One of the best parts of university is meeting people from all over and with very different experiences from your own. When you then make friends with all these people, there are plenty of new places to visit and spare rooms or couches to crash on. Recently, I finally planned a trip to Cambridge to visit my friend Amy, after many years of dreaming up weekends away whenever we got to nattering.
Since she is moving soon, we had a deadline to keep to which finally gave me the push I needed to book my tickets. It was a flying visit but it certainly gave me a taste of just how lovely Cambridge and the surrounding area is. We still managed to squeeze in a lot while I was there so I thought I would share some of my highlights with you:
– Punting. A Cambridge cliche but well worth doing. I’m not a massive fan of boats but I really enjoyed it. It was a relaxed way of seeing some of the stunning colleges of Cambridge and finding out a little more of the history, from the comfort of your seat. Although you can have a go yourself, I would recommend getting a guide. Punting isn’t easy and there were a few collisions from people who hadn’t quite got the hang of it. The guided tour meant that you didn’t have to do the hard work and had someone on hand to ask questions to if something on the banks caught your eye.
– Harriet Tea Rooms. We had lunch here one day and it was lovely. Old fashioned in the best way, this was a little quieter than some of the other places we passed and served up some simple but tasty food. They also had an impressive looking tea and cake menu that I would love to check out if I ever go back!
– Book shopping. Since I was visiting with a local (and one that knows my bookworm tendencies very well), I got a chance to wander around plenty of bookshops. We visited some lovely, smaller, independent bookshops which were just off of the King’s Parade. One of them claimed to be haunted and I found my new favourite edition of Dracula inside the other. Be warned though, as things could have easily have gotten very spendy.
-Fitzwilliam museum. It’s no surprise that I am a massive nerd so when Amy suggesting a trip to a museum, I leapt at the chance. Not only was it free (the very best kind, in my opinion) but it had an amazing selection of Greco-Roman artifacts that I got all googly-eyed over.
- Orchard Tea Rooms, Grantchester. Though not strictly in Cambridge itself, this is well worth a visit if you get a chance. You’ll find this tea room in one of the villages. It’s beautiful, with tasty food and a surprising literary heritage. Plenty of famous writers, amongst them Virginia Woolf, once loved these tea rooms too and there are little tidbits of information about them as a result. Order some food, pick a table under a tree and read up on its fascinating history. I certainly found it a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon.
I’m sure there are countless other great things to do in Cambridge and I’d certainly be up for a return trip to find some. Still, my short but sweet visit was packed full of fun things to see, do and eat. It was enough to make me fall for the city and understand why so many others have to.
I did notice a couple of not so great things that you should be aware of if you’re planning a visit, however. First up, Cambridge gets busy. I visited during the summer holidays and it showed. Restaurants were packed. Getting photos of the main sites was hard. There were crowds of people on the pavement. Very busy. It’s also a bit of a nightmare to drive in, especially when it comes to parking so if you can avoid it, I would recommend that you do!
Even with that in mind, I had a lovely trip to a beautiful place that I won’t forget in a hurry. What more can you ask from a quick city break?