Cambridge’s rich culture is evident anywhere you look; from the imposing old buildings to the magnificent gardens and the town’s numerous museums, there is something for everyone in this ancient city. The birthplace of the modern rules of football and home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Cambridge today is an epicentre of innovation and unique cultural phenomena. No matter what kind of visitor you are, you will find different things to draw you into this city. Below are some of the most remarkable sights and activities you should definitely consider while visiting Cambridge.
Science and history lovers flock to Cambridge for the town’s numerous museums, many of which are housed within the old university buildings. Cambridge has one of the largest concentrations of museums in the world and there is literally a different museum for every science. The County Folk Museum on Castle Street is a quirky museum that’s lots of fun for children of all ages. The Imperial War Museum in Duxford holds one of the largest military aeroplane collections in the country and is a much-loved destination for aviation lovers. The Fitzwilliam Museum holds the largest art gallery in Cambridge and features numerous unique and world-famous pieces. Finally, science enthusiasts should not miss the University Museum of Zoology, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Sedgwick Museum of Earth sciences. The latter is comparable with London’s own museum of natural history.
Parks and gardens
There seems to be a tranquil park or a well-maintained garden almost everywhere you look in Cambridge. Along the river Cam, visitors can find numerous parks, and exploring the town a little deeper will yield even more hidden gems. The Milton Country Park and the Backs are two parks that between them hold the quintessence of natural countryside beauty. Perhaps the two most stunning gardens in Cambridge are Clare Fellows’ Gardens and the University Botanical Gardens.
There are many historic landmarks and breathtaking buildings to behold while visiting Cambridge. The town’s skyline is dominated by the old university buildings, such as the iconic Cambridge University Library, and imposing religious buildings like King’s College Chapel. The Chapel is the most impressive example of Gothic English architecture and is equally beautiful from the inside. It’s the largest chapel in the UK and the second largest in the world, runner up to only the Sistine chapel in the Vatican city. Other important landmarks include St Bene’t’s Church (the oldest building in Cambridge), Anglesey Abbey and of course the numerous historic bridges on the river Cam.
Punting is quintessentially Cambridgian and no trip to Cambridge can be complete without a punt ride on the river Cam. There are numerous companies offering punting services, taking in a number of the university’s colleges, at very low prices. A rich culture surrounds punting and you won’t regret trying it yourself. You can take a punt ride next to the city’s iconic university buildings or opt to punt upstream and take tea at the scenic village of Grantchester.
As a university town, Cambridge sports countless bars, pubs and clubs that attract thousands of students each night. Thirty-one college bars and many clubs that cater to specific types of party-goers paint a varied night-life landscape. The college bars are generally not accessible to members of the public; for D’n’B try legendary night Warning at The Junction; for a varied selection of club nights in the middle of town there is the Fez Club or Soul Tree and if you’re looking for a traditional rock venue, you can’t go wrong with the Portland Arms on Mitcham’s corner.
Cambridge is a cultural hotspot and this is clearly demonstrated in the town’s diverse culinary scene. Visitors can sample international dishes that range from the relatively familiar to the widely exotic, without breaking the bank. There are far too many to list here and it seems like new eateries are springing up all the time within the city centre. Of particular note in central Cambridge are the Varsity restaurant; the Cambridge Chop House and the Espresso Library is a great spot for brunch.
A little more out of town the Ristorante Il Piccolo Mondo serves some seriously delicious Italian cuisine in the countryside, while the Lalbagh Bangladeshi & Indian Diner has garnered numerous awards as one of the best Indian restaurants in the country. Finally, when it comes to traditional British cuisine, the Old Crown in Girton won’t disappoint even the most demanding gourmands.