As we live only about 45 minutes from Cambridge, I have been there many times. Every time we want to shop for something more special, we go to Cambridge, because the city has a lot to offer compared to our small town. Cambridge also offers a very good range of nice restaurants and every birthday in the family that, we chose to stay at home, we book a restaurant in Cambridge (usually “The Ivy”) one of my favourites). Cambridge is an excellent choice for a day out exploring as it offers a huge variety of activities in and around the city.
This last Easter weekend we had two couples, friend of ours, coming to visit and staying for two nights. On the Friday we decided to go to Cambridge as none of them had been there before and were willing to visit.
We set off to Cambridge after breakfast at about 10 o’clock. When I go shopping, I usually park on the car park of “The Arcade” for the convenience of being close to the car, but it is an expensive car park and always very busy. This time as we were at leisure, we decided to use the “Milton Park and Ride” car park because it was a bank holiday, we were expecting the town to be quite busy. Parking is free and we paid only about £8 for return tickets for the bus ride for 6 people. The journey to the centre of Cambridge is about 15 minutes and buses run very frequently, so worth to do that for a stress-free visit.
Upon arrival in the town centre, we headed straight to the “Kings College Chapel” which is one of the main attractions to visit in Cambridge. Unfortunately, it was closed for visits on that day, and we were unable to get in, but could still walk around and take photos from the outside.
After that, we walked around the town admiring the lovely architecture of the buildings and stopping at the fabulous market they have at the Market Square. That is a proper market full of stalls offering from fruit and vegetables to artwork and souvenirs as well as stalls with food from various parts of the world. The market was full and buzzing with people shopping and browsing around. We stopped there for quite a good hour as the women in this group cannot resist a street market having to look at every stall and admire everything in detail. We all refrained from buying anything at that time, though.
We continued walking through town in the direction of the “Mathematical Bridge”. This bridge was designed in 1748 and built in 1749. It is a timber bridge connecting two sides of the Queen’s College being one of them the Riverside Building, the oldest brick building on the banks of the river Cam in Cambridge. This is a very interesting bridge and considered a minor triumph of 18th century engineering because of its form of construction.
Continuing with the walk we went in the direction of the curious “Corpus Clock”. This is an unusual clock that does not have numbers or hands and the hour is read by 3 rings of LED lights. Very quirk design with a strange animal on top that looks like a monster. The idea is that it is consuming the time. This clock was invented, designed, and given to Corpus Christ College by Dr. John C. Taylor.
It was time to get something to eat as everyone was feeling hungry. We were close to “Byron Burgers”, and they had a table for 6 available at the time. We had a quick lunch consisting of hamburgers and fries and it was very good. On the way to the burger restaurant, we also saw the “Round Church”, but we didn’t go inside.
After lunch we went for a walk by the river and saw many people punting as this is one of the most popular activities when in Cambridge. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, ideal for spending time near the river. We didn’t go punting this time, but I did that on previous visits to Cambridge and I really enjoyed it.
From there, we walked in the direction of the “Bridge of Sighs”, however we couldn’t get close to it. Apparently, the best way to see it is when punting, on the river when you can go under it. It was designed in 1827 and completed in 1831 in a Victorian Gothic style, linking the buildings of St. John’s College. It is a covered bridge similar to the one in Venice, hence the name given “Bridge of Sighs”. It is an iconic piece of architecture in Cambridge.
On the way trying to find the “Bridge of Sighs” we crossed the Trinity College Park via “The Avenue”. It is a beautiful park; it was in full bloom, and it takes you to Trinity College crossing the river Cam. You can stop at the riverbank and have a picnic or just seat on the grass to look at the punters on the river and admire the beautiful scenery. We walked all the way to the corner of the Wren Library where you could have a glimpse of the “Bridge of Sighs”.
By now it was almost 5 PM and it was time to catch the bus back to the park and ride car park. We walked to the town centre again and the bus was already in the bus stop ready to leave.
We had the most enjoyable day in Cambridge in the company of good friends. Two of them went home from there and the other two came back to our house with us for another night. We ordered an Indian for dinner and enjoyed the rest of the evening with a film. Next day we were planning to go to Ely.
As you can see from this article, we have not spent much during our day out in Cambridge and still had a lovely time there. Parking is free, bus ride is cheap, didn’t get inside the King’s Chapel, so no tickets bought, didn’t go punting, cheap lunch with hamburger and fries, resisted buying anything in the market, The Mathematical Bridge and Corpus Clock are free as well as the walks and the park. It is possible to spend a nice day in a beautiful city without splashing a lot of cash.
What to see and do while in Cambridge:
1 – The Kings College Chapel
2 – To go punting in the river Cam
3 – The Mathematical Bridge
4 – The Bridge of Sighs
5 – The Round Church
6 – The Corpus Clock
8 – St. John’s College
9 – Trinity College
10 – Explore the market