’ll get this one out of the way first. Punting is very much a Cambridge tradition (although I’m sure its rival Oxford would disagree) and you definitely won’t be able to run far from the hordes of touts that will try to tempt you onto the river numerous times a day. Make sure you use a reputable punting company such as Scudamores, and you can usually bag yourself a discount if you book in advance. Be sure to pack a box of fresh strawberries and bottle of champagne to make the journey along the river extra enjoyable.
The city’s central market is fairly small but you’re sure to find a gem or two. The olive stall is a particular favourite of mine but you can also find delicious Caribbean food, fresh bread, clothing, records and flowers. I try and get there first thing on a Saturday morning before it gets too busy to pick up produce such as vegetables and a bunch of tulips in the spring time.
The University’s Botanic Gardens are particularly beautiful in the summer time and well worth a visit. The heritage listed garden features a diverse range of plants and tropical houses, as well as various events throughout the year. Even if you’re not particularly green-fingered it’s a good way to relax and spend an hour or two unwinding and meandering around the peaceful setting. A real escape from the city centre, and simply stunning on a warm summers day.
The vegan lifestyle is becoming mainstream as more and more individuals decide to adopt a healthy plant-based way of living. Cambridge is a vegan friendly city and there are regular vegan markets and events held at the Guildhall which usually ask for just a couple of pounds for entry. For a delicious lunch head to the Rainbow Café on Kings Parade or try out the latest opening Stem & Glory for more plant-based goodness. If you’re stuck for time then the falafel van on Market Street offers three delicious vegan options, alternatively the Revital health food shop sells fresh vegan sausage rolls, brownies and cakes! See, I told you there were plenty of options…
If you’re coming to Cambridge then you don’t want to miss the chance to take a peek inside Kings College Chapel. This beautiful Gothic structure was built between 1446 and 1515 and deserves to be appreciated. Book onto one of the official guided tours to be permitted access inside one of Cambridge’s most prestigious college buildings! It really is a masterpiece, and almost takes your breath away.
Did you know the Eagle is one of the oldest pubs in Cambridge? It dates back to the 16th Century and boasts a fascinating interior, be sure to check out the RAF bar which has the signatures of airmen from World War II on the ceiling. Popular with all walks of life, this is a favourite with tourists, students and locals. It can get on the busy side, but the courtyard is a lovely place to enjoy a beverage in the summer months. The pub also offers a popular food menu, ideal if you’re looking for typical English pub grub!
Spend an afternoon appreciating one of Cambridge’s most beautiful buildings, the Fitzwilliam Museum! This stunning neo-classical building is an architectural dream, and home to antiques, art and illuminated manuscripts. Entry is free and you spend an afternoon mooching around and hiding from any sudden downpours – something we’re very much accustom to in the UK. The museum itself is conveniently placed right in the city centre, just up the road from the Grand Arcade shopping centre.
Cambridge is a fairly small city in comparison to the likes of London, so if you’re staying for longer than a weekend you might find that you want to explore further afield. Newmarket is a local market town, and known as the home of horse-racing. If you’re a fan of the sport you can book yourself onto a tour of the racing headquarters and learn all about the history, heritage and culture. Just behind the racing tracks there’s a conveniently located spa and hotel, offering delicious afternoon tea if you fancy something sweet!
Fitzbillies is an old-school style bakery located on Trumpington Street and on Bridge Street, both in the heart of the city centre. Known for its famous Chelsea buns, this bakery is often swarming with locals and tourists wanting to get their hands on some delicious cakes. They also provide a picnic hamper service, perfect if you’re heading over to the river for a day of punting, you’ll need some fuel after all – it’s a lot harder than it looks (trust me)!
There’s much to be discovered in the beautiful city of Cambridge, and your time spent there will make memories to last a lifetime! Be sure to check out my suggestions, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment or tweet me @tillyjayne_!
Author: Tilly-Jayne is a UK based travel & lifestyle blogger (and most recently vlogger!), find her over at tillyjayne.com for all her latest adventures.