- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Cambridge offers some of England’s best universities, parks, museums, and theatrical productions. It is known for its friendly people, academia, and great student parties. Like Oxford, life here revolves around the university, as does much of its tourism. However, you can find a lot to do here that isn’t related to the university. All in all, Cambridge makes for a good place to spend a couple of days. The city is close to London, making it a prime option for a day trip out of the capital.
Top Things to See and Do in Cambridge
Visit the colleges – Cambridge University is beautiful, with buildings dating back hundreds of years. Most of the colleges are worth a look, especially the larger ones. Kings and Queens Colleges arguably have the most beautiful buildings. Colleges are typically closed to visitors during the exam period during the last week of May and the first week of June.
Botanical Garden of Cambridge University – If you want to spend a quiet afternoon out, head to the Botanical Gardens. They are beautiful and a definite highlight of the area. They cost 5 GBP to enter.
Walk along the Backs – This is a great place to walk that gives you a scenic tour of the city. You can walk through Kings College and see a collection of stores and shops.
Punting – Punting is the classic Cambridge sport and involves pushing yourself in a wooden boat by propelling the pole against the river’s bottom. There are guided tours from around 12 GBP and up. You can also rent your own boat and try to punt yourself. Take some food and drinks and spend the day on the river with some friends. Most guided tours are run by students and often will give you some really good insight into what it is like to study in Cambridge.
ADC Theater – Take in an amateur show at the ADC Theater. It’s the University’s playhouse and offers productions starting at 4 GBP. It offers something different from the normal fare of activities and gives you a way to see the local art scene.
Do a walking tour of Cambridge – Cambridge is just a great place to walk around. If you can’t afford any of the activities, just walk around and enjoy the beauty of the parks, river, and colleges. Audio tours are available from the tourist office for 5 GBP and make for an easy, cheap way to spend a day.
Cambridge Shakespeare Festival – Every summer, six Shakespeare plays are performed in the gardens of the various colleges. Come early as the good spots fill up quick. Tickets are 16 GBP per performance.
Visit Angsley Abbey – Less than 7 miles outside of Cambridge, Angsley Abbey is a beautiful manor with peaceful gardens. You can tour the load mill, the house, and the grounds for 12.50 GBP (discounts available). It’s a great escape to country life and gives you a good idea of England’s social history.