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Cambridge is a university city and thecounty town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam about 50 miles (80 km) north of London. At the United Kingdom Census 2011, its population was 123,867, including 24,488 students.
There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area in the Bronze Age and in Roman Britain; under Viking rule, Cambridge became an important trading centre. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although city status was not conferred until 1951.
Cambridge is the home of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209 and one of the top five universities in the world. The university includes the Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the spire of the Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital and St John's College Chapel tower.
Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology Silicon Fen with industries such as software and bioscience and many start-up companies spun out of the university. Over 40% of the workforce have a higher education qualification, more than twice the national average. Cambridge is also home to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, one of the largest biomedical research clusters in the world, soon to be home to AstraZeneca, a hotel and relocated Papworth Hospital.
Parker's Piece hosted the first ever game of Association football. The Strawberry Fair music and arts festival and Midsummer Fairs are held on Midsummer Common, and the annual Cambridge Beer Festival takes place on Jesus Green. Cambridge is adjacent to the M11 and A14 roads, and Cambridge station is less than an hour from London King's Cross railway station.
|POPULATION :||• City and non-metropolitan district 128,515 |
• Metro 280,000
|FOUNDED :||Founded 1st century|
City status 1951
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)|
• Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
|AREA :||40.7 km2 (15.71 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||6 m (20 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||52.205°N 0.119°E|
|SEX RATIO :|
|ETHNIC :||73.5% White British|
1.1% White Irish
7.1% White Other
3.1% Black British
2.4% Mixed Race
8.4% British Asian
4.3% Chinese and other
|AREA CODE :||01223|
|POSTAL CODE :||CB1 – CB5|
|DIALING CODE :||+44 1223|
Cambridge is a university city in Cambridgeshire in England. It is a city of crocuses and daffodils on the Backs, of green open spaces and cattle grazing only 500 yards from the market square. Cows sometimes wander into the market area, since they are not fenced in. The Cambridge of Brooke, Byron, Newton and Rutherford, of the summer idyll of punts, 'bumps', cool willows and May Balls is worth seeing.
Cambridge brings many images to mind: the breathtaking view of King's College Chapel from across the river Cam, the rich intricacy of Gothic architecture, students cycling to lectures, and lazy summer punting on the River Cam.
Cambridge manages to combine its role as an historic city with a world-renowned University and, in more recent years, an internationally acknowledged centre of excellence for technology and science. The University of Cambridge was founded in the 13th century by scholars leaving Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk. They chose the quiet town of Cambridge as a suitable location for study. In the 17th century Cambridge University educated many of the founders of a (then) minor American university called Harvard, also located in a place called Cambridge(named after the English university). Cambridge University has many famous alumni, including: mathematicians such as Sir Isaac Newton, philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and writers such as John Milton and Lord Byron. It was the site of Rutherford's pioneering work in nuclear physics as well as Crick and Watson's DNA work (see the Eagle pub below). Cambridge academics have won more Nobel Prizes than those of any other university in the world. The rumour that just one college, Trinity, had more Nobel prize winners than France, however, is false.
The city is surrounded on all sides by heritage villages, towns and ancient monuments (such as Ely and Peterborough), all within easy travelling distance. Like Oxford, Cambridge was spared from the German carpet bombing that devastated many other British cities, and is thus one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the UK
More than 3.5 million visitors come to Cambridge every year to savour the delights of the historic city itself, as well as using it as an ideal base for exploring some of the gentlest (read flattest; good for leisurely walks, poor for hills with viewpoints) and most unspoiled countryside in England.
Settlements have existed around the Cambridge area since prehistoric times. The earliest clear evidence of occupation is the remains of a 3,500-year-old farmstead discovered at the site of Fitzwilliam College. There is further archaeological evidence of occupation through the Iron Age, with evidence of settlement on Castle Hill in the 1st century BC, perhaps relating to wider cultural changes occurring in southeastern Britain at this time linked to the arrival of the Belgae.
The principal Roman site at Cambridge is a small fort (castrum) named Duroliponte located on Castle Hill, just northwest of the city centre and around the location of the earlier British village. The fort was bounded on two sides by the lines formed by the present Mount Pleasant, continuing across Huntingdon Road into Clare Street. The eastern side followed Magrath Avenue, with the southern side running near to Chesterton Lane and Kettle's Yard before turning northwest at Honey Hill. It was constructed around ad 70 and converted to civilian use around fifty years later. Evidence of widespread Roman settlement has been discovered in Cambridge including numerous farmsteads and a village in the Cambridge district of Newnham.
Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain around 410, the location may have been abandoned by the Britons, although the site is usually identified as the Cair Grauth listed among the 28 cities of Britain by the History of the Britons. There is evidence that the invading Anglo-Saxons had begun occupying the area by the end of the century. Their settlement—also on and around Castle Hill—became known as Grantebrycge ("Granta-bridge"). (By Middle English, the name of the settlement had changed to "Cambridge" and the lower stretches of the Granta changed their name to match. ) Anglo-Saxon grave goods have been found in the area. During this period, Cambridge benefited from good trade links across the hard-to-travel fenlands. By the 7th century, the town was less significant and was described by Bede as a "little ruined city" containing the burial site of Etheldreda. Cambridge formed part of the border between the East and Middle Anglian kingdoms and settlement slowly expanded on both sides of the river.
The arrival of the Vikings in Cambridge was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 875. Viking rule, the Danelaw, had been imposed by 878 The Vikings' vigorous trading habits caused Cambridge to grow rapidly. During this period the centre of the town shifted from Castle Hill on the left bank of the river to the area now known as the Quayside on the right bank. After the Viking period, the Saxons enjoyed a return to power, building churches such as St Bene't's Church, wharves, merchant houses and a mint, which produced coins with the town's name abbreviated to "Grant".
In 1068, two years after his conquest of England, William of Normandy built a castle on Castle Hill. Like the rest of the newly conquered kingdom, Cambridge fell under the control of the King and his deputies. The distinctive Round Church dates from this period.
The first town charter was granted by Henry I to Cambridge between 1120 and 1131. It gave Cambridge monopoly of waterborne traffic and hithe tolls as well as recognising the Borough court. In 1209, Cambridge University was founded by students escaping from hostile townspeople in Oxford. The oldest college that still exists, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284.
In 1349 Cambridge was affected by the Black Death. Few records survive but 16 of 40 scholars at Kings Hall died. The town north of the river was severely affected being almost wiped out. Following further depopulation after a second national epidemic in 1361, a letter from the Bishop of Ely suggested that two parishes in Cambridge be merged as there were not enough people to fill even one church. With over a third of English clergy dying in the Black Death, four new colleges were established at the University over the following years to train new clergymen, namely Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi and Clare.
In 1382 a revised town charter effects a "diminution of the liberties that the community had enjoyed", due to Cambridge's participation in the Peasants' Revolt. The charter transfers supervision of baking & brewing, weights & measures, and forestalling & regrating, from the town to the University.
One of the most well-known buildings in Cambridge, King's College Chapel, was begun in 1446 by King Henry VI. The project was completed in 1515 during the reign of King Henry VIII.
Following numerous deaths in the town due to plague, sanitation and fresh water were brought to Cambridge through the construction of Hobson's Conduit in the early 1600s. The water system brought water from Nine Wells, at the foot of the Gog Magog Hills, into the centre of the town.
Cambridge played a significant role in the early part of the English Civil War as it was the headquarters of the Eastern Counties Association, an organisation administering a regional East Anglian army, which became the mainstay of the Parliamentarian military effort prior to the formation of the New Model Army. In 1643 control of the town was given by Parliament to Oliver Cromwell, who had been educated at the University's Sidney Sussex College. The town's castle was fortified, with troops garrisoned there and some bridges destroyed to aid the defence. Although Royalist forces came within 2 miles (3 km) of the town in 1644, the defences were never used and the garrison was stood down the following year.
In the 19th century, in common with many other English towns, Cambridge expanded rapidly. This was due in part to increased life expectancy and also improved agricultural production leading to increased trade in town markets. Inclosure Acts of 1801 and 1807 enabled expansion of the town over surrounding open fields and eventually in 1912 and again in 1935 the boundaries were extended to include areas such as Chesterton, Cherry Hinton, Fen Ditton, Trumpington, and Grantchester.
The railway came to Cambridge in 1845 after initially being resisted, with the opening of the Great Eastern London to Norwich line. The station was placed outside the town centre following pressure from the University, who restricted travel by undergraduates. With the arrival of the railway and its associated employment came expansion of the areas around the station, such as Romsey Town. The train link to London stimulated heavier industries, such as the production of brick, cement and malt.
From the 1930s to the 1980s, the size of the city was increased by several large council estates. The biggest impact has been on the area north of the river, which are now the estates of East Chesterton, King's Hedges, and Arbury where Archbishop Rowan Williams lived and worked as an assistant priest in the early 1980s.
During the Second World War, Cambridge was an important centre for defence of the east coast. The town became a military centre, with an R.A.F. training centre and the regional headquarters for Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire,Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire established during the conflict. The town itself escaped relatively lightly from German bombing raids, which were mainly targeted at the railway. 29 people were killed and no historic buildings were damaged. In 1944, a secret meeting of military leaders held in Trinity College laid the foundation for the allied invasion of Europe. During the war Cambridge served as an evacuation centre for over 7,000 people from London, as well as for parts of the University of London.
Cambridge was granted its city charter in 1951 in recognition of its history, administrative importance and economic success. Cambridge does not have a cathedral, traditionally a prerequisite for city status, instead falling within the Church of England Diocese of Ely. In 1962 Cambridge's first shopping arcade, Bradwell's Court, opened on Drummer Street, though this was demolished in 2006. Other shopping arcades followed at Lion Yard, which housed a relocated Central Library for the city, and the Grafton Centre which replaced Victorian housing stock which had fallen into disrepair in the Kite area of the city. This latter project was controversial at the time.
The city gained its second University in 1992 when Anglia Polytechnic became Anglia Polytechnic University. Renamed Anglia Ruskin University in 2005, the institution has its origins in the Cambridge School of Art opened in 1858 by John Ruskin. The Open University also has a presence in the city, with an office operating on Hills Road.
Cambridge currently has two official weather observing stations, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), about 2 miles (3 km) north of the city centre, and the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, about 1 mile south of the city centre. In addition, the Digital Technology Group of the University's Computer Laboratory maintains a weather station on the West Cambridge site, displaying current weather conditions online via web browsers or an app, and also an archive dating back to 1995.
The city, like most of the UK, has a maritime climate highly influenced by the Gulf Stream. Located in the driest region of Britain, Cambridge's rainfall averages around 570 mm (22.44 in) per year, around half the national average, with some years occasionally falling into the semi-arid (under 500 mm (19.69 in) of rain per year) category. The last time this occurred was in 2011 with 380.4 mm (14.98 in) of rain at the Botanic Gardens and 347.2 mm (13.67 in) at the NIAB site. Conversely, 2012 was the wettest year on record, with 812.7 mm (32.00 in) reported. Snowfall accumulations are usually small, in part because of Cambridge's low elevation, and low precipitation tendency during transitional snow events.
Owing to its low lying, inland, and easterly position within the British Isles, summer temperatures tend to be somewhat higher than areas further west, and often rival or even exceed those recorded in the London area. July 2006 for example recorded the highest official mean monthly maximum (i.e. averaged over the entire month) of any month at any location in the UK since records began; 28.3 °C (82.9 °F), at both the NIAB and Botanic Garden observing stations. Cambridge also often records the annual highest national temperature in any given year – 30.2 °C (86.4 °F) in July 2008 at NIAB and 30.1 °C (86.2 °F) in August 2007 at the Botanic Garden are two recent examples. The absolute maximum stands at 36.9 °C (98.4 °F) set on 10 August 2003, although a temperature of 37.5 °C (99.5 °F) was recorded on the same day at the Guildhall rooftop weather station in the city centre and is acknowledged by the Met Office. Before this, the absolute maximum was 36.5 °C (97.7 °F) set at the Botanic Garden in August 1990. The last time the temperature exceeded 35 °C (95 °F) was July 2006 when the maximum reached 35.6 °C (96.1 °F) at the Botanic Garden and 35.8 °C (96.4 °F) at NIAB. Typically the temperature will reach 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or higher on over 25 days of the year over the 1981–2010 period, with the annual warmest day averaging 31.5 °C (88.7 °F) over the same period.
Sunshine averages around 1,500 hours a year or around 35% of possible, a level typical of most locations in inland central England.
Climate data for Cambridge University Botanic Garden
|Record high °C (°F)||14.9|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.4|
|Average low °C (°F)||1.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||−16.1|
Cambridge is situated about 50 miles (80 km) north-by-east of London. The city is located in an area of level and relatively low-lying terrain just south of the Fens, which varies between 6 and 24 metres (20 and 79 ft)above sea level. The town was thus historically surrounded by low lying wetlands that have been drained as the town has expanded.
The underlying geology of Cambridge consists of gault clay and Chalk Marl, known locally as Cambridge Greensand, partly overlaid by terrace gravel. A layer ofphosphatic nodules (coprolites) under the marl were mined in the 19th century for fertiliser. It became a major industry in the county, and its profits yielded buildings such as the Corn Exchange, Fulbourn Hospital and St. John's Chapel until the Quarries Act 1894 and competition from America ended production.
The River Cam flows through the city from the village of Grantchester, to the southwest. It is bordered by water meadows within the city such as Sheep's Green as well as residential development. Like most cities, modern-day Cambridge has many suburbs and areas of high-density housing. The city centre of Cambridge is mostly commercial, historic buildings, and large green areas such as Jesus Green,Parker's Piece and Midsummer Common. Many of the roads in the centre are pedestrianised. Population growth has seen new housing developments in the 21st century, with estates such as the CB1 and Accordia schemes near the station, and developments such as Great Kneighton, formally known as Clay Farm, and Trumpington Meadows currently under construction in the south of the city. Other major developments currently being constructed in the city are Darwin Green (formerly NIAB), and University-led developments at West Cambridge and North West Cambridge.
The entire city centre, as well as parts of Chesterton, Petersfield, West Cambridge, Newnham, and Abbey, are covered by an Air Quality Management Area, implemented to counter high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere.
The town's river link to the surrounding agricultural land, and good road connections to London in the south meant Cambridge has historically served as an important regional trading post. King Henry I granted Cambridge a monopoly on river trade, enabling this area of the economy to flourish. The town market provided for trade in a wide variety of goods and annual trading fairs such as Stourbridge Fair and Midsummer Fair were visited by merchants from across the country. The river was described in an account of 1748 as being "often so full of [merchant boats] that the navigation thereof is stopped for some time". For example, 2000 firkins of butter were brought up the river every Monday from the agricultural lands to the North East, particularity Norfolk, to be unloaded in the town for road transportation to London. Changing patterns of retail distribution and the advent of the railways led to a decline in Cambridge's importance as a market town.
Today Cambridge has a diverse economy with strength in sectors such as research & development, software consultancy, high value engineering, creative industries, pharmaceuticals and tourism. Described as one of the "most beautiful cities in the world" by Forbes in 2010, tourism generates over £350 million for the city's economy.
Cambridge and its surrounds are sometimes referred to as Silicon Fen, an allusion to Silicon Valley, because of the density of high-tech businesses and technology incubators that have developed on science parks around the city. Many of these parks and buildings are owned or leased by university colleges, and the companies often have been spun out of the university. Cambridge Science Park, which is the largest commercial R&D centre in Europe, is owned by Trinity College; St John's is the landlord of St John's Innovation Centre. Technology companies include Abcam, CSR, ARM Limited, CamSemi, Jagex and Sinclair. Microsoft has located its Microsoft Research UK offices in West Cambridge, separate from the main Microsoft UK campus in Reading, and also has an office on Station Road.
Cambridge was also the home of Pye Ltd., founded in 1898 by W. G. Pye, who worked in the Cavendish Laboratory; it began by supplying the University and later specialised in wireless telegraphy equipment, radios, televisions and also defence equipment. Pye Ltd evolved into several other companies including TETRA radio equipment manufacturer Sepura. Another major business is Marshall Aerospacelocated on the eastern edge of the city. The Cambridge Network keeps businesses in touch with each other. The software company Autonomy Corporation is located at the Business Park on Cowley Road.
The local telephone code for Cambridge is 01223.
There are many cybercafes in Cambridge and free Wi-Fi is available in many cafes and pubs. The public library in Grand Arcade provides free internet access but you need to register as a library member, which requires TWO proofs of ID, one of your person such as a passport, ID card or photographical driving licence and one of your address such as a utility bill, bank statement or an official letter from a council.
- jaffa net cafe, 22 Mill Road. High quality internet access with a fast internet connection. Pleasant, comfortable seating available as well as fresh sandwiches, baguettes and a selection of cakes are also available.
- CB1, 32 Mill Road. Has both free Wi-Fi and reasonably priced PCs.
- La Pronto, 2 Emmanuel Street (central).
- The library at Anglia Ruskin University on East Rd. will provide a ticket for its wifi service on request. Ask at the library desk.
Prices in Cambridge
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.80|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$8.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$36.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$59.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$6.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$4.60|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$4.20|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$10.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$15.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.12|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$10.80|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$2.40|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$86.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$49.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$73.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$2.90|
65 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
228 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Cambridge is a mere 50 mi (80 km) north of London. With good rail services and road communication links, Cambridge is easily accessible, whether travelling by car, or by public transport.
Cambridge is within easy reach of some but not all of London's international airports.
London Stansted is 30 mi away, for example, has regular bus and rail services into Cambridge. Direct rail services leave every hour from platform 2 (to Birmingham New Street) and take about 35 min with a return fare £12.80. For more frequent services take the Stansted Express to London from platform 1 and change at Bishops's Stortford or Stansted Mountfitchet, taking about 50 min. Note, however, that rail services may be unavailable if your flight arrives Stansted very late or departs very early in the day, and while the airport likes to advertise hourly services, there are some strange gaps in the timetable so check the boards before you buy a ticket, and go to the bus terminal if there is nothing sensible on offer. National Express coaches run between Cambridge and Stansted (including late at night), taking about 55 minutes and costing £11.50. Abacus Airport Cars Cambridge rides there from £40.00 one way.
Luton Airport is best reached by National Express Coach, taking about 1.5 hours and costing £14, but these run only every 2 hours or so.
London Stansted and London Luton airports offer many of the cheapest international flights to be found in Europe, with many of the big low-cost European airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair and TUIfly having a hub at one of these two airports.
Heathrow is 90-120 min away by car, depending on traffic.
National Express Coaches to and from Heathrow central bus station take around 2.5 hr for £25.
By rail there are two options, both of which should take approximately 2 hours:
- Take the Heathrow Express from Heathrow Railstation at Terminals 2 & 3 (N.B. there is no additional charge for transfer between Terminals 4 & 5 to Terminals 2 & 3) to London Paddington (PAD), this service departs approximately every 15 minutes. From London Paddington take the tube (Hammersmith and City line or Circle line) to London Kings Cross (LGX) and then take a train to Cambridge (CBG). The total cost when booking over 3 months in advance should be less than £20 one way and £30 return. If buying tickets for the Heathrow Express on board or at the Airport, expect to pay £35 single and £55 return. This method of travel reduces the time spent on the tube to less than 15 minutes, which is advisable at peak tube times (7AM-9AM, 4PM-6PM).
- Take the tube (Piccadilly line) from London Heathrow underground Terminals 2,3,4 or 5 to London Kings Cross (LGX). From there take a train to Cambridge (CBG). The total cost when booking in advance should be less than £15 one way and £25 return. If buying at the station, expect to pay £18 single and £30 return. This method of travel is the cheapest method by rail but involves approximately 1 hr of tube travel, which is not advisable at peak tube times (7AM-9AM, 4PM-6PM).
Abacus Airport Cars to Cambridge cost £85.00 one way.
Gatwick is the least convenient London airport, being on the opposite side of London: driving necessitates a tour of the M25 London ring road and takes around 3 h by car. It is best reached by train to King's Cross, walk to St. Pancras and train to Gatwick (or by connecting by tube to Victoria and then catching the marginally faster Gatwick Express) with a total journey time around 2 h for fare £28. Abacus Airport Cars Cambridge rides there from £100.00 one way. There is a National Express bus service available, again around 3 h (and that M25 again).
London City Airport is best reached by train to King's Cross, then Underground and Docklands Light Railway across London, for £22 (less if you have an Oyster card). Abacus Airport Cars Cambridge rides there from £77.00 one way.
Cambridge has its own airport - Cambridge International Airport (CBG) - on the eastern outskirts of the city; just 10-minutes from the historic centre. It has a limited number of scheduled flights. CityJet operates twice daily flights to both Amsterdam and Dublin. Etihad Regional (formerly Darwin Airline) operates direct flights to Amsterdam and Verona a couple of times per week. Other flights include a weekly service to Jersey (during the summer) and occasional charter flights to ski/sun destinations.
Regular trains run from London (King's Cross and Liverpool Street) to Cambridge. The fastest "Cambridge Cruiser" services to and from King's Cross run non-stop and take under 50 min, generally departing at :15 and :45 minutes after the hour. "Semi-fast" services stop at a few intermediate stations and take about 65 min, slower stopping trains may take up to 90 min. Try to avoid taking a train with more than 8 stops between Cambridge and London Kings Cross to avoid the slowest trains. Trains to and from London Liverpool Street, for which cheaper tickets are sometimes available, all take about 75 min. Direct trains from Stansted airport to Cambridge take 35 min (catch trains from Stansted going in the direction of Birmingham). Because Cambridge is one of the main junctions of the East Anglia railway network, trains also run to and from Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Birmingham. See National Rail for timetable and fare information.
You can buy an overnight Rail and Sail ticket from Cambridge to anywhere in the Netherlands for around GBP80, using the Harwich-Hook of Holland ferry route. Ensure that you choose the correct ticket, but you can find deals that cover the ferry (including a room and bed) and travel between Cambridge to any station in the Netherlands. Departures from Cambridge are at about 7PM; going the other way, you arrive a bit before 10AM. (There are daytime ferries too, but the train timetables mean you can make no train connection.)
The railway station is about 1.2 mi south of the city centre; there are regular buses to town and a taxi rank outside the station. The station has a staffed travel centre, self-service ticket machines (note that many take only European smartchip cards and do not accept cash) and automatic ticket barriers (you need your ticket to getboth in and out of the station). Pay attention buying tickets as there is often a queue at the machines and none at the ticket windows. There are also ATMs, several cafes and a bookstore, on the platform accessible only to ticket holders, and a mini-supermarket in the station foyer. Note that the station is very long, with several trains parked end-to-end on the main platform, so you may need to walk a long way between trains if you have a tight connection.
Cambridge is very accessible by cycle, and the local government encourages sustainable travel (such as walking and cycling). National Cycle Network routes 11 and 51 both pass through the city, and Cambridge is also served with a comprehensive local cycle network. Within the city, cycling is a common means of getting around. Cycles can be rented from a number of outlets, including Station Cycles (located just north of the railway station), Station Cycles' central branch (located on floor -1 of the Grand Arcade shopping centre) and from City Cycle Hire (on the western edge of the city centre, in the suburb of Newnham).
Some quick notes on cycling etiquette: cycling on the pavement (sidewalk) is not generally permitted unless there is a specifically signed shared-use cycle lane; cycling on the road is always allowed, even if a shared-use lane exists (but you may find this annoys car drivers). One-way streets apply to cycles unless there is a cycle lane for travelling in the opposite direction. Respect red traffic lights and always use cycle lights in the dark. If you are caught without lights, you are liable to an on-the-spot fine of £30. Obey the rules even if many others break them.
Parking can be difficult in central Cambridge (the best parking, if you're prepared to pay, is in the Grand Arcade in the centre of town) and the one way street system is extremely confusing. The Council recommends the use of the "Park and Ride" scheme (£1 for parking and a £2.70 return bus fare).
- Cambridge is connected to London primarily by the M11 or the A10.
- From the north, come off the A1 onto the A14.
- From West and North West London and Hertfordshire, the A1(M) and A505 via Letchworth and Hitchin is a fairly fast alternative route that avoids the M25 (especially during peak traffic).
- The A421/A428 is also worth considering if driving from Milton Keynes and Bedford.
National Express provides bus links to major cities around the country, including direct services to London Victoria and Birmingham, as well as frequent airport coaches to Luton, Stansted, Heathrow, and Gatwick. National Express coaches depart from Parkside, next to Parker's Piece park, about half a mile from the City Centre. Many services also stop at the Trumpington and Madingley Road Park and Ride sites.
The bus station for shorter-distance buses is on Drummer Street, conveniently located for all the main sights. Stagecoach operate routes from Cambridge to Bedford, Ely, Peterborough (via a connection at Chatteris), Newmarket, Saffron Walden, Bury St Edmunds and Oxford.
Several different bus and coach companies (notably Stagecoach and Whippet Coaches) operate services within Cambridge and the surrounding area, and therefore tickets for one company may not be valid on buses routes operated by other companies. The service is notoriously irregular, and it is best to leave around half as much time again for a journey as the buses are often delayed/cancelled/slow, and if an urgent connection is to be made they are best avoided, especially the "citi" branded buses: walk or take a taxi.
Transportation - Get Around
Cambridge is mostly pedestrian-friendly: most sights can be easily reached on foot and much of the central area is traffic-free. Do note that some of the pavements are shared use between pedestrians and cyclists; this can catch you out unless you watch out for it. Cambridge walking directions can be planned online with the walkit.com walking route planner. Students and locals often use bikes to get around and hiring a bike is a viable alternative to simply walking.
You can also opt for a hop-on, hop-off open-top sightseeing bus which provides commentary in several languages. The sightseeing bus passes the railway station, American Cemetery, and many of the historic colleges, but as the city centre is pedestrianised, it can approach the more central colleges on only Sundays.
There is little need to use the local bus services unless you are staying in a far-flung area of the city, but they are clean and efficient if you need to. Citi buses cost between £1 and £2 for individual cash fares within Cambridge City (change is given but drivers may refuse large denomination notes), but just tell the driver your destination as you board and take your ticket from the machine. An all-day pass costs £3.70 for Cambridge City and Park and Ride services or £5.20 for the surrounding area.
Cambridge City Council discourages car use. Parking charges are high and the city is home to a system of rising bollards that allow vehicles with appropriate transponders (e.g., taxis, buses, emergency vehicles) through but can cause severe damage to other vehicles tailgating, often to the point of writing them off.
There are many taxi companies in Cambridge. Panther Taxis are the largest taxi company operating 24/7/365. Bookings can also be made via their website; Tel: +44 1223 715715. Camtax claim to be Cambridge's oldest taxi company; Tel: +44 1223 313131. Camcab operate a 24-hour service 365 days a year; Tel: +44 1223 704704.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
King's Parade has numerous souvenir shops and gift shops with Cambridge (and London) branded merchandise. Scour the charity shops down Burleigh Street, Regent Street and Mill Road for bargains. Book collectors will find many shops especially Trinity Street. The market square in the centre of town has a general market Monday to Saturday with fruit and vegetables, bread and cakes, books, bicycle repair, tea and coffee, fast food and clothes, and a more arts- and crafts-oriented market on Sunday with pottery, ceramics, prints, clothing, etc. The surrounding streets and the nearby Lion Yard shopping centre have most of the common retail names and many individual shops to cater for most needs. The Grafton Centre has all the usual high-street shops in a mall and surrounding streets.
M&S Simply Food (part of the Marks and Spencer department store chain) have several mini-supermarkets that sell high-quality sandwiches, prepared meals, snacks and other groceries - usually at a high price. The main supermarket in the city centre is Sainsbury's on Sydney St. which stocks a full range of groceries and everyday products as well as alcohol and cigarettes. There are more supermarkets on the edge of town also large Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Waitrose superstores on the edge of the city. Tesco has the best bus connections.
- Ryder & Amies, 22 King's Parade, . "The University Store" sells Cambridge University merchandise.
- John Lewis, 10 Downing Street,. Large department store.
- Primavera, 10 King's Parade, . High quality contemporary art & crafts.
- Cambridge Contemporary Art, 6 Trinity Street, .More art & crafts.
- Cambridge Cheese Company, 4 All Saints Passage, . Excellent selection of cheese and delicatessan counter.
- Cambridge University Press Bookshop, 1 Trinity Street, . Only sells CUP books, but it is the oldest bookshop site in the country - books have been sold there since at least 1581.
- Heffers, 20 Trinity Street, . Large academic bookshop. Caffe Nero instore.
- Beehive Center, on the A1134 (by foot about 10 minutes east of the Grafton Centre). A series of shops including Asda, DW Sports Fitness, TK Maxx, Next Home, Dreams, Toys R Us. Further up Newmarket Road, there are a couple of additional large stores like Tesco and Currys.
- Rainbow Cafe, 9A King's Parade, . M-Sa 11AM-11PM. Average Price: £12 (Meal with beverage) Virtually the only place in Cambridge to get vegan food. Also caters to a whole range of dietary requirements. The food is very tasty, imaginative fare. Can be cramped, but worth waiting for a table!
- Michaelhouse Cafe, Trinity St (inside St. Michael's Church). M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM. Average Price: £4-6 - beautiful cafe serving excellent sandwiches, salads, hot dishes, and soups. Desserts as well. Vegetarian options always available. Lunch served until 3PM.
- CB2 Internet Bistro, 5-7 Norfolk Street, e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 12:00-00:00. Average price: £10. Similar to CB1 (see Drink), but larger, this place serves high quality international cuisine for a modest price.
- Tatties, 11 Sussex Street. Busy cafe serving jacket potatoes and sandwiches. Very popular with students around lunch time.
- Auntie's Tea Shop, 1 St Marys Passage (off the market square toward King's Parade). The £9 cream tea (traditional afternoon tea with scones and small sandwiches) makes a good snack for two. Rather cramped when busy on the weekends.
- Savinos, 3 Emmanuel Street. Authentic Italian coffee bar. Best espresso and cappuccino in town.
- Luke's, 110 Regent Street. Cambridge is surprisingly short of fish and chip shops but Luke's won't disappoint.
- Clowns Cafe, 54 King Street. Cheap Italian pasta dishes, good coffee, wide choice of cakes. Eccentric clown-based decor.
Many pubs in Cambridge also serve good food at reasonable prices, for example the George and Dragon, Carlton Arms, Cambridge Blue, Kingston Arms, Portland Arms, The Zebra and The Mitre among others.
- The Cambridge Chop House, 1 King's Parade, CB2 1SJ, . Su-Th: 12:00-22:30 F,Sa: 12:00-23:00. Good British cuisine in a great location, real ale (well kept!), attentive service, fixed lunch & (early) dinner menu from £11 (2 course), mains £10-20. Booking recommended.
- De Luca Cucina & Bar, 83 Regent St, . Su: 10:00-21:30 M-Th: 11:00-23:00 F,Sa: 11:00-24:00. Average Price: £25. Great little Italian/British Fusion Restaurant with reasonable prices and great staff!
- Fitzbillies, 51 Trumpington Street, . Sun: 12:00-17:45 and Mon to Sat: 09:00-21:30. Average Price: Varies depending on whether you go there for lunch, tea, or dinner. Fitzbillies is a Cambridge institution serving refined food for lunches and dinners, as well as heavenly tea and pastries in the afternoon. Don't forget its adjacent shop selling the best pastries in town, amongst which you will find the world famous Chelsea Bun!
- Le Gros Franck, 57 Hills Road, CB2 1NT, . Le Gros Franck serves genuine French cuisine, cooked by an award-winning French chef Franck Parnin. By day, Le Gros Franck is a French patisserie, with fresh pastries, pastas and sandwiches. Specialties include our genuine French-style steak-frites, fish pies and stews. By night, Le Gros Franck is a romantic French restaurant serving the finest French food at your table from our menu. Only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday Evenings.
- Loch Fyne Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar, 37 Trumpington Street, . Sun: 10:00-21:30 M-Th: 09:00-22:00 F: 09:00-22:30 Sa: 10:00-23:00. Average Price: £20. If you love seafood this place is for you!
- The Kohinoor Tandoori Restaurant, 74 Mill Road, . Su to Sa: 12:00-14:30, 18:00-00:00. Average Price: £11-20. There isn't much to say: top quality food, excellent service, and generous portions!
- Restaurant 22, 22 Chesterton Road, CB4 3AX, . Set Menu 3 Courses £28. Set in a converted Victorian house near the river. Serves up quality seasonal food from a monthly changing menu in an intermate dining room. Booking essential. larger private room up stairs for parties of approx 12.
- Sala Thong Thai Restaurant, 35 Newnham Road, .Su-Sa: 12:00-14:30, 18:00-22:30. Average Price: £11-20. This small place serves simple tasty thai food with good service.
- Luk Thai at the Cricketers, 18 Melbourne Place, .Mo-Sa: 12:00-13:00, 05:30-11:00, Su: 12:00-13:00, 05:30-10:00. Average Price: £25 per person for starter, main, desert and drinks
- Thanh Binh, 17, Magdalene St, CB3 0AF, . Average price: £20. Very good Vietnamese food in a pleasant atmosphere. No alcohol license, but you can bring your own; there is a good wine shop just over the bridge 50m away.
- Arundel House Hotel Bar & Restaurant, Chesterton Road.Comfortable, elegantly furnished bar and restaurant convenient if you are staying north of the river.
- Cotto Restaurant, 183 East Road, CB1 1BG, .The twice-Gold Medallist at the Chef's Olympics, Hans Schweitzer has amassed an impressive repertoire of culinary skills, including training as a Confiseur and Chocolatier in Switzerland and Paris. He is considered the best chef in Cambridge. A contemporary, restaurant, convenient if you are near Parker's Piece, Anglia Ruskin University or the Grafton Centre. Open for lunch Tue - Sat 9AM-3PM. Dinner Thu - Sat from 7PM.
- Midsummer House, . Tu-Th: 19:00-21:30; F,Sa: 12:00-14:00, 19:00-21:30. Midsummer Common. Average Price: £50+. By far Cambridge's finest restaurant and one of only ten British restaurants to have earned two stars from the Michelin guide.
- Alimentum, 152-154 Hills Road, . We paid £55/person for a cocktail, starter, main, half bottle of wine, and dessert each. Newly opened in July 2007; very good food and a fairly varied choice on the menu (only one vegetarian option per course, though).
Coffe & Drink
- CB1, Mill Road. A bohemian café with book-lined walls, good affordable coffee, half-price refills, free wifi and friendly staff. This place is open everyday from 10AM-8PM and tends to get crowded in the afternoon.
- Black Cat Cafe, Broadway Mill Road. Due to being owned by a New Zealander the coffee is a kept at a high standard. The cakes however are famous, a definite must for a sweet-tooth. You will need to get in early for a table at the weekends.
- Indigo Coffee House, 8 St. Edward's Passage (central). A tiny cheerful place with excellent coffee and bagels!
- Savinos, Emmanuel Street. Italian Coffee Bar. The best place in town where you can relax drinking a true and delicious Italian coffee or if you are hungry you can try a tasty Italian baguette with ingredients imported from Italy. While you are chilling out with your drink you can read Italian newspapers or listening to Italian music.
- Clowns, King Street. Italian cafe. Cheap pasta dishes, good coffee, lots of cakes to choose from, English breakfasts. A good place to meet friends, or to while away an hour or two with a book.
You'll also find all the usual coffee chains: Nero's in three central locations onKing's Parade, Market Street, and Fitzroy Street, Starbucks on Market Street, Fitzroy Street, inside the Grand Arcade and on Christs Lane, andCosta inside the Grand Arcade Sidney Street and Mill Road.
Sights & Landmarks
Cambridge University consists of a number of semi-independent colleges, many central, some up to 3 miles from the town centre (traditionally measured from Great St. Mary's church). The following are a good selection for sightseeing. Most of the colleges within the central area are worth a look, if you have the time.
Some, but not all, colleges charge for entrance. Colleges are typically closed to visitors during the University exam period, at the end of May and the first week of June.
Please remember to be respectful when visiting the colleges. They are students' homes for much of the year, and the workload and pressure at the University can be immense. Do not enter buildings you are not explicitly invited to, do not stare into people's windows, and be polite when taking photographs. Always remember that the colleges' role is first and foremost that of academic institutions; they are not there for tourists, and it is rude to do anything which impedes or inconveniences the people who live and work in them.
- King's College and King's College Chapel, King's Parade, . College grounds open term-time M-F 9:30AM–3:30PM, Sa 9:30AM–3:15PM, Su 1:15PM–2:15PM and 5PM-5:30PM (summer only). Out of term M-Sa 9:30AM–4:30PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Grounds closed during exams (late April to mid June) though Chapel is open. Chapel opening times vary, ring for details.. The most visited attraction in Cambridge, the architecture of King's College Chapel towers above the town and its world-famous choir have spread its reputation across the globe. £8 adults, £4 children/students.
- Queens' College, Silver Street/Queens' Lane, . Open approx 10AM-4:30PM, see website or ring for updated times. Closed mid-May to mid-June. Founded by two Queens - Margaret of Anjou in 1448 and Elizabeth Woodville in 1465, the College stretches across both sides of the Cam, linked by the famousMathematical Bridge. The myth goes that it was designed by Isaac Newton without the use of pins, screws, nuts or bolts, but when disassembled, the fellows and students couldn't figure out how to put it back together again. This is sadly false, the bridge dates from 1749, 22 years after Newton's death. The stunning medieval Old Hall is also worth a visit. £3 (includes printed guide). Free mid-October to mid-March.
- Trinity College. Large attractive courtyard and library designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The interior of the Wren Library (Mo-Fr 12-2PM, Sa 10:30AM-12:30PM in Full Term) is particularly beautiful and features medieval bibles, items from the possession of Isaac Newton, original manuscripts by Wittgenstein, a Winnie-the-Pooh manuscript by A.A. Milne, and notes by Bertrand Russell, among other things. Even when the college is closed to visitors, the library may still be accessible from Queens Road on the other side of the River Cam. £2
- St Johns College. Formally the St Johns Hospital (13th century) before being refounded as a college in 1511, this college houses the oldest academic building in Cambridge (the "School of Pythagoras"). It has a number of large courtyards, and has the Cambridge "Bridge of Sighs". £4
- Jesus College. Attractive grounds and sculptures scattered throughout.
- Pembroke College. The 3rd oldest college in Cambridge, founded in 1347 by the Countess of Pembroke, Marie de St Paul, is well known for its beautiful gardens.
- Clare College. The 2nd oldest college with pretty gardens, courtyard and the oldest river bridge in Cambridge.
- Peterhouse. The oldest Cambridge college was founded in 1284 and has two large gardens, the Scholars' Garden and the Deer Park, both of which students and visitors can walk all over (unusual for Cambridge colleges!).
- Saint Catharine's College. St Catharine's College was founded in 1473 by Robert Wodelarke, Provost of King's College. The College was christened in honour of the patron saint of learning and was originally known as Katharine Hall. It was largely rebuilt in the 17th century with work on the Main Court beginning in 1673; the Chapel was completed in 1704. In spite of its modest size, the college's three-sided brick Main Court is almost unique among Cambridge Colleges and deserves a short stop while strolling down Trumpington Street. The College is in the very centre of Cambridge next to King's College and facing Corpus Christi College.
- Homerton College. Homerton College is one of the newer colleges, though it has existed for centuries as an academic institution and is architecturally very pretty, with extensive and tranquil grounds and a picturesque orchard. It is in a beautiful location on Hills Road, about fifteen minutes walk from the town centre. The Victorian hall here is one of the most beautiful in Cambridge and definitely worth a visit. Free to enter, so worth the walk to see.
- Corpus Christi College, Corpus Christi College, Trumpington St, Cambridge, CB2 1RH. Uniquely, founded by Cambridge locals (from two town guilds). Its Old Court (to the left of the main entrance, behind St Bene't's church) dates from the 1350s and is the oldest courtyard in Cambridge. Old Court rooms have no plumbing, so you may occasionally be treated to a student walking across the court in their dressing gown to get to the toilet complex.
Parks and Gardens
- The Backs. The gardens by the river behind various colleges. Heading downstream from King's you can pass through the gardens of Clare, Trinity and St John's Colleges (which has the "Bridge of Sighs").
- Botanic Garden of Cambridge University, Bateman St CB2 1JF, . Open 10AM-4PM Nov-Jan, 10AM-5PM Feb and Oct, 10AM-6PM Mar-Oct, closed 25 Dec to 3 Jan. A relaxing way to spend a few hours, away from the hustle and bustle of the colleges and canals. Open to the public since 1846 this garden hosts some important botanic collections amongst its 10,000 or more species. Adult admission £2.50, free Mon-Fri in winter (November through February).
- Jesus Green. Originally proposed as the site for Cambridge's main railway station, Jesus Green is a broad piece of parkland immediately adjacent to Midsummer Common. Provides a quiet retreat away from the city centre and also has grass and hard tennis courts as well as an outdoor swimming pool. Plans are underway for redevelopment of this much loved park in Cambridge
- Parker's Piece. One of the best known open spaces in Cambridge. Located in the centre of the City it is bordered by Park Terrace, Regent Terrace, Parkside and Gonville Place.
- Christ's Pieces. Situated in the centre of the City, bordered by the bus station, Christ's College, Emmanuel Road and King Street. It is of typical Victorian park design with tree lined avenues. The formal seasonal bedding displays planted in the 'petal beds' near Emmanuel Road, provide all year round colour. There are also large ornamental shrub beds around the perimeter to add further year round colour and interest.
The history of Cambridge is entwined with that of the Church of England. The colleges (see above) all have chapels which can be visited, but town churches also offer a rich insight into the history of the town and university, and are usually free. Even if you aren't interested in places of worship, they are well worth a few minutes attention and are peaceful places to enjoy.
- The Round Church. Open daily (admission £1.50 adults, children free). Dating back to 1130, this is one of only four medieval round churches in England, and one of the most visited buildings in Cambridge. Besides the remarkable architecture, the building contains historical exhibitions and hosts occasional concerts and lectures. Tour guides based there offer walking tours of Cambridge which are highly rated.
- Great St Mary's. Open daily, free. This fine example of 15th-Century English Perpendicular architecture is on the market square opposite King's College. As well as viewing the beautiful nave, visitors can climb the bell tower (admission £2.50) for spectacular views over the town.
- St. Benet's. Tucked away in the lanes is this tiny 11th-century church. Its main attraction is a Saxon arch in the nave. One of several churches in town with bells, this one is a good location to see English bellringing. The times are unpredictable and not published but Sunday afternoons are your best bet. Please be quiet, ringing takes a surprising amount of concentration and the ringers can do without distractions.
- All Saints, Jesus Lane. Open daily, free. This 19th century church is no longer used for worship but has been preserved as a rare example of the Arts and Crafts movement, featuring a highly ornate interior by Bodley, and windows and wall decorations by William Morris.
- St. Andrew's, Chesterton. A walk from town, but with an impressive (if somewhat faded) medieval Doom painting around the chancel arch, showing the Judgement and giving worshippers good reason to pay attention to the sermon.
- World War II Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial.Three miles west of the city on Highway A-1303. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 9AM-5PM The cemetery is on land donated by Cambridge University and is the final resting place for 3,812 American military dead lost during the War in the Atlantic and Northern Europe. A monument is inscribed with the names of 5,126 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. The chapel contains mosaic maps of World War II campaigns and a mosaic memorial to American Air Forces on the ceiling. Free.
- Imperial War Museum Duxford. This WWII airfield south of Cambridge houses the Imperial War Museum's aircraft collection, and is the largest aviation museum in Europe. As well as military aircraft, it houses a large collection of non-military aircraft including a Concorde. There is also a land warfare museum attached that has many examples of armoured vehicles from the First World War onwards. It really a full day for a proper visit. Bus Citi 7 takes about an hour to get there from the city centre or the bus station. Make sure that you board the Citi 7 bus that says Duxford as the Citi 7 bus also goes to two other places. Also note the time of the last bus to leave the museum as later buses go to the village of Duxford but not out to the museum. Flight shows are sometimes held; these days will be very busy.
- Denny Abbey and Farmland Museum, Ely Road, Waterbeach, CB25 9PQ (7 miles north of Cambridge), . adults £5.00, children £3.00, concessions £4.00.
- Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge, CB25 9EJ, , e-mail:[email protected].
- Wimpole Hall & Home Farm, , e-mail:[email protected]. Wimpole Hall is the largest house in Cambridgeshire, set amongst rolling "Capability Brown" landscaped parklands, with a Home Farm hosting many rare breeds.
- Wicken Fen, Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 5XP.Wetland nature reserve; rare example of how the Fens all used to be before they were drained.
Further upstream from the Orchard, Grantchester is Byron's Pool, named after the (in)famous Lord Byron, of whom it is said to have swum there (at least, according to Brooke). The pool is now located below a modern weir at the junction of the Bourn Brook and the River Cam.
Museums & Galleries
- The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Su noon-5PM.The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge and is on Trumpington Street. It receives around 300,000 visitors annually. The museum was founded in 1816 with the bequest of the library and art collection of the VIIth Viscount FitzWilliam. The bequest also included £100,000 "to cause to be erected a good substantial museum repository". The "Founder's Building" itself was designed by George Basevi, completed by C. R. Cockerell and opened in 1848; the entrance hall is by Edward Middleton Barry and was completed in 1875. The Egyptian Galleries at the Fitzwilliam Museum re-opened in 2006 after a two-year, £1.5 million programme of refurbishment, conservation and research. The museum has five departments: Antiquities; Applied Arts; Coins and Medals; Manuscripts and Printed Books; and Paintings, Drawings and Prints. Highlights include masterpieces by Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso and a fine collection of 20th century art. Admission free.
- Kettle's Yard, Castle Street, , e-mail:[email protected]. House open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 1.30-4:30PM (1st weekend in April - last weekend in September); Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 2PM-4PM (1st weekend in October - last weekend in March). Gallery open Tuesday to Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays 11:30AM-5PM. Kettle's Yard is the former home of Jim and Helen Ede and houses the fine collection of art, from the early part of this century, which they gave to the University. Artists represented include Ben Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, David Jones, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. There is a separate gallery for exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, which are widely advertised and detailed on the website. Each exhibition is accompanied by a lively programme of talks, workshops and discussion groups for all ages. Music at Kettle's Yard: Kettle's Yard presents programmes of chamber music concerts and contemporary music concerts. Admission free.
- The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Downing Street, . Monday to Friday, 10AM-1PM and 2PM-5PM; Saturday 10AM-4PM. Closed on Bank Holidays. One of the University's many hidden treasures, and actually its oldest museum, the Sedgwick is packed full of fossils with more than 1 million in its collection. These range from the earliest forms of life from more than 3000 million years ago, to the wildlife that roamed the Fens less than 150,000 years ago. Displays include a gallery of minerals and gemstones, the world's largest spider, rocks collected by Charles Darwin on the 'Voyage of the Beagle', dinosaurs from the Jurassic and Triassic, and fossils from the local area including a hippopotamus from the nearby Barrington gravel pits. The museum organises many activities, so it's always a good idea to check its website. Admission free.
- The University Museum of Zoology, The New Museum Site, Downing Street, , e-mail: [email protected].Monday to Friday 10AM-4:45PM (closed on Bank Holidays). Open Saturdays mornings 10AM-1PM from June to September. CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT UNTIL 2016. The University Museum of Zoology displays a great range of recent and fossil animals, emphasising the structural diversity and evolutionary relationships among the animal kingdom. The collections were accumulated from 1814 onwards, and include many specimens collected by Charles Darwin. To find the museum, look for the spectacular whale skeleton, hung above the entrance and visible through the archway from Downing Street. Admission free.
- The Whipple Museum of the History of Science, . Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Free School Lane, just off Pembroke Street. Monday to Friday 12:30PM-4:30PM. Closed at weekends, bank holidays and occasionally over the Christmas period. Visitors are advised to check beforehand by contacting the Museum. The Whipple Museum is a pre-eminent collection of scientific instruments and models, dating from the Middle Ages to the present. Included in this outstanding collection are microscopes and telescopes, sundials, early slide rules, pocket electronic calculators, laboratory equipment and teaching and demonstration apparatus. Admission free.
- Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tuesday to Saturday 2PM-4:30PM. Closed at Christmas and Easter and on most public holidays. Possible extended summer opening - please telephone or email for details. The Museum contains large and important collections of archaeological and anthropological material from all parts of the world. The archaeological collections from all periods include significant collections from Palaeolithic Europe, Asia and Africa; Precolumbian Central and South America; early civilizations of the Mediterranean; and British archaeology. The world-renowned anthropological collections include important collections from the South Seas, West Africa and the Northwest Coast of North America; historic collections from the 18th century; and extensive photographic collections from the 19th and 20th centuries. Admission free.
- Museum of Classical Archaeology, Sidgwick Avenue, . Open Monday-Friday: 10AM-5PM; Saturday: 10AM-1PM; closed Sunday. Admission is free. The Museum of Classical Archaeology is one of the few surviving collections of plaster casts of Greek & Roman sculpture in the world. The collection of about four hundred and fifty casts is open to the public and housed in a purpose-built Cast Gallery on the first floor of the Classics Faculty. Although nothing here is an original, nearly all the well-known (and not so well-known) works from the Classical world can be seen together under one roof. The reserve research collections consist of another two hundred plaster casts, Greek vases, pottery sherds, and epigraphic squeezes. These can be consulted by arrangement.
- The Folk Museum, Castle Street. Tuesday-Sunday (also Mondays in Summer) 10.30-5.30. The only local social history museum in Cambridge and is the most comprehensive collection representing life in the South Cambridgeshire villages. Housed in an old Coaching House, the museum is home to some 20,000 objects representing the history of local life away from the University.
- The Polar Museum, Lensfield Road. Tuesday-Saturday (Also Sundays on Bank Holiday Weekends) 10.00-4.00. A short walk from the Fitzwilliam Museum is The Polar Museum. It was a finalist for The Museum of the Year Prize in 2011. Its extraordinary collection covers the Arctic and Antarctic, native peoples and the Golden Age of Exploration of heroes such as Scott and Shackleton. It also serves as the National Memorial to Scott and his men, as well as being the public front of The Scott Polar Research Institute which continues their scientific work. Special events, exhibitions, tours, children's activities and behind the scenes Open Days are held quite often.
- The University Library, West Road. Monday-Friday 09.00-6.00, Saturday 09.00-16.30. Exhibition of treasures and highlights from the Library's world-class collections of manuscripts and printed books. Two major exhibitions are held each year (roughly January to June and September to December): check website for details.
- Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane. Every day except Tuesdays. An exhibition of items from Cambridge's industrial past based at the city's old sewage pumping station on Riverside. Exhibits include the working steam and gas powered pumps, printing technology and items from several decades of electronics manufacturing within the city. The museum holds several 'steaming' days a year, usually on bank holidays, when engines and pumps may be seen working.
Things to do
- Walk along the backs. It's free, and gives you a real flavour of the city. You can walk through King's College, onto King's Parade, a beautiful row of exclusive shops.
- Punting. 9/10AM-dusk daily. If anything is stereotypically 'Cambridge', this must be it. Punting involves propelling yourself in a long wooden boat by pushing a pole against the shallow river bottom. For the full effect, take strawberries and champagne to quaff as you glide effortlessly down the river. You can either travel along the Backs or head out towards the village of Grantchester. Guided tours are also available from around £14.50 per person, but self-hire is more fun(Scudamore's Punting Company) or (Granta Punting Company). Pay per hour per punt for a quick trip along the College Backs, but it's cheaper to hire a punt for the day £100 - well worth it in summer when you head out towards Grantchester. A deposit (e.g. a credit card) is required. In fact if you turn up in the summer you'll find it hard not to go punting as touts assail you from all sides in the streets. Punting to Grantchester (upriver) takes about an hour for an experienced punter, and the complete journey would be difficult for first-timers, although there are various riverbanks on the way suitable for mooring. (Note that pranksters have been known to push unattended punts out into the river.)
- Rowing. Cambridge is renowned for rowing on the Cam. All colleges and some schools have their own clubs, and there are over half a dozen large 'town' clubs. There are a number of regattas and head races on the river throughout the year, though the highlight in the rowing calendar on the Cam is the annual bumping races. For College crews, the 'May' bumps are in June, for the local clubs, this normally is the fourth week in July. Over four evenings of racing (Tuesday - Friday), eights attempt to gain higher position by catching the crew ahead of them before being 'bumped' by the crew behind. Races take place downstream (north) of the city, between the A-14 road bridge and the railway bridge at Stourbridge Common, and are best viewed from the towpath alongside the river, or from the Plough pub in Fen Ditton, both accessible by foot from the town centre - words of warning though - if on the towpath side, be careful for the massive number of bikes that accompany the crews racing, if in the pub, you may not get a seat, and beer prices are at a premium.
- Cycling. Rent a bicycle and bike the mostly flat terrain around Cambridge. Popular destinations are Grantchester (3 km), American Cemetery (5 km), along River Cam towpath to Milton Country Park (5 km), Wicken Fen (12 km), Duxford Imperial War Museum especially during air-shows (15 km) and Ely (23 km). (More trips)
- MP3 walking tour of Cambridge £5 for two downloadable 60-minute walks [www] or for hire for £7 from the Tourist Information Centre [www]
- Cambridge United Football Club. The leading football team in Cambridge, games are played at the Abbey Stadium on Newmarket Road.
- Cambridge Corn Exchange. The city's centre for arts and entertainment.
- ADC Theatre. Park Street. The University's playhouse. Hosts student and local amateur productions. Look out for performances byFootlights, this has been the training ground for many famous comedians. Tickets £4-10.
- The Junction. Clifton Road. Artistic centre offering club nights, gigs, and new theatre, comedy, and dance. Ticket prices vary depending on the show/gig.
- Arts Picture House, 38–39 St Andrew's St. Various foreign and art-house films (see the current listing ). A more conventional selection can be found at the large multiplex at the Grafton Centre as well as the recently opened Cineworld complex at Cambridge Leisure Park in Hills Road.
- Arts Theatre. St. Edward's Passage Hosts a varied mix of professional drama, dance and opera including touring productions and an annual pantomime.
- The Orchard, 45-47 Mill Way, Grantchester, .Open Su-Sa 10.30am-6.30pm.. The target of many a punt journey up the river Cam from Cambridge, the Orchard is a famous tea rooms with a long list of famous patrons that include Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and Bertrand Russell. Taking tea in The Orchard is a well-established Cambridge tradition. Planted with apple trees, the large garden of The Orchard is perfect for lounging on a deck chair in the sun with a cup of tea and a scone for sustenance. Long queues can be expected on sunny days, but there is always room to be found in the garden. Immortalised by the poet Rupert Brooke in his 1912 poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester, Grantchester is a favourite amongst both tourists and students travelling upstream from Cambridge by punt to eat a picnic in the meadows or at the tea gardens called The Orchard. The story goes that in 1897 a group of Cambridge students persuaded the owner of Orchard House to serve them tea, and this subsequently became a regular practice. Later lodgers at Orchard House included the poet Rupert Brooke, who later moved next door to the Old Vicarage (built c. 1685). In 1912, while in Berlin, he would write his well-known poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester, in which Brooke recalled happy days in the idyllic English surroundings of Cambridgeshire. (The Old Vicarage is presently the home of the novelist Lord Jeffrey Archer of Weston-super-Mare).
Spa & Wellness
- Kelsey Kerridge is the public sports centre on the south side of Parker's Piece. Entry is possible without membership. Next door is the largeParkside public swimming pools.
- In summer it's worth visiting Jesus Green Outdoor Swimming Pool, Britain's longest outdoor pool, on Jesus Green, Chesterton Rd CB4 3BD - +44 1223 302579
All other gyms are private members only, including:
- The Glassworks, Halfmoon Yard/Quayside - +44 1223 305060.
- Greens Health and Fitness, 213 Cromwell Rd, CB1 3BA - +44 1223 245200.
- Next Generation Club, 21-25 Coldhams Lane Business Park, CB1 3LH - +44 1223 401200
- LA Fitness, Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Way, CB1 7DY - +44 1223 247662
- The Atrium Club, 64 Newmarket Road, CB5 8DZ - +44 1223 522522
- Chesterton Sports Centre, Gilbert Road CB4 3NY - +44 1223 576110
- Revolution Health & Fitness Club, 24 Science Park, CB4 OFN - +44 1223 395675
- Hills Road Sports & Tennis Centre, Purbeck Road, CB2 2PF - +44 1223 500009
Festivals and events
- Cambridge Summer Music Festival. Perhaps the most romantic way to appreciate the magnificent architecture of the many College Chapels is to hear a concert performed in their marvellous acoustics. Cambridge Summer Music offers world class performances in the well-known Chapel of King's College as well as many of the city's hidden gems.
- Midsummer Fair. (mid-June), Midsummer Common.
- Strawberry Fair. On Midsummer Common. in early June.
- Cambridge Film Festival. (July)
- Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall Park. (late July)
- Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. (July–August) Every summer, six Shakespeare plays staged outdoors in gardens of various colleges
- Cambridge Science Festival. (March) Two weeks of (mostly) free events for all ages.
- Festival of Ideas. (October–November) A festival of free events celebrating the arts, humanities and social sciences.
- Cambridge Wordfest (Spring and winter). Twice yearly literary festival with talks, readings and events featuring local and national literary figures.
- Mill Road Winter Fair (First Saturday in December). Annual community festival based around the city's Mill Road featuring music, parades, food and art organised by local residents.
- Cambridge Beer Festival, Jesus Green. (May) Annual beer festival on Jesus Green, hosted by Cambridge & District CAMRA.
Cambridge has a colossal number of pubs, over 110 at the last count.
- The Cambridge Blue, 85 Gwydir Street. A friendly pub with a large garden and good range of real ale.
- The Castle Inn, 38 Castle St. One of the best and busiest, traditional pubs in Cambridge. With an eclectic mix of locals and visitors, it can get impossibly busy of Friday and Saturday nights, however, the beer is excellent (the wine less so) and the food is home cooked and good value - the "Castle Burger" is a popular choice.
- The Champion of the Thames, 68 King Street. Old style pub in the centre of town with a blazing fireplace in the winter. One of the few pubs to sell a local cider rather than the mass-produced stuff.
- The Eagle, 8 Benet Street. Watson and Crick were regulars here whilst in the process of unravelling the secrets of DNA. American airmen also burned their names into the roof of one of the bars during the Second World War.
- The Fort St George, Midsummer Common. Been there for hundreds of years, overlooks the Cam and Midsummer Common. Also one of the best places in town for a pub lunch! (Think Sunday roast.)
- The Free Press, 7 Prospect Row. Mobile phone use is not allowed, making this a pleasant quiet pub. Garden.
- The Granta, Newnham Road. A large terrace looks out on the river and surrounding nature. Popular during the summer, this pub serves excellent food, and rents out punts and canoes.
- The Live and Let Live, Mawson Road. A small and very friendly place with an excellent selection of real ales.
- The Mill, Mill Lane. Cosy in the winter, bustling in the summer, this pub offers a refined selection of real ale.
- The Pickerel Inn, Magdelene Street. Claims to be the oldest pub in Cambridge.
- The Regal, St Andrews Street. Formerly a cinema, the Regal is the largest pub in the city and according to some, Europe. Offers a broad range of drinks including cheap ales you´d expect from a Wetherspoon´s chain pub, plus music and a rowdy dance floor in the evenings
- The Wrestlers, Newmarket Road. A bit of a walk from the City Centre, but great real ales and some of the best Thai food in town.
- The Devonshire Arms, Devonshire Road (Mill Road end). Good selection of Milton Brewery beers. Good menu. Friendly, and handy for the station.
Grantchester also contains four pubs - the Red Lion and the Green Man are closest to the river bank, and the Rupert Brooke and Blue Ball are to the right (Cambridge direction) along the main street of the village.
- Ballare, Lion Yard. The biggest club in Cambridge, known to students as Cindy's. International night on Thursday, cheesey student nights on Tuesday and Wednesday during Cambridge term.
- The Place (off Sidney Street). Affectionately known as 'Life' (its previous name) to students, or as 'Twenty-Two' which it was called until a refurbishment in March 2008.
- Fez Club, 15 Market Passage (nr Sidney Street). The only one of Cambridge's larger clubs to not change its name every couple of years. Main student night is Monday with 'Fat Poppdaddy's'.
- Lola Lo, 1-6 Corn Exchange St. Three separate areas over four floors.
Things to know
Most lectures are only open to members of the university; however, a variety of public talks and lectures are organised:
- Cambridge University public lectures and seminars
- Cambridge Discovery Lectures
- Darwin College lecture series
There are a large number of summer schools, mostly English language, but also some offering tuition in a wide range of other subjects.
Safety in Cambridge
Although Cambridge is one of the safest cities in the UK, you should still use your common-sense at night and be careful in badly-lit areas outside the city centre; Parker's Piece has seen a few cases of mugging, but the situation has greatly improved. It is wise to be on your guard around Regent Street & St Andrew's Street after midnight with anti-social behaviour due to people leaving pubs and nightclubs. Local homeless people are known to be excessive consumers of alcohol so you might want to stay clear at them at night, although they are mainly harmless.
If you have a bike, keep it locked up to a solid object with a strong lock (preferably a D-lock), as cycle theft is big business. There are cycle parking places with cycle stands to lock you bike to, in several places around the city centre and at the railway station. "Secure" covered cycle parking with CCTV surveillance and cycle stands is available in the lower section of the Park Street car park and at the Grand Arcade cycle park.
The city's police station is on Parkside which is next door to the city's fire station. The opening times of the enquiry office is everyday 8AM-10PM and bank holidays 9AM-5PM. There are a couple of smaller stations in the nearby villages of Histon and Sawston. The opening time of the enquiry office is for Histon, Mondays; 4PM-8PM, Wednesdays to Fridays; 8AM - midday, with Tuesdays, weekends and bank holidays closed. For Sawston, it is Wednesdays to Friday; 1PM-5PM, Mondays, weekends and bank holidays closed. The non-emergency contact number is 101, calls are fixed rate of £0.15 on landlines and mobiles.
The city's Accident and Emergency department (Casualty department) is located at Addenbrooke's Hospital on Hills Road, south of the city centre.