The Alternative Weekend Break; a guide to Cambridge, England
So, after just one weekend, I’m in love with Cambridge. That might be a bit forward… I mean the glorious sunshine probably helped and the Pimms definitely did, but there were so many quirks about the city, I just couldn’t help it. I’ve been talking about wanting to do more UK city breaks for a while so I couldn’t wait to jump on a train and be a tourist for the weekend. With one of my oldest friends as my tour guide, I couldn’t wait to explore that gorgeous city…
The city has a great mix of people, with lots of Instagrammable and quaint buildings, flowers everywhere, tea rooms and ice cream parlours in abundance and a rather relaxed feel. It reminds me of York, but with a better selection of shops (priorities).
Since it’s not in the north, it isn’t cheap. But when the sun is shining and your watching the punters on the river go by, you don’t mind paying a £5 for a pint of Pimms on tap. Cocktails were pretty standard prices and drinks from fancy rooftop bars slightly more expensive… all in all, nothing out of the ordinary.
Arriving quite late on Friday night meant take out and a catch-up with Louise who I hadn’t seen since Christmas, but come Saturday, we tried to fit in as much as possible. Things started incredibly well with a flat white and avo toast topped with feta cheese and balsamic at Urban Larder. We spent the day exploring with gelato from Benets and nibbles, before heading out to the High Tea Club to dine on tea infused cocktails and dim sum. We squeezed in brunch at Six the next day, plus roof top cocktails, and dinner at a cheap and cheerful bar with a secret room. Apparently I have to go back and try a Chelsea Bun from Fitzbillies, so that’s on my return to do list, as well as trying to catch the ‘bumps’ rowing competition and taking a dip in the lido.
We headed up to the top of the church in the centre to take in the views of the city. After 123-ish stairs on a rather narrow staircase, I was more than ready for some fresh air. As the bells ring, the floor beneath you shakes a little, which is ideal when you are claustrophobic and terrified of heights, but you just have to challenge yourselves sometimes! The view of the markets, the river and colleges were just stunning. Some of the college grounds are open to the public for free so you can have a nosey around, like Magdalene college. Some you have to pay for and have more limited opening times, like Kings and St Johns. They’re all incredibly picturesque and I loved wandering round thinking how different student life would have been here!
Punting is an absolute MUST. When you chat to the guys selling tickets (and you will, they are all over town), they’re more than happy to barter with you. One of the ticket guys decided we were students, just because it was cheaper. Go prepared with cans of Pimms or G&T and sit back while a gent guides you down the river. Visiting one of the local pubs and sitting out in a field with friendly cows by the river is another great way to while away the hours.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, in Cambridge seems to ride a bike. Whether you’re off to work/uni, heading shopping or off for a night out (something that seems equal parts bonkers and hilarious), bikes are the go-to mode of transport. Bonus points if your bike has a wicker basket and comes in a pastel shade.
So what do you think? Fancy a weekend in Cambridge?