Cambridge, England

Chapel of King's College

Cambridge is a large city that is home to the world famous university. As in Oxford the University of Cambridge is actually a series of colleges around the River Cam. Punting, of course, is a great way to see the numerous historical colleges and other buildings.

River Cam (At Bridge Street)

The town centre has been largely untouched by development with many of the old buildings still in place (though the Lion Yard shopping centre is the exception to this). The area can get very busy on a nice summer day when the tourists with their cameras come out in force.

Front Court of King's College

The city has it's traditions including the boat races throughout the year, particularly the “bumps” which are held on the river Cam.

City Bumps 2006

Bikes and Posters

Getting Around

Getting around the city is quite straightforward – If you don't have a car. Bicycle paths criss-cross the city everywhere with a concerted effort by the local city council to encourage the use of bicycles (which are absolutely everywhere). Local bus transport is fine with regular bus service to/from the train station though, to be honest, the city center is only a 15-20 minute walk.

Bike Path (Near Cherry Hinton)

There are several very large park and ride facilities located on the outskirts which offer frequent bus services into the city at reasonable prices (pay for the bus but not the parking).

Entertainment Venues

There are only a few entertainment venues in the city with most of them being quite small.

  • ADC Theatre - A small local theatre specialising in university productions and is home to the world-famous Footlights comedy troupe (where comedians such as Douglas Adams, John Cleese, and Stephen Fry first began their careers). Not a lot of seats and a definite “university” feel to the whole thing (particularly the university prices in the bar…). Park Street, Cambridge - (01223) 300 085
  • Arts Picturehouse - The favourite for film aficionados in Cambridge this is also home to the annual Cambridge Film Festival (July). Though the screens are quite small the seats are very good and the sound is exceptional (particularly in screen 2). Also a very good bar. 38-39 St Andrew's Street, Cambridge - (08707) 55 12 42
  • The Cambridge Corn Exchange - Providing live entertainment to the city the only thing about the Corn Exchange is that it is an auditorium and not a proper “theatre” so seats are all on the level (and movable). Wheeler Street, Cambridge - (01223) 357 851

Back Streets

  • Cineworld - Marginally better than the Vue, this one is in the Cambridge Leisure Centre (near the train station). Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Way, Cambridge - (0871) 200 2000
  • Vue Cinemas - A chain of cinemas, this one in the Grafton Centre. As you might expect. The Grafton Centre, East Road, Cambridge - (08712) 240 240

Annual Events

Throughout the year there are various festivals, of particular note are:

  • Cambridge Folk Festival (July) - A very large music festival held on the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall over the course of four days this brings lovers of folk descending into the city.

Folk Festival Accommodation

Folk Festival Stage 2

  • Strawberry Fair (June) - The first festival of the year, this has developed a bit of a reputation with arrests made for drug possession every year held in Midsummer Common. It is one of the few music festivals that is still free to get into.
  • Apple Day (October) - A local event but really quite unique with tastings of very unusual varieties of apple and, of course, loads of other apple-related food and drink.

In July there is also the “Summer in the City Big Weekend” held in Parker's Piece which is also worth a visit with a few live stages, a fun fair and market. Always a bit crowd.

Big Weekend 2006

Attractions

There are quite a number of things to see in Cambridge, in particular, most colleges can be visited by the general public though they do tend to charge for admission (between ?2-?5).

The market in the town square is on most days but with most activity occurring on Friday and Saturday which can also be accompanied by various buskers.

Market Square

The tourist information centre is located just around the corner from the market square (opposite the Corn Exchange).

There are also numerous parks all around the city including quite close to the city centre (including Parker's Piece which is also home to cricket in the summer).

Museums

There are an assortment of museums scattered throughout the city centre most of which are located within colleges.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Museum

The most famous and largest museum in Cambridge is The Fitzwilliam Museum which is sort of a miniature version of the British Museum (with very similar exhibits) featuring everything from ancient Chinese pottery to the latest modern art. Small enough that you can easily see the entirety of the museum in a single visit but take your time and soak it all in.

Entrance Hall

Exhibit Room

Entrance to the museum is free (a donation is encouraged) though some temporary exhibitions do have an entrance fee. There is a small cafe behind the gift shop in the newer wing of the museum.

Well worth a visit and free to boot.

Trumpington Street, Cambridge - +44 (0) 1223 332900

Dining Out

Over the past few years the number of restaurants (and other night-time attractions, it must be said) has increased quite dramatically particularly in terms of quality. See My Cambridge Restaurant Reviews for some suggestions.

TIP: Be sure to visit Fitzbillies Bakery and Restaurant famous for it's delicious (and highly fattening) Chelsea buns with locations on Trumpington and Bridge streets.

Further Information

For further information please see:

Orchard Street

Orchard Street