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Cambridge (England)

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The Cambridge Backs & Kings College Chapel

Cambridge [1] is a university city in Cambridgeshire in England. It's a city of crocuses and daffodils on the Backs, of green open spaces and cattle grazing only 500 yards from the market square... The Cambridge of Brooke, Byron, Newton and Rutherford, of the summer idyll of punts, 'bumps', cool willows and May Balls.

Understand

View of King's College Chapel, seen from St Johns College chapel.

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 center of excellence for technology and science. The University of Cambridge [2] was founded in the 13th century by monks who wished to escape the hurly-burly of Oxford and 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.

Cambridge University has been the home of many famous scientists, philosophers and mathematicians from Sir Isaac Newton to Stephen Hawking and 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 not true [3].

The City is surrounded on all sides by heritage villages, towns and ancient monuments (such as Ely, Peterborough and Grantchester), all within easy travelling distance.

More than 3½ 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 and most unspoiled countryside in England.

Get in

Kings Parade, Cambridge

Cambridge is a mere 50 miles (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.

By plane

Cambridge is within easy reach of some but not all of London's international airports.

London Stansted[4] is 30 miles away, for example, from where there are regular bus and rail services into Cambridge. Direct services leave every hour from platform 2 (direction Birmingham New Street) and take about 35 minutes, fare £9. 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 minutes. Note however that rail services may be unavailable if your flight arrives Stansted very late or departs very early in the day. National Express coaches also 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 only run 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 minutes away by car, depending on traffic. National Express Coaches to and from Heathrow central bus station take around 2.5 hours, fare £25. A less comfortable, but cheaper and faster option is to take a train to King's Cross and then use the tube, taking about 2 hours total and costing £22 (less if you have an oyster card). Abacus Airport Cars Cambridge rides there from £85.00 one way.

Gatwick is 3 hours by car and 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), total journey time around 2 hours, fare £28. Abacus Airport Cars Cambridge rides there from £100.00 one way.

London City Airport is best reached by train to King's Cross, then Underground and Docklands Light Railway across London, total fare £22 (less if you have an oyster card). Abacus Airport Cars Cambridge rides there from £77.00 one way.

Cambridge has its own airport but there are currently (late 2006) no scheduled flights to it.

By train

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 nonstop and take under 50 minutes, generally departing at :15 and :45 minutes after the hour. "Semi-fast" services stop at a few intermediate stations and take about 65 minutes, slower stopping trains may take up to 90 minutes. Try to avoid taking a train with more than 8 stops listed 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 minutes. Direct trains from Stansted airport to Cambridge take 35 minutes (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 [5] for timetable and fare information.

The train station is situated about 1.2 miles south of the city centre; there are regular buses into town and a taxi rank outside the station. The station has a staffed travel centre, self-service ticket machines (note that many only take European smartchip cards and don't accept cash) and automatic ticket barriers (you need your ticket to get in and out of the station). 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, meaning that you may need to walk a long way between trains if you have a tight connection.

By cycle

Cambridge is easily accessible by cycle. National Cycle Network routes 11 and 51 both pass through Cambridge. Within the city cycling is a common means of getting around. Cycles can be rented from Station Cycles at the train station.

By car

Parking can be difficult in central Cambridge and the one way street system is extremely confusing. The Council recommends the use of the "Park and Ride"[6] scheme (free parking and a £2.20 return bus fare) (map of Park and Ride routes [7]). For full details visit The National Park and Ride Directory [8]

Cambridge is connected to London primarily by the M11 or the A10. From the north, come off the A1 onto the A14.

By bus

National Express [9] 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 [10] 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 useless, 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.

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 if you're not expecting it. Cambridge walking directions can be planned online with the walkit.com [11] walking route planner. Students and locals often use bikes to get around and hiring a bike [12] 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 only approach the more central colleges on Sundays.

There shouldn't be much need to use the local bus services [13] unless you're staying in a far-flung area of the city, but they are clean and efficient if you need to. Citi buses cost between £1.20 and £2 for individual cash fares within Cambridge City (change is given but drivers may refuse large denomination notes) - just tell the driver your destination as you board and take your ticket from the machine. An all-day pass costs £3 for Cambridge City and Park and Ride services or £5 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 which allow vehicles with appropriate transponders (e.g., taxis, buses, emergency vehicles) through, but which can cause severe damage to other vehicles tailgating - to the point of writing them off.

There are many taxi companies in Cambridge. Camcab operate a 24 hour service 365 days a year; Tel: 01223 704704. Panther taxis are widely used and reliable; Tel: 01223 715715. Camtax claim to be Cambridge's oldest taxi company; Tel: 01223 313131.

See

Focus on Architecture
Cambridge, especially the various colleges and university buildings, is fascinating for people with an interest in architecture. The colleges have been built sporadically over the centuries and the result is a mixture of styles both ancient and modern. Although the modern architecture is sometimes controversial, especially in how the newer buildings (fail to) harmonise with adjacent older buildings, it is in its way as interesting as the older. A tour of the backs (see above) gives the visitor a good feel for the various styles and a few small diversions add to the experience. One obvious landmark is the tower of the University Library. The library was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also built the Bankside Power Station in London that is now the Tate Modern. It does have a very industrial feel to it perhaps because of this. On the far side of the library the curious can see Robinson College, the newest college and built in about 1980 and one of the few pieces of modern architecture in Cambridge that has no notable old buildings nearby.

St John's College and Magdalene College also have a number of architectural treats. As well as the Bridge of Sighs, St John's has buildings in almost every style of architecture starting with the 16th century hall in First Court and ending up with the extremely modern Cripps building. Near the Cripps building there is also the dramatic New Court built in the early 19th century and the School of Pythagoras, one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge which dates from the early 13th century.

Next door Magdalene College - cognoscenti know that Magdalene is accessible from the back of the Cripps building - is quite a contrast. Unlike St John's, which consists mainly of buildings designed originally as college accommodation, Magdalene has converted a number of old half-timbered inns as some of its accommodation. Magdalene also possesses the Lutyens building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and the Pepys building. The latter, which houses the Pepys library, has an imposing and almost symmetrical facade and looks completely different from the rear. The ugliest Magdalene building, the 1970s Buckingham Court, is fortunately well hidden, while across the river the Magdalene Quayside development (1990) is an excellent example of how the late century architects appear to have learned subtlety and harmony. Quayside is an excellent place to rent a punt.

The Cambridge 2000 [14] website has a list of 100 buildings [15] that have notable architecture for one reason or another.

Cambridge has a number of interesting modern buildings : The Maths Department

Colleges

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.

  • King's College and King's College Chapel [16], King's Parade, 01223 331212. 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. £4.50 adults, £3 children/students.
  • Queens' College [17], Silver Street/Queens' Lane, 01223 335511. 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 famous Mathematical 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. £1.30 (includes printed guide). Free mid-October to mid-March.
  • Trinity College [18]: Large attractive courtyard and library designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
  • St Johns College [19]: 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".
  • Jesus College [20] Attractive grounds.
  • Pembroke College [21]: 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 [22]: The 2nd oldest college with pretty gardens, courtyard and the oldest river bridge in Cambridge.
  • Saint Catharine's College [23]: 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. It is worthwhile to note that the College is renown for its academic and athletic excellence. 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.
  • Corpus Christi College[24]: 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 Kings 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. +44 (0)1223 336265.[25] 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. Parkers Piece is 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 Piece. Christ's Pieces is 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.

Museums and Galleries

  • The Fitzwilliam Museum[26], Trumpington Street, +44 (0)1223 332900 [27]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Su 2.15PM-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[28], Castle Street, 01223 352124 [29]. 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 - 5.00PM. 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 [30], Downing Street, 01223 333456. 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 [31], the New Museum Site, Downing Street, 01223 336650 [32]. Monday to Friday 10AM - 4.45PM (closed on Bank Holidays). Open Saturdays mornings 10AM - 1PM from June to September. 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 [33], Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Free School Lane, just off Pembroke Street, 01223 330906. 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[34], Downing Street, 01223 333516 [35]. 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 [36] Sidgwick Avenue, 01223 330402 Open Monday-Friday: 10AM to 5PM; Saturday: 10AM to 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 [37] 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.

Churches

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.

  • 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 [38] - tucked away in the lanes is this tiny 11th-century church. Its main attraction is a Saxon arch in the nave.
  • All Saints, Jesus Lane [39] - 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.

Do

St Johns College seen from The Backs
  • Book collectors will find many shops especially Trinity Street.
  • Walk along the backs. . Its free, and gives you a real flavour of the city. You can walk through Kings College, onto Kings Parade, a beautiful row of exclusive shops.
  • Cambridge Corn Exchange. The city's center for arts and entertainment [40].
  • Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. Every summer, six Shakespeare plays staged outdoors in gardens of various colleges.
  • Cambridge Arts Directory[41], provided by Cambridge City Council[42], is a comprehensive list of theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries and much more in Cambridge.
  • 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 £10 per person, but self-hire is more fun (Granta Punting Company) [43]. £12 per hour per punt, £14 at weekends. 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. For a look at the evolution of punting in Cambridge consult [44]
  • 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.


  • ADC Theatre, Park Street, [45]. The University's playhouse. Hosts student and local amateur productions. Look out for performances by Footlights, this has been the training ground for many famous comedians. Tickets £4-10.
  • The Junction, Clifton Road, [46]. Artistic centre offering club nights, gigs, and new theatre, comedy, and dance. Ticket prices vary depending on the show/gig.
  • Cambridge United Football Club [47] The leading football team in Cambridge, games are played at the Abbey Stadium on Newmarket Road.
  • Arts Picture House, 38–39 St Andrew's St. Various foreign and art-house films (see the current listing [48]). 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.
  • MP3 walking tour of Cambridge £5 for two downloadable 60-minute walks [49] or for hire for £7 from the Tourist Information Centre [50]

Events

  • Midsummer Fair (mid-June), Midsummer Common.
  • Strawberry Fair On Midsummer Common. [52] in early June. Cancelled in 2010.
  • Cambridge Film Festival (July) [53]
  • Cambridge Folk Festival (July) [54]
  • Cambridge University events [55]

Learn

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 [56]
  • Cambridge Discovery Lectures [57]
  • Darwin College lecture series [58]

There are a large number of summer schools, mostly English language, but also some offering tuition in a wide range of other subjects.

Work

Cambridge University students aren't allowed to work during term-time, so there are often possibilities for bar or waitering work for foreign nationals. Those from outside the EU require a work permit, see the Work section of United Kingdom for more details.

There are also Technology Parks ([59][60] [61][62]) where lots of hi-tech and bio-tech companies opened their offices.


Buy

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. The Grafton Centre has all the usual high-street shops in a mall and surrounding streets. The market square in the center 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 center have most of the common retail names and some individual shops to cater for most needs.

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. Regular convenience stores and supermarkets are hard to find in the city centre, but the main roads heading out of town are best place to find them. 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. It's open from 5am to 11pm and is very busy in the evenings and weekends. Thre are 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, +44 (0) 1223 350371, [63]. "The University Store" sells Cambridge University merchandise.
  • Robert Sayle (John Lewis), 10 Downing Street, +44 (0)1223 361292, [64]. Large department store.
  • Primavera, 10 King's Parade, +44 (0)1223 357708, [65]. High quality contemporary art & crafts.
  • Cambridge Contemporary Art, 6 Trinity Street, +44 (0)1223 324222, [66]. More art & crafts.
  • Cambridge Cheese Company, 4 All Saints Passage, +44 (0)1223 328672. Excellent selection of cheese and delicatessan counter.
  • Borders, 12-13 Market Street, +44 (0)1223 306188, [67]. Has now closed down.
  • Cambridge University Press Bookshop, 1 Trinity Street, +44 (0)1223 333333, [68]. 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, +44(0)1223 568568, [69]. Large academic bookshop. Caffe Nero instore.

Eat

Budget

  • Rainbow Cafe, 9A Kings Parade, Tel: 01223 321 551, [70]. 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, [71]. M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM. Average Price: £4-6 - beautiful cafe serving excellent sandwiches, salads, hot dishes, and soups. Sinful desserts as well. Vegetarian options always available. Lunch served until 3PM.
  • CB2 Internet Bistro, 5-7 Norfolk Street, Email: cb2@cb1.com. 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.
  • Dojo, Mill 1-2, Millers Yard, Mill Lane, 01223 363471, [72]. Authenic oriental dishes at good prices. Main courses around £8 and huge portions wash it down with some Asahi Japanese beer. £7-10.
  • 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 Kings 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.

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.

Mid-range

  • The Kohinoor Tandoori Restaurant, 74 Mill Road, Tel: 0870 1413563. 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!
  • Fitzbillies, 51 Trumpington Street, Tel: 0870 1413505, [73]. 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!
  • Sala Thong Thai Restaurant, 35 Newnham Road, Tel: 0870 1413666, 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.
  • Loch Fyne Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar, 37 Trumpington Street, Tel: 0870 1413579, 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!
  • De Luca Cucina & Bar, 83 Regent St, Tel: 01223 356 666, 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!
  • Thanh Binh, 17, Magdalene St, CB3 0AF, Tel: 01223 362456. 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.
  • The Cambridge Chop House [74], 1 Kings Parade, CB2 1SJ, Tel: 01223 359506 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.

Splurge

  • Arundel House Hotel Bar & Restaurant, Chesterton Road. Comfortable, elegantly furnished bar and restaurant convenient if you are staying north of the river.
  • Cotto Restaurant [75], 183 East Road, CB1 1BG. Tel 01223 302010 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, Midsummer Common, Tel: 0870 1416395. Tu-Th: 19:00-21:30; F,Sa: 12:00-14:00, 19:00-21:30. 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 [76], 152-154 Hills Road, tel: +44 (0)1223 413000. 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).

Drink

Pubs

Cambridge has a colossal number of pubs, over 110 at the last count. Since the July 2007 smoking ban, all pubs, clubs and restaurants are smoke free inside, smokers are catered for with outside "facilities" (sometimes, just the outside).

  • The Cambridge Blue, Gwydir Street. A friendly pub with a large garden and good range of real ale.
  • The Castle Inn, Castle Hill. 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, 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, Benet Street. Watson and Crick were regulars here whilst in the process of unravelling the secrets of DNA.
  • 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 Locomotive, Mill Road. A somewhat shabby pub with pool tables, random train pictures and live sport. Occasional live music in dingy back room of varying quality. Place to see some "unique" characters. Closed, still looking for new owners as of July 2009.
  • 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. Belongs to the Wetherspoons group and is supposedly the largest pub in Europe, it was previously a cinema. A freehouse, it serves one of the biggest selections of real ale in the town. Refurbished in Spring 2004. Guest ales £2.10, Stella £2.59.
  • The Wrestlers, Newmarket Road. A bit of a walk from the City Center, but great real ales and some of the best Thai food in town.
  • Old English Pub, Linton Road, an old fashioned pub, with much of the charm of the 'old' Cambridge.

Clubs

  • KamBar, 1 Wheeler Street. Only Indie Club in the city centre, opens @ 2200 and closes really late. Small, dingy, and grubby - but we love it!
  • 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, 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'.
  • Soul Tree, off Corn Exchange Street. Three separate areas over four floors.

Cafes

  • CB1, Mill Road, [77]. A bohemian café with book-lined walls, good affordable coffee, half-price refills, and friendly staff. To make things even better there's free Wi-Fi (see section 12.2). This place is open everyday from 10a.m. until 8p.m. and tends to get crowded in the afternoon.
  • Indigo Coffee House, 8 St. Edward's Passage (central). A tiny cheerful place with excellent coffee and bagels!
  • You'll also find all the usual chains: Nero's in three central locations on King's Parade, Market Street, and inside Heffers, Starbucks on Market Street, inside the Grand Arcade and on Christs Lane.
  • Savinos, Italian Coffee Bar in Emmanuel Street. 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.
  • The Cafe Project, 22 Jesus Lane, [78]. A colorful volunteer-run community cafe serving cheap hot drinks and homemade cakes with a growing selection of books for swapping. Open mon-wed 7.30PM-11PM and from 10AM-10PM every Friday for a LGBTS friendly day run by the charity Naarii.

Sleep

Budget

  • Cambridge Youth Hostel, 97 Tenison Road (near the railway station), +44 (0)1223 354601 (, fax: +44 (0)1223 312780), [79]. 99 beds in this YHA hostel in a Victorian town house. 15 minute walk from center. £14.95 (under 18), £19.95 (adult) (breakfast included).

Mid-range

There are a number of guesthouses on Tenison Road, about 10 minute walk from the train station towards town.

  • A&B Guesthouse, 124 Tenison Rd, +44 (0)1223 315702. Nice clean, small rooms. Ensuite available. £50 double (include hot English breakfast).
  • Brooklands Guest House, 95 Cherry Hinton Road, +44 (0)1223 242035, [80]. Ten rooms. Simple B&B accommodation. £33 (single), £49 (double), £45 (single e/s), £55 (double/s).
  • Home from Home Guest House, 78-80 Milton Rd, +44 (0)1223 323555. Good value, but quite a distance from the city centre.
  • Royal Cambridge Hotel, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 1PY, 01223 351 631, [81]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. One of the oldest hotels in Cambridge and was once part of the world famous Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Located on the edge of the city centre, within easy walking distance from famous colleges such as King’s, Queen’s, Corpus Christi and Magdalene. £45 - £80 pppn.

Splurge

  • Best Western Gonville Hotel, Gonville Place, +44 (0)1223 366611 (, fax: +44 (0)1223 315470), [82]. Overlooks Parker's Piece.
  • Cambridge Lodge Hotel, 139 Huntingdon Road, +44 (0)1223 352833 (, fax: +44 (0)1223 355166). Small hotel with a nice garden.
  • Garden House Hotel, Granta Place, Mill Lane, +44 (0)1223 259988 (), [83]. Business hotel with indoor swimming pool overlooking the river.
  • De Vere University Arms Hotel, Regent St, +44 (0)1223 351241 (, fax: +44 (0)1223 273037), [84]. Grand old hotel overlooking a park.
  • South Farm, 10 miles South West of Cambridge, +44 (0)1223 207581 (, fax: +44 (0)1223 208771), [85]. Fantastic B&B.
  • Crowne Plaza, 20 Downing Street, +44-870 400 9180 (fax: +44-(0)1223-464440), [86]. Crowne Plaza Cambridge enjoys a prime location in the heart of the City Centre. Located within walking distance from Kings College and the many universities with easy access to Cambridge Business Park.

Stay safe

  • 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.
  • Even if 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.
  • The police station in the city is on Parkside, next door to the fire station, as well as smaller stations in the nearby villages of Histon and Sawston. The non-emergency contact number is 0845 456 456 4.
  • The city's Accident and Emergency department (Casualty department) is located at Addenbrooke's Hospital on Hills Road, south of the city centre.

Contact

By telephone

The local telephone code for Cambridge is 01223.

By internet

There are many cybercafes in Cambridge:

  • CYBER, 17 Norfolk Street: has both free Wi-Fi and reasonably priced PCs.
  • 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).
  • Netbar, The Forum, Jesus Lane.
  • The public library in Lion Yard Is currently closed for rebuilding, much delayed opening late 2009, maybe, provides access for free but you need to register as a library member (You would need 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)
  • The library at Anglia Ruskin University on East Rd. will provide a ticket for its wifi service on request. Ask at the library desk.

Cope

Laundry

  • Launderette, 12 Victoria Avenue
  • Monarch Launderette, 161 Mill Road
  • Shaw Service Laundry, 423 Newmarket Road

Gyms

  • Kelsey Kerridge is the public sports centre on the south side of Parker's Piece. Entry is possible without membership. Next door is the large Parkside 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 - 01223 302579

All other gyms are private members only, including:

  • The Glassworks, Halfmoon Yard/Quayside - 01223 305060.
  • Greens Health and Fitness, 213 Cromwell Rd, CB1 3BA - 01223 245200.
  • Next Generation Club, 21-25 Coldhams Lane Business Park, CB1 3LH - 01223 401200
  • LA Fitness, Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Way, CB1 7DY - 01223 247662
  • The Atrium Club, 64 Newmarket Road, CB5 8DZ - 01223 522522
  • Chesterton Sports Centre, Gilbert Road CB4 3NY - 01223 576110
  • Revolution Health & Fitness Club, 24 Science Park, CB4 OFN - 01223 395675
  • Hills Road Sports & Tennis Centre, Purbeck Road, CB2 2PF - 01223 500009

Places of worship

See here [87] for a more complete list:

  • Anglican many churches, including college chapels and Great St Mary's [88] next to the market square.
  • Lutheran Resurrection Lutheran Church, 25 Westfield Ln, Cambridge, CB4 3QS
  • Roman Catholic Our Lady & The English Martyrs, Hills Rd, 01223 350787
  • Muslim Abu Bakr Mosque, Mawson Road CB1 2DZ, off Mill Road. 01223 350134
  • Jewish Synagogue, Thompson's Lane, 01223 354783
  • Buddhist Cambridge Buddhist Centre, 38 Newmarket Road, CB5 8DT - 01223 577553

Get out

  • Grantchester: Take a day trip to enjoy the countryside and have scones and tea at The Orchard. With a long history of famous patrons such as Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster and Bertrand Russell, taking tea in The Orchard is a well established tradition. This large garden planted with apple trees is perfect for lounging on a deck chair in the sun with a cup of tea and a scone for sustenance. Or head out by punt with a picnic hamper.
  • Great and Little Gransden Glimpse the real England! Take a bus (30 mins or so , bus no. 18, or 18A) from Drummer Street to the tiny ancient villages of Little and Great Gransden, which appear in the Magna Carta. Brimming with thatched cottage charm, horses and peaceful country walks, these villages offer escape into English village life. Pub food is available in both villages. Explore the ancient churchyards, the doll path in the meadow between them, and enjoy a leisurely hike around this tranquil village area. The Duncombe Arms in neighbouring Waresly serves excellent food, and offers BnB accomodation. Waresly is one or two hour walk from the riding stables at the bottom of Great Gransden. You could even join a horse trek. The undulating road offers wonderful views across farm land, and the ancient Waresly Wood, some of which is National Trust property. The 17th century open trestle post mill Windmill between The Gransdens is unusually intact. It was last operational in 1912.


  • Ely: Market town, with impressive Cathedral towering above the Fens (Ely actually used to be an island): regular trains and buses (9, X9, 12), or about two hours by cycle via NCN 51 to NCN 11.
  • King's Lynn is well worth visiting for its wealth of architectural gems especially Nelson Street and Tuesday Market place. The explorer Vancouver came from here. Museums and churches and the largest brass in the country in St Mary's Church.
  • Newmarket: Market town (in Suffolk), with it famous horse-racing venue, and everything horsey related including the National Horseracing Museum[89]. Tu-Sun 11:00-16:30 (22 March - 30 October). Hourly trains and regular buses (10, 11, 12), or about two hours by cycle on NCN 51.
  • Bury St Edmunds: Market town, with it brewery, cathedral and gardens. Hourly trains and regular buses (11)
  • World War II Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial[90]: Three miles west of the city on Highway A-1303. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 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.
  • Duxford Imperial War Museum [91] This old airfield south of Cambridge has been converted into a museum of aviation, mostly based on military planes, but they do possess an old Concorde. As well as this, there is 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 center 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.
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