Among the many beautiful and amazing cities to visit in the UK whether for a weekend of for longer vacation of exploring is the stunning city that is Cambridge. A historical city that is also known for the prestigious Cambridge University, so if you have had Cambridge on your UK bucket list, then below I will be taking you on a tour of Cambridge in one day.
Complete with all the cool and fun things to do in Cambridge, perfect for a 1 day itinerary. If you are staying longer this can also be broken down in two days where you can explore more of the cool pubs and cafes in Cambridge in addition to must do things link punting of course.
Things to do in Cambridge In One Day
Below is a one-day itinerary for Cambridge split into 3 parts; morning, lunch and afternoon exploring. You can also have this itinerary as part of an extended UK itinerary that includes, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland of can also be part of a trip to London too. Cambridge is among the top University cities to visit in addition to the beautiful city of Oxford.
Cambridge is not just a university town filled with green landscapes, there are a lot of things to do in this little gem of a town. We have listed some of the “must do” activities when spending a day in Cambridge.
Punting in Cambridge is one of the best ways to see the city. A punt is a narrow flat- bottomed boat that reminds you a bit of the gondola in Italy. A punt generally fits up to five adults where one stands at the rear and propels the boat with a long pole.
The design of the punt was developed in the medieval period to allow for easy navigation in the shallow water areas. This is the most relaxing way to spend a quiet summer afternoon, poling down the river weaving the historical sights of Cambridge
How much does it cost? The prices vary, especially if you choose the chauffeured option. Prices start on around £10 for a shared tour up to ~£20 for a private chauffeured tour of punting. You can also have a private tour if you are part of a large group.
Punting is like being taken back in time, flowing on the water past the King’s college chapel, the Bridge of Sighs and Trinity college and through the amazing English landscape.
- Botanic Gardens
The botanic gardens is owned by Cambridge University and consist of 40 acres of gorgeously green, pink and yellow plants. This is an Arcadian paradise hidden behind a nondescript entrance at the station end of town.
The Cambridge university botanical gardens is open everyday between 10 am to 4 pm and is located on 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE, United Kingdom.
- University tour
Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is one of Britain’s oldest and most prestigious ones. The historic university boasts impressive alumni that include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking and Lord Byron. The collages, libraries and museums are open to the public as the best way to experience and see them is by a university walking tour.
Tours usually take you to see Trinity College, home to the Wren Library and the Trinity College Chapel; Queens’ College, which lies along the Cam Riverfront and harbors the Mathematical Bridge; and King’s College, where you can admire Rubens’ Adoration of the Magi in the King’s College Chapel.
- Kettle’s Yard
This is the most homely art gallery you’ll ever find, run by the director Andrew Nairne. Both the house and the gallery reopened in February 2018 following an expansion of the facilities.
Kettle’s Yard galleries, shops and cafes are open Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Kettle Yard used to be the residence of Jim and Helen Ede, thanks to Jim’s job as a curator at the Tate Gallery managed to fill their home with artworks and later turn it into what it is today.
Open every day except for monday 11 am to 5 pm, located on Castle St, Cambridge CB3 0AQ, United Kingdom.
- The Fitzwilliam Museum
The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the university of Cambridge, located on Trumpington Street opposite Fitzwilliam Street. It was founded in 1816 and includes one of the best collections of antiquities and modern art in western Europe. This museum is the home of diverse trinkets, ornaments and paintings and offers free entry. The museum is closed on Mondays otherwise open 10 am to 5 pm all days except Sunday when it opens at 12 pm.
- Corpus clock
The Corpus Clock is a large sculptural clock outside of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, in the United Kingdom, at the junction of Benet Street and Trumpington Street, looking out over King’s Parade. The Corpus Clock is one of the most distinctive public monuments in Cambridge and has been admired by residents and tourists since its inauguration in 2008.
- The round church
The round church is an Anglican church of the Holy Sepulchre. Since 1950 the church has been designated a Grade I listed building, and is currently managed by Christian Heritage. This is the second oldest building in Cambridge, built before the likes of Newton, Darwin and Milton were even alive. Here you can learn about the history of Cambridge by attending a 25-minute film and an engaging exhibition.
After seeing many major sites in Cambridge your belly might start to rumble. When it is time for lunch there are many options to choose from, pubs, fancy restaurants and homely cafes.
The Fitzbillies is the most Instagrammable cafe in the entire of Cambridge, this cafe is always packed and there might be queues for the weekends, so be prepared. This is where the arts students go to have a coffee and a chat between lectures and some of them even use the Fitzbillies to study in. this place does great big brunches, bloody marys and exquisite coffee. This place has been famous for its Chelsea buns since 1921 and no trip to Cambridge is complete without a visit. Favourite brunch dishes include the Full English Breakfast, Eggs Benedict and Smashed Avocado on Toast. The brunch menu is served right through until 4pm with lots more dishes including soups, salads and delicious savoury tarts from lunchtime. Tea, served on a three-tier stand with a glass of champagne, or a cup of tea and a slice of cake, we’re sure to have something to delight.
The Fitzbillies is open 8.00 to 18.00 every day and can be found on 51-52 Trumpington Street
Cambridge, Cambs, CB2 1RG .
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Known for our love of cycling and famous for our ultra-sticky Chelsea Buns 😋 – – Stop in at Our Fitzbillies Trumpington Street Branch for a taste of Valentine’s seasonal treats. Think mini florentines, Valentine’s cupcakes, macarons, fondant fancies, chocolate cakes and our extra special Valentine’s Chelsea Bun Heart Cake all in time for February 14th💘
- Cambridge Junction
This live music and arts venue is the place to see live comedy, music, theater, spoken word, movies, and more. The junction has three main performance spaces, Junction 1 with a standing capacity of 850, Junction 2 which is a seated theatre with a capacity of 220, and Junction 3 which is a smaller multipurpose space. This independent arts venue is one of the best in the UK, outside london.
Address: Clifton Way, Cambridge CB1 7GX, United Kingdom
- The Green Man at Grantchester
This lovely village pub is the perfect place to grab a pint after a walk or punt along the river of Grantchester. This 400-year-old pub with a beer garden that leads to the River Cam and a crackling fireplace is open 11.00 to 23.00 every day except for Sunday when it opens at 12.00 am and closes at 22.30. The price class is medium on the drinks and food, grab a pint and a nice roast dinner before heading back to London, to finish of your Cambridge experience.
Address: 59 High St, Grantchester, Cambridge CB3 9NF, United Kingdom
Getting To Cambridge from London
Although London is quite close to Cambridge, only 63 miles apart, the actual travel time can take longer than you’d think.
Jump on one of the many Great Northern/ThamesLink Railway services that runs fast trains to Cambridge station from LondonKings Cross every few minutes, daily. The journey only takes a maximum of 90 minutes, if you’re lucky you will be in Cambridge within 50.
If Kings Cross is not the departure station for you there also run hourly trains from London Liverpool Street station, operated by Abellio Greater Anglia. This trip takes roughly the same time as the one departing from Kings Cross. This is the best station of choice if you are on a budget since they offer the cheapest choice of tickets.
If you buy your round trip fare in advance as two one way tickets the fare will be around £14 from Liverpool street compared to a round trip ticket purchased at Kings cross which averages on round £24.
Some new services are now being run from St Pancras international to Cambridge but many of these services include changing trains at Kings Cross and they are slightly more costly than the others.
Would you prefer to travel by bus to Cambridge choosing one of the National Express coaches that operates from london to Cambridge might be a good idea. Tickets cost between £4.70 and £17.59 each way depending on if you buy your tickets in advance or last minute. The buses for the higher price usually involve a change at stansted station which could be good if you are flying out directly, if this is not in your itinerary it would be a better choice to take the direct bus for £4,70 each way.
The national express coaches accepts PayPal payments which makes it easy to book a bus ticket from anywhere. The trip takes around 1 hour 45 minutes up to 2 hours 20 minutes between Victoria coach station and Cambridge city centre.
If you are reaching Cambridge by car you need to hit the M11 motorway and drive northeast if london for 63 miles. The entire drive should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes depending on traffic, which is usually quite bad on this highway. The best choice would probably be to take either the train or bus.
Parking in Cambridge is quite easy to find with a few different options to choose from.
Gwydir Street, off Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2LW
This carpark is free after 5 pm every day, it is located slightly further away from the city centre but within a 20 minute walk and it is very affordable.
There are 50 spaces and a maximum two-hour stay.
Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
- Up to 30 minutes: 90p
- Up to 1 hour: £1.80
- Up to 1½ hours: £2.70
- Up to 2 hours: £3.60
Saturday 9am to 5pm
- Up to 30 minutes: 90p
- Up to 1 hour: £1.80
- Up to 1½ hours: £2.70
- Up to 2 hours: £3.60
Cambridge Station, Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2JW
There are 372 spaces in this 24-hour car park, but it fills up incredibly quickly. Make sure you book in advance to guarantee a spot.
- Peak rate starts 04.00: £10.00
- Off peak rate from 09.30: £7.00
- Night rate 16.00-04.00: £3.00
- Saturday and Sunday: £3.00
This on-street parking costs you £0.50 for a half hour with a maximum two-hour stay. This is a great option for the Burleigh and Fitzroy Street area.
There aren’t many on-street parking spots here, but it is an affordable option north of the city centre. It costs £0.50 for a half hour with a maximum two-hour stay.
There is also free parking in the evenings on Chesterton Road and Glisson Road
Want To Stay Overnight In Cambridge?
There are plenty of amazing hostels, apartments and hotels in Cambridge to choose from many of which also can accommodate a variety of budgets. To help you with your search below are our suggestions of cool places to stay in Cambridge.
Budget: For some budget options nothing bits a YHA Cambridge Hostel. Just a 5-minute walk from Cambridge , the YHA has a café-bar and games room. The historical centre and Cambridge University Colleges are a 15-minute walk away. Another option is Fenners Hotel, just 350 yards from Cambridge Rail Station and 20 minutes’ walk from the historic city centre.
Midrange: Holiday Inn Express Cambridge is a stylish, contemporary hotel, well-placed just 2 miles from Cambridge’s historic city centre. Then there is also The is 2 miles from centre. Sits on 50 acres of country house offers a seasonal heated outdoor with diving board and free WiFi. For self-catering check out Central Cambridge Studios.
Luxury: Situated within 7 acres of lush, landscaped Madingley Hall is a 16th-century offering rooms with idyllic views. Or for something closer to the city there is Vesta Apartments, located in Cambridge, 1.1 miles from the University of Cambridge. Botanic Garden Cambridge is 650 yards from the property.,
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