Cambridge

Smaller, quieter and (whisper it) prettier than Oxford, Cambridge has its own language: bumps, backs, quads. Start your day with a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum, then refuel at Fitzbillies and buy a box of the sticky Chelsea buns to take home. Spend a couple of hours wandering around the colleges and King’s Chapel before taking to the river for a spot of punting: behatted guides will do the hard work, or you can hire a boat of your own (beware: it’s trickier than it looks). Come tea time, head for Grantchester and feast on scones in The Orchard Tea Gardens, just like poet Rupert Brooke.

If you thought Cambridge was all countryside air and bucolic riverside walks, then, well… you’re spot-on. Did you know there’s a herd of happily grazing cows near the city centre? There is, and they’re really rather cute. The locals, of course, just walk straight past. But cute cows! How udderly heartless. Quaint Cambridge has been an official city since 1951 – awarded that status on account of its illustrious university – and, heifers aside, the city also punches way above its compact size when it comes to cultural goings-on.

Don’t know where to start? Then our pick of the absolute best things to do in Cambridge should come in handy. Our selections range from number-one tourist site King’s College Chapel to a museum dedicated to polar exploration and the homely, understated Kettle’s Yard art gallery. If you’re hungry, never fear – the best restaurants in Cambridge can sort you out for excellent pub grub and Italian fine dining

Day 1
Punting

What is it? The national pastime of Cambridge and one of the best ways to see the city. And the good news is you don’t even need to work your own arm muscles.

Why go? To get within sniffing distance of Cambridge and not go punting is like going to Pisa and not seeing the leaning tower. The brave and the skilled do the stick-bit themselves, but if you’re a first-timer book a gondolier-like guide to navigate the River Cam for you.

Day 2
Cycle hire

What is it? Cambridge is well known for its sheer barrage of bikes. Because of this, the city is well set-up for riders and locals on foot are used to dodging wayward wheels.

Why go? Given its modest size, Cambridge is best navigated by bike. There are loads of places to hire them from and you can lock them just about anywhere. While there are plenty of cycle lanes, you’ll notice that many locals go rogue and ride on the pavements. Cambridge really is a cyclist’s paradise.

Day 3
King’s College Chapel

What is it? The stunning gothic chapel that dominates the centre of Cambridge. It’s a must-visit, even if church-spotting isn’t your sport.

Why go? Every December the Christmas Eve carol service is broadcast from King’s College Chapel, giving sherry-filled adults the chance to embarrassingly cry over the first crystalline bars of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. Relive this tradition with a visit inside the breathtaking chapel itself – then head round the corner for drinks at the Eagle.

Day 4
The Corpus Clock

What is it? A very large and bizarre clock designed to make you fear the incessant ticking away of each moment on earth. Just don’t head here if you actually need to know the time.

Why go? The Corpus Clock is on the front of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College. It’s less a clock (although apparently it is accurate every once in a while) and more of an art piece. The marvellously creepy insect straddling it appears to ‘eat’ time – a reminder that we don’t have as much of it left as we think.

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Trip Facts

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