With its fabulous architecture, winding cobbled streets, riverside walks, great shopping and excellent food, the beautiful city of Cambridge is the perfect place for a relaxing break
The historic city of Cambridge is a wonderful place to relax and unwind. Amble through picturesque streets and admire the fabulous architecture of the city’s world-famous university where many great minds – including Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton – studied. King’s College, with its magnificent gothic chapel, is a must-visit, as are the university’s numerous museums.
Shopping in Cambridge is a real treat. Wander quaint cobbled streets with friends and explore independent shops and eateries, or browse outlets in the Grand Arcade shopping centre, home to top high-street names and international brands. When you’re ready for a break, indulge yourself in one of the city’s many tea shops and cafes. Fitzbillies is a firm favourite, serving its famous Chelsea buns and other treats.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the streets, head for one of the city’s parks and gardens. Enjoy a romantic walk by the River Cam, take a river trip on a traditional Cambridge punt, or dine al fresco at one of the riverside restaurants during the summer months.
As the sun sets, the city’s vibrant nightlife takes over. You’ll find great restaurants, riverside pubs, city centre bars and clubs, and a selection of live music, comedy and theatre venues. So whether you’re taking a Cambridge city break with friends, family or your partner, there’ll be something to suit everyone.
A brief history
The city’s oldest surviving building is St Bene’t’s Church, which was completed by the Saxons in 1050, and is well worth a visit. Cambridge Castle, locally known as Castle Mound, is also a must-see and was originally built by the Normans in 1068 – its 10m-high motte can still be seen today.
The University of Cambridge has had a profound effect on the development of the city too. It was founded by scholars from the University of Oxford who had grown disenchanted with the people of their town in 1902. It wasn’t until 1951 that Cambridge was granted its city charter however. The charter was approved for ‘exceptional reasons’ in recognition of its history and importance as an ancient seat of learning.
Best time to visit
Summer is a great time to visit and is when the festival season really gets under way. The Big Weekend kicks things off at the beginning of July and features the Cambridge Mela, a celebration of Asian culture and Cambridge’s ethnic diversity. The fun continues with the Cambridge Comedy Festival. It’s a great opportunity to catch emerging talent in intimate venues before they hit the big time. You can see big-name headliners, as well as previews for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Cambridge Folk Festival is one of best known and longest running folk festivals in the world. You’ll find the biggest names in traditional and contemporary folk performing alongside renowned musicians from the worlds of blues, jazz, country, gospel and more. The Cambridge Summer Music Festival also takes place in July and is a little more sedate, with classical music performances taking place in venues throughout the city.
The city is a little quieter during the autumn and winter months and short breaks in Cambridge can be planned to coincide with the Cambridge Film Festival in October and the Cambridge Literary Winter Festival in November. The Cambridge Literary Festival also holds a spring festival in April, so why not book a Cambridge city break to coincide, it’s is a lovely time to visit!
Cambridge can easily be explored on foot or by bike. There are plenty of cycle hire shops and an excellent network of cycle paths. Buses are frequent and there’s a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour bus service. You can also see the city from the River Cam. Punts are available for hire, with or without a chauffeur!
Take a look at our affordable hotels in Cambridge and see all the amazing architecture and beautiful open spaces that this famous city has to offer.