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Even for people who live in Cambridge, it is hard to downplay the pure magic of the Cambridge colleges which form the most amazing architectural backdrop to this enchanting city. The University colours all aspects of city life with tradition and academia at every turn, all infused with the vibrancy and dynamism of hundreds of young people.
Cambridge is an hour away from London by train - half an hour on a non-stop service, the Cambridge Express - and easily accessible by road, sitting at the top of the M11 Motorway.
Culture without cost
The Fitzwilliam Museum takes the lead in the collective offering that is the University of Cambridge Museums and the Botanic Gardens. This Museum houses a world-renowned collection of paintings, artworks and historical artefacts – best of all, entry is free.
Take a punt on Cambridge
You can't completely enjoy Cambridge without a punting trip on the River Cam which winds its way behind the Colleges – known as ‘The Backs’ – with its famous bridges, The Mathematical Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs, it is the most picturesque location and a lovely, leisurely way to view the scenery. You can choose someone to do the punting for you and there are lots of different types of trips available such as champagne punting, cream tea punting, gin and Pimms punting (not together obviously!), picnic punting and even proposal punting.
Make a day of it with Browns
Browns Restaurant and Brasserie in Trumpington Street is a great option for everyone, it’s open all day and with a mixed menu of snacks, light meals and a la carte, catering for business lunches, family occasions and a peaceful morning coffee with the newspaper. It’s directly opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum so you could literally spend a whole day wandering between the two. Browns is located in the old Cambridge General Hospital later to become Addenbrookes on a different site, in case you’re wondering why it says ‘Outpatients’ above the door as you go in. It is an iconic and historic building with a lovely vibe, a cocktail bar and sometimes, a pianist.
Image by Fitzbillies
Delicious bites and a bit of historic drinking
Wander down towards King’s College for a snack or light lunch at the legendary Fitzbillies which has been serving the good people of Cambridge since 1920 and is a total institution when it comes to cakes and buns.
Cambridge has some excellent pubs and top of the list is The Eagle formerly known as The Eagle and Child which dates back to 1667 and is the second oldest pub in Cambridge. Located in Bene’t Street in the centre of the city, the pub is large and popular with all age groups. Not to be missed is the so-called RAF bar. During the Second World War, allied airmen who drank at The Eagle started a tradition of adding their names and squadron numbers to the ceiling in one of the bars, using a mixture of petrol lighters, candles and lipstick, presumably borrowed from their girlfriends. The graffiti was covered up for many years and then re-discovered in the early 1990 and preserved by a former RAF Chief Technician for posterity.
Treat yourself with some unique shops
Cambridge has all the usual standard shopping fare but is home to plenty of independents and niche, quality retailers, some like Ede & Ravenscroft, connected to the Colleges but not all.
For bookworms, Heffers bookshop is a Cambridge institution, serving students and dons in the town since 1876 but a great repository for all kinds of reading material for everyone else.
For something a little different, visit Robert Graham in Sussex Street, for choice whiskies, cigars and pipes and also some unusual gift ideas.
Art and design is a big feature on the Cambridge scene and Primavera in King’s Parade is brim-full of goodies including textiles, silverware, china, glass and jewellery all arranged over three floors with an online shop to keep you busy when you are away from Cambridge.
There's always time for Chocolat
To keep up your energy levels as you shop your way through Cambridge, pay a visit to Chocolat Chocolat, an artisan chocolate shop located opposite Emmanuel College and just round the corner from Downing College. Watch the chocolatiers making sheet chocolate in front of your very eyes and luxuriate in the smell, just like the old confectionary shops of yesteryear. All products are made from the finest Belgian chocolate and in a unique French style not made anywhere else and brought from France by Chief Chocolatier, Isabelle Chappell. From the familiar to the unusual, you won’t find chocolate like this anywhere else in the UK and there are lots of variations on the theme including a ‘Free From’ range, Nougat, Marzipan and Chocolate spreads. Just pop in from a taste test and in the summer, cool down with Chocolat Chocolat’s famous handmade ice-cream. For true chocoholics, Chocolat offer chocolate making and tasting courses.
Nestled in one of the villages surrounding Cambridge is our latest project ‘Cambridge 1960s House’.
We're going to be modernising this large family house with a nod to its mid-century modern roots but incorporating traditional elements and cool features.