Cambridge, UK, guide: what to see and where to eat in town
Rival of Oxford (read the Oxford Guide here), Cambridge stands on the eastern part of the United Kingdom and being close to London means it attracts daily tourists in search of the typical English atmosphere. Cambridge offers many things to do and see and in one day you can do many of these, considering that colleges are often closed or not accessible to the public. The peculiarity of Cambridge are its bridges, the River Cam running through it and the many gardens of the college (the backs) that make the city a real gem.
Cambridge: what to see in the town
There are as many as 31 colleges in Cambridge, most of them located in the historic center. Not all the colleges are accessible and those who are often ask people to pay an entry or for a mandatory participation to a tour, generally organized and run by student associations. The beauty of Cambridge is also to be a city where you can walk and then relax on the banks of the River Cam.
The most famous college of Cambridge, where 31 Nobel laureates have studied during the years, is also the most visited one if only because of its inner courtyard accessible through the Great Court. In this courtyard was shot the film Chariots of Fire, reminiscent of the race that is still organized today around the square, about 360 meters to be done in no later than 44 seconds, between the touch of one hour and the other. Trinity College is accessible, paying a fee, just partially.
The most photographed college of Cambridge is also one of the most majestic and active within the city. The chapel is still the seat of the choir of the College who “performs” here every day. The entrance fee allows the visit of the gardens and the chapel.
Mathematical Bridge – Wood’s Bridge
It is said to have been designed by Isaac Newton and connects two parts of Queens’ College. The name comes from the particular structure with straight beams that hold up perfectly and give the bridge a unique way.
Bridge of Sights
The Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge is part of St. John’s College and refers directly to the Bridge of Sighs in Venice although popular legend says it derives from the sighs of students for exams. The bridge is not open to the public and can be visited only from the river.
St. Mary the Great
Close to the market square and the King’s College, it is famous for its bell tower that can be visited paying a fee and offers a spectacular view of Cambridge.
Punting on the River Cam
The river Cam for centuries is strewn with boats and people who practice the art of punting. It’s possible to rent a boat with a punter or become yourself a punter remembering that the punting takes skill and getting stuck in the middle of the river is one of the most common situations.
Eating in Cambridge
Because of tourism and of the students, eating in Cambridge is not a problem: if it is true that every college has inside pubs and restaurants only for students, it is also true that the city has developed a particular attention of eating and drinking also considering the presence of so many tourists and visitors throughout the year.
In Market Square you can find stalls of food from around the world at affordable prices. When the weather is nice, stop in one of the stalls, get something to take away and eat by the river it’s the most practical option.
Located right in the center of Cambridge, The Eagle is one of the historical places of England. Right here Watson and Crick have announced to the world the discovery of DNA and this is where the British pilots from the Second World War came to record their names on the ceiling after the war. A place where to stop for something to eat and a beer.
Known for it English Buns, Inglese Buns, cinnamon rolls flooded with molasses, in reality Fitzbillies is a place where you can eat very well: sandwiches, salads, pie and homemade cakes. In short, just move over from the tourists to find real substance.
St John’s Chop House
The best ribs in the area are the ones made by the St John’s Chop House which also English food for everyone in a unique location with a fireplace for the long winter days.
Have a look at our on the road trip to Brighton, Stonehenge, Oxford, the Costswolds, Stratford and Cambridge:
[All photos have been taken and are owned by Giuseppe. The trip was organized in collaboration with VisitBritain].