Cambridge is home to one of most prestigious universities in the world.
But, whilst the University provides many of the most beautiful sites, it would be a mistake to ignore the charms of this pretty East Anglian town. Smaller, and less busy, than its rival Oxford, it’s a lovely peaceful place to spend time if you get the chance.
Here’s our guide.
Wandering through Cambridge, it’s not hard to imagine the city as it was hundreds of years ago. This small university city is steeped in history.
At every turn, you find yourself captivated by its awe-inspiring architecture, from elegant chapels and world-famous colleges to the stunning bridges that cross the River Cam.
Of course, there’s no ignoring Cambridge’s most famous institution: the University of Cambridge.
Much of the city seems centred around the university and its long-held traditions, with its striking colleges spread across the city centre.
But it’s not just the world-renowned buildings that make a day trip to Cambridge so magical – it’s also the perfectly manicured lawns, meandering river and a palpable sense of heritage.
With so much to choose from, here are some of the best ways you can spend a day in Cambridge, England.
Visit The University Colleges
A cornerstone of tradition, the University of Cambridge dates back to 1209, and many of its 31 historic colleges open their doors to visitors to share in their splendor.
Leave the city’s streets behind as you enter through their front gates and step back in time.
Wander their tranquil, manicured courts, encircled by extraordinary stone buildings and cloisters, all dating back hundreds of years – just remember to stay off the grass! Take in the wonder of King’s College Chapel, the oldest surviving building in the college and an unparalleled symbol of Gothic architecture.
Step inside and you’ll find yourself bathed in the refracted light that pours in through the 16th century stained glass windows, then look up and find yourself mesmerised by the intricate stonework of the fan vaulted ceiling.
Punt Along River Cam
Just as Gondolas are synonymous with Venice, the punt is a Cambridge icon.
Dating back to the early 20th century, these flat bottomed boats glide along the River Cam that winds its way through the city.
This might just be the most perfect way to see the city’s hidden spots, most notably The Backs, the pristine gardens and backyards of the colleges that adorn the river banks.
Look out for truly remarkable bridges too, like the Mathematical Bridge and the covered Bridge of Sighs.
You can hire a punt and give it a go for yourself – though, be warned that the experienced guides make it look much easier than it is.
If you want to skip the workout, take a punt boat tour and learn about the local history from guides that know the city like the back of their hands.
Find Peace In The Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Founded by Charles Darwin’s mentor, John Henslow, the 40 acre garden now boasts over 8,000 species of plants from all over the world.
As well as providing plant matter to help vital university research, the garden offers visitors a botanic paradise to explore, with an arboretum, glass houses, stunning flowers, and a variety of different habitats and wildlife.
Enter into this unique garden and discover a place of peace within the city.
Visit World-Class Museums
As you might expect from a city with one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Cambridge is also home to countless museums, exhibiting a whole range of subject matter. In fact, many of the city’s museums actually belong to the University of Cambridge.
Wander Fitzwilliam Museum and take in its impressive collection of manuscripts, ancient world artifacts, and artwork, with masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Monet and Rubens.
Just under a mile away, you’ll find Kettle’s Yard, the university’s modern and contemporary art gallery set within a quaint and welcoming home.
Or, if science is more your thing, head to The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences to discover earth’s 4 billion year history through the museum’s collection of 2 million rocks, fossils and minerals.
So then there are a few things you can do on a trip to Cambridge…