15 Best Things To Do In Cambridge, England

15 Best Things To Do In Cambridge, England

By will

As one of England’s oldest and most prestigious university towns, Cambridge has a lot to offer for visitors looking for a cultural getaway.

From strolling along the iconic River Cam to admiring masterpieces at the Fitzwilliam Museum, there’s something for everyone in this charming city.

Here are some of the best things to do in Cambridge, England to make the most out of your trip.

Take a Stroll Along the River Cam

River Cam, Cambridge
Photo by Philip Halling

Taking a stroll along the River Cam is one of the best ways to explore Cambridge – it’s so peaceful and picturesque!

The banks of the river are lined with trees, and you can see the spires of the historic buildings that make up the city skyline in the distance.

There’s wildlife such as swans, ducks and geese, and the occasional punter on the river.

It’s a great way to spend a sunny day – you can walk along the river for miles, or just take a leisurely stroll and admire the views.

It’s also a great spot for a picnic, or you can stop at one of the riverside pubs for a bite to eat.

No matter how you choose to spend it, a day along the River Cam is a wonderful way to get to know Cambridge.

Tour the Famous Cambridge Colleges

Trinity College
Photo by Lauren

Exploring the historic Cambridge Colleges is an absolute must – a timeless tradition that’s sure to leave a lasting impression!

Visiting the colleges is the perfect way to get a real feel for the unique history and culture of Cambridge. Some of the colleges, such as Trinity College and King’s College, are particularly renowned for their stunning architecture and impressive courtyards.

It’s a great way to get a glimpse of the incredible art and architecture that dates back centuries.

Visiting Cambridge’s colleges is also a great way to learn about the city’s rich academic heritage. You can explore the libraries and museums that are housed within the walls of the colleges, and take part in guided tours and special events that are often organized by the colleges.

It’s the perfect way to get an insider’s view of the city and its culture.

Visit the Historic Market Square

Cambridge Market Square
Photo by Paul Gillett

Stepping into Cambridge’s historic Market Square is like taking a step back in time! Dating back to the 12th century, the Market Square is the city’s oldest and most traditional area.

Here, visitors can experience the hustle and bustle of the lively market every Saturday and Sunday. The square is surrounded by a range of buildings, from the beautiful, Gothic-style St. Mary the Great church to the serene All Saints’ Church.

Visitors can also take a tour of the historic Guildhall, which was built in the 15th century.

The Market Square is also home to the iconic Mathematical Bridge, which was designed by William Etheridge and was built in 1749. It is known for its unique structure, which was designed to be constructed without nuts and bolts. This bridge is a major tourist attraction and is a must-see for anyone visiting Cambridge.

The Market Square also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as the Cambridge Beer Festival and the Strawberry Fair.

Whether you’re looking to explore history or simply soak in the atmosphere, the Market Square is the perfect spot to visit.

Explore the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden

Take a journey through nature and discover the beauty of the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden. Located in the heart of the city, this 30-acre garden is home to over 8,000 different types of plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers.

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The garden was built in 1846 to help support the teaching and research of plant sciences at the University of Cambridge. It has since become a major tourist attraction, with visitors from all over the world coming to marvel at its beauty.

The garden is filled with a variety of colorful blooms, lush foliage, and stunning architectural features. Visitors can explore the various sections of the garden, including the glasshouses, the rock garden, the alpine house, and the arboretum.

There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, such as guided tours, workshops, and special events. The garden also features a café, a shop, and a pond with a variety of aquatic plants.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or an educational experience, the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden has something to offer everyone.

Admire the Masterpieces at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Set amidst the picturesque grounds of Cambridge University, the Fitzwilliam Museum is a treasure trove of art and artifacts from the ancient world. It’s a must-see for any art lover visiting Cambridge. The museum has an extensive range of sculptures, manuscripts, decorative arts, and antiquities from across the globe.

From Egyptian mummies to Chinese porcelain, the museum has something for everyone. Highlights include the Old Master Paintings collection, which showcases some of the greatest works from the Italian Renaissance, and the Prints and Drawings department, which boasts an impressive array of etchings and woodcuts.

The museum also hosts regular exhibitions, so there’s always something new to explore. With its friendly staff and beautiful surroundings, a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum is a great way to spend an afternoon in Cambridge.

Spend an Afternoon at Kettle’s Yard

Walk into Kettle’s Yard and explore its collection of twentieth-century and contemporary art. The gallery offers an insight into the cultural history of the region. It is housed in two properties built in the 19th century, with a charming courtyard and garden in the center. The collection is curated to reflect the artistic tastes of its founder, Jim Ede, who was an arts curator and collector.

The collection includes works by renowned artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Ben Nicholson. It also features works by contemporary artists, such as Grayson Perry and Anish Kapoor. The gallery hosts a variety of events, such as live music, talks, and workshops. Additionally, it has an impressive bookshop.

Kettle’s Yard is an ideal spot to spend a leisurely afternoon. Whether you’re looking to explore the art and culture of the region or just relax and take in the atmosphere.

Visit the Eagle Pub

Head to the Eagle Pub for a traditional British pub experience. Enjoy a pint of ale with friends, and sample some of the delicious pub fare on the menu.

With its warm atmosphere, traditional wood-paneled walls, and cozy atmosphere, it’s easy to lose track of time here. The Eagle has been a Cambridge institution since the 1800s and is a great spot to soak up some local culture.

Enjoy live music, quiz nights, and a range of local ales and ciders. The pub’s menu offers up classic British dishes like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and steak and ale pie. With a great selection of wines, beers, and spirits, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes.

The Eagle Pub is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening and is sure to be a highlight of your visit to Cambridge.

Explore the Grantchester Meadows

Meander through the picturesque Grantchester Meadows to discover why this idyllic location has been an inspirational backdrop for writers such as Rupert Brooke and Virginia Woolf.

From the village of Grantchester, take a stroll down the tree-lined footpaths, past the tranquil river and rolling hills, to the meadows.

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Enjoy the sun-dappled landscape, rich with wildflowers and wildlife, and be transported to a time of peace and serenity.

Listen to the soothing hum of the buzzing bees and the gentle chirping of the birds.

Take a break and sit beneath the old trees, listening to the river that slowly makes its way through the meadows.

Take a picnic or a book and spend the day in the meadows, exploring the area and soaking in the beauty of the landscape.

Enjoy the unique blend of English countryside, with its traditional meadows, ancient trees, and tranquil river, all of which make for an unforgettable experience.

Whether you choose to take a leisurely stroll, a brisk jog, or just sit and watch the world go by, the Grantchester Meadows offer something for everyone and will leave you feeling refreshed and re-energized.

Step Back in Time at the Imperial War Museum

After taking in the stunning beauty of the Grantchester Meadows, I was ready to take a step back in time and explore the Imperial War Museum, located in Duxford, England.

This fascinating museum provides visitors with a unique and educational look into the history of wars that have impacted the world. From World War I to the Cold War, the museum covers a wide span of conflicts and offers an array of interactive exhibits, stunning artifacts, and personal stories of those who served in the military.

The museum is divided into several galleries that provide further insight into each conflict. Visitors can explore the AirSpace Gallery, which showcases over 35 aircraft from different wars, as well as The Lord Ashcroft Gallery, which displays medals of honor collected from heroic soldiers from various wars.

The museum also houses the Churchill War Rooms, which were once the secret bunker used by Winston Churchill during the Blitz. Here, visitors can explore the original rooms, and learn about the fascinating story of the Prime Minister and his influence during World War II.

No matter what your interests are, a visit to the Imperial War Museum is sure to make for a memorable experience.

Admire the Architecture at the Round Church

Take a moment to admire the beautiful architecture of the Round Church, located in Cambridge, UK. Built in the early 12th century, the Round Church is one of only four round churches in all of England. Its circular shape is unique and quite impressive.

Inside the church, visitors can find a variety of original stained glass windows and interior decorations. Admire the intricate stone carvings and the ornate ceiling which were created centuries ago.

Take a stroll around the outside of the church to appreciate its stunning beauty. The walls are made of stone and the grounds are carefully maintained to preserve its historical value. Enjoy a peaceful moment in the courtyard or take in the views of the surrounding rural landscape.

Whatever you do, the Round Church in Cambridge is a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

Visit the Cambridge University Library

Experience a wealth of knowledge at the Cambridge University Library, an iconic and impressive building that houses millions of books and resources.

Built in the 1930s, the library is an architectural masterpiece, with its neo-Gothic design and stunning stained-glass windows.

It is the main library for the University of Cambridge and contains over 8 million books, manuscripts, and archives, as well as a range of digital resources.

It is also home to the University’s rare books collection, which includes works from the 15th century and other antiquarian items.

The library is open to visitors and is a great place to explore the history of the university and the city.

Visitors can take a self-guided audio tour to learn more about the library, its collections, and its architecture.

There are also a range of exhibitions on display, including displays of historic books and manuscripts.

The library also offers a variety of events, such as lectures, film screenings, and workshops.

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It’s a great place to spend an afternoon, and a great way to learn more about the city of Cambridge.

See the King’s College Chapel

Admire the majestic King’s College Chapel, an iconic landmark in Cambridge, England. Built in the 15th century by King Henry VI, the chapel is an architectural masterpiece. It’s main hall is the largest fan vaulted ceiling in the world, combining the ribbed vaulting of the Gothic style with the ancient Byzantine technique of fan vaulting.

A large stained glass window dating from 1531 is also a remarkable piece of art, and visitors can also view several marble sculptures and a large pipe organ.

The chapel also holds significant religious significance, as it is the home of the College Choir, which has been singing the traditional service of Evensong for over 500 years. Visitors can also attend services such as Sunday services and carol concerts, and can take part in a guided tour to learn more about the chapel’s history and architecture.

The chapel is also a popular venue for wedding ceremonies, and is an awe-inspiring place to visit in Cambridge.

Take in the Views from St. John’s College Tower

Climb the St. John’s College Tower to get a unique view of Cambridge from the highest vantage point in the city!

From the top, you’ll be able to take in a breathtaking panorama of the city, with stunning views of the iconic King’s College Chapel and the surrounding countryside.

On a clear day, you can even see the spires of Ely Cathedral in the distance.

The college’s tower is the tallest building in Cambridge, and the views from the top will take your breath away.

Make sure to bring a camera so you can capture the moment and share it with friends and family.

If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some of the wildlife that inhabits the area, such as swans, ducks, and geese.

The experience of taking in the views from the top of St. John’s College Tower is truly one that you’ll never forget.

Visit the Wren Library

Descend the St. John’s College Tower and make your way to the Wren Library, the crown jewel of Cambridge libraries. Established in 1624, the library is part of the oldest college at Cambridge University and houses a remarkable collection of books, including a first folio of Shakespeare’s plays.

As you wander the aisles, you’ll be surrounded by centuries of history, with beautiful wood paneling, grand stained glass windows, and marble busts watching over you.

The library is also home to some of the university’s most treasured artifacts, including a 16th-century copy of the Bible and a 14th-century map of the world.

To top it off, you may even get the chance to see the library’s most famous resident – a stuffed eagle that was presented to the university in 1737 and has sat proudly in the Wren Library for centuries.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply admire the beauty of the library, the Wren Library is a must-see in Cambridge.

Enjoy a Show at the Cambridge Arts Theatre

After exploring the Wren Library, I was ready for some culture and entertainment. The Cambridge Arts Theatre is the ideal place to start. This historic theatre is located in the heart of the city, and it’s the perfect spot to enjoy an evening of theatrical performance.

From musicals to comedies, the Arts Theatre has something for everyone.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the theatre was the beautiful art deco design. There are comfortable seats for everyone, and the auditorium is full of character.

I was lucky enough to catch a performance of Les Misérables, and it was an incredible experience. The actors and actresses were incredibly talented, and the music was mesmerizing.

I felt completely immersed in the show, and it was a night I’ll never forget.

Conclusion

I had an amazing time exploring all the best things to do in Cambridge! I’m so glad I took the time to experience the breathtaking views from St. John’s College Tower and visit the historic Market Square.

The Fitzwilliam Museum and the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden were two of my favorite places to visit, and I can’t forget about the King’s College Chapel.

I also enjoyed the live performances at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. There are so many incredible sites to see in this wonderful city. I’m already planning my next trip back to Cambridge!

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.