We love having a few days away and the latest involved a road-trip for some hotel reviews, where we managed to get a couple of days exploring in and around Cambridge. It’s been many years since I’ve been in Cambridge so I was looking forward to have some time to explore the city.
Like Oxford, Cambridge is a city you don’t want to drive in, so we parked at the park and ride and travelled in by bus. Our timing wasn’t great because it was also a week that Extinction Rebellion decided to be in Cambridge, so there were roads closed and diversions for buses which was inconvenient. Thankfully we didn’t get caught up in any of their antics although we did have another protest walking past at one place.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side, so we only had 1 very wet day in the city itself, then our second day we travelled out and about a bit more. I think Cambridge really calls for a girls weekend out, rather than taking a 9 year old who moans about museums. The shopping looks really good as well with independents, high street chains and more luxury brands in the streets, as well as a few shopping centres and arcades around the city centre.
Before heading to the bus tour stop, we got to see lots of the college buildings – they’re a lot more obvious in Cambridge, with many in one area, whereas Oxford you have to duck and dive all over the city to find them. There’s also a lot more space in Cambridge in the colleges and museum areas.
We decided against a River Tour on the large punts because it was way too cold and windy, but we spotted others going out on one. Possibly more a summer activity.
Museum of Cambridge
I can’t resist a museum and there’s plenty of Cambridge museums to choose from. The bus dropped us quite close to the Museum of Cambridge and I thought it would have enough for N to enjoy before getting bored. The museum is in a Grade II listed 17th century former coaching inn, one of the oldest in the city, and is set up in themed rooms of an inn, plus other family or city themes of life over the last 300 years.
Children are free, and my annual ticket was only £6, but we spent a reasonable amount of time there wandering round the different rooms.
You start in the bar finding out about the old serving hatch, then kitchen, and upstairs to the guest rooms, dining room, playroom, and then find out about sports, the university, the landscape and the arts in Cambridge over the years. There’s something for everyone, and even N found information and photos about farming and sports that he was interested to read about or look at.
The playroom has not only displays, but also dressing up clothes and toys for children to play with.
It’s only a small local museum, but you can easily spend an hour in there, finding out about the history of the people’s lives in Cambridge back then.
City bus tour
We love a city bus tour. N gets to go on a bus, we get to view the city from high up, and learn about the sites. The buses only seem to go every 30 minutes, so we had a walk some way to actually hit a bus stop at the right time rather than keep missing them. The city bus tours are great as the tickets last 24 hours, and you can hop on and hop off. We tend to just stay on for the full tour, then head back to places we want to visit.
Because some of the route was closed, we had a slight discount on our tickets but the tour was still around an hour long.
We sat up top (luckily under the roof as it did start raining while we were on the tour), so got good views of all the houses, and historic buildings we drove past. We did have headphones but didn’t need them because the speaker in the bus was loud enough.
I really fancied heading into a couple of museums or down to the Botanic Gardens, but the rain just got too bad once we were off the bus, so we decided it was time to check in at the hotel, and go for a swim instead.
I think there’s a lot to see in Cambridge, and it definitely calls for another trip there minus child.
Where are some of your favourite places to visit in Cambridge?
Try these other posts