Things to do in Cambridge

Best known for its dreaming spires and punting students, Cambridge’s historic and academic credentials make it a great a day out for curious minds. Here’s some of my favourite things to do in the city….

Cambridge Botanic Garden

On a recent sunny Sunday we visited Cambridge Botanic Gardens, which is a research facility for the University and also a lovely park. It boasts  8,000 plant species in its collections from around the world. A tour of the glasshouses and gardens is like a mini voyage around the globe from meadow to desert. An adult ticket is around £7 and children are free, but remember to book your slot in advance.

Punting on the Cam

Your first trip to Cambridge is not complete without a short trip on the Cam. I suggest newbies go the whole hog and take a punting trip with a guide, who will tell tales of the gorgeous colleges as you meander past. Scuadmores is one of the most famous, but other hire companies are available.

Photo by Scott Spedding on

Another option is to hire a canoe which is a fun way to see the city. You can head up river towards the pretty meadows near Grantchester for a more personal adventure. Many of the boat hire places offer kayak or canoe hire as well.

Kings College Chapel

One for history fans : King’s college and its chapel, were as the name suggests, created by the King in 1441 !

The chapel and university was founded by Henry VI, but construction was interrupted by the ‘Wars of the Roses’ and the chapel was finally completed by Henry VIII, in 1544, almost a hundred years after it was begun.

If you are not a fan of history, just marvel at the impressive medieval stained glass windows and vaulted ceiling. It’s awe inspiring.

We paid the £9 entry into King’s College chapel for adults, children under 12 are free.

King’s College Chapel – photo by Matthew Kirkland

A pint at The Eagle

A lesser known gem is The Eagle’s RAF bar, located in a side street just opposite King’s College.

In one room the pub’s ceiling is decorated with graffiti created by World War Two airmen using candles, cigarette lighters and lipstick. The pub has another claim to fame.. it was here in 1953 where James Watson and Francis Crick announced, over a pint, that they had discovered the structure of DNA, how very typically Cambridge. It makes a great place for lunch, but book in advance.

After lunch we like to meander the streets and peer into colleges and university themed shops. There is also an array of museums affiliated to the various colleges. Homepage | University of Cambridge Museums

Cambridge is just an hour north of London on the train. There are so many wonderful things to do in the city. If you do visit I would love to hear your tips and tales. #staycationinspiration

Please check the relevant websites for the latest information about opening times and ticket prices.

Note – photos in this post were taken by me unless otherwise indicated.

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