It doesn’t get much more traditional than this. Originally a small Roman settlement, Cambridge is steeped in history and a quintessential landmark of the British Isles. The city is most well known for its famous university—the rival to Oxford—which has produced geniuses of the likes of Stephen Hawking and Charles Darwin. So, dive into history and soak up that classic English charm: from the awe-inspiring architecture of King’s College chapel, to the traditional English tea and scones, there’s something for everyone. Speak to your personal Tourlane Travel Expert about your dream Cambridge vacation today, and plan a trip you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Cambridge University is one of the leading universities in the world, and is known across the world in multiple fields—even having appeared in movies such as The Theory of Everything, and Chariots of Fire. While many of the colleges are open for visitors, Kings College is arguably the most famous, impressive and easily accessible. Stroll through the grounds during your vacation, and admire the chapel’s towering stained glass windows, watching out for students dressed in long black robes, following their matriculation, or rushing late to the weekly Formal Hall dinners. Harry Potter, eat your heart out.
A tour of Cambridge isn’t complete unless you’ve taken a punting trip along The Backs. Much like the wooden gondolas in Venice, Cambridge has its own kind of small wooden boats, pushed by 20-something year olds up and down the River Cam. Sitting close to the water, this really is the best way to see ‘the Backs’ up close—the picturesque view of the Christopher Wren library, seven of the colleges and eight of the bridges, including Einstein’s Mathematical Bridge, and the ‘Bridge of Sighs’, modelled after the one in Venice. The 45-minute-long tour is the perfect way to see Cambridge at a leisurely, romantic pace, with a cup of the summer ‘Pimms’ drink in hand.
After a morning of sight-seeing, it’s time for lunch. And, what better way to take a break than with a cool cider in hand, and some thick-cut fries at a local English pub? The old wooden beams, ageing pictures on the walls, and cosy beer garden (complete with heaters), is the perfect place for respite. Opened in 1667, this is the second oldest pub in Cambridge. And, since you can’t go a stone’s throw without bumping into a major historical site: In 1953, Genetics scientists Francis Crick and James Watson ran straight from the laboratory into the Eagle Pub to announce for the first time that they had discovered the secrets of DNA—the double helix.
Grantchester Meadows: An idyllic pastoral view of long, green grass, brown cows, and the River Cam, flowing lazily beneath overhanging trees. A tranquil path leads you through the meadows to The Orchard Tea Garden, in the quaint village of Grantchester. Here, you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea and scone, as you kick back in deck chairs, bathed in the dappled sunlight. For the art and history lovers among you: This was a favourite haunt of the so-called ‘Grantchester Group’, an intellectual gang including, among others, novelists Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, poet Rupert Brooke, and philosopher Bertrand Russell.
Behind Great St Mary’s Church, in the centre of Cambridge, stands Market Square, which runs every day of the week. Here, you can buy delicious home-made bread, cheese, flowers, Cambridge University sweaters, and light bites for lunch. If you walk down Trinity Street in the direction of The Round Church—a 900-year-old Anglican church, still in use—you will find the smaller All Saints Garden Art & Craft Saturday Market. Jewellers, glassblowers and other craftspeople sell a collection of work, perfect for gifts, and there’s good Italian coffee too. Less
Local brewers offer up their beer, cider, perry, and mead, during this six-day-long festival in May. Run by unpaid volunteers, it’s a friendly atmosphere of craft beer lovers.