A Local’s Guide to Cambridge


With the past weekend being so gloriously sunny and beautiful, wandering around Cambridge reminded me just how much I love living in this little town. 🙂

So after a spot of brunch at the Ivy on Trinity street, new camera in tow, I decided to take a good few snapshots and give you a little taste of what this quirky little place has to offer.


How to get around

As Cambridge is quite small, the best way to get around is either by walking, taking the bus or cycling. Pretty much every man and his dog in Cambridge has a bike, and there are options to hire bikes using Ofo (dockless bikes hired using the Ofo app) all over the place if need be. If you do choose to come by car, there’s a decent amount of car parks dotted around the center of town, but these tend to be quite expensive on weekends and can be pretty full towards midday.

Places to stay

The easiest way to find a place to stay in Cambridge is to use Airbnb because this gets you quite close to the center of town at a reasonable rate. Having said that, with Cambridge being so small and easy to get from A to B pretty quickly, it’s also nice to get an Airbnb on the outskirts of Cambridge, which are often cheaper and near some great pubs.

For a bit of a splurge, I highly recommend The Gonville Hotel, which has also recently opened its own spa…!!
The rooms are beautiful, the beds super comfy and the general service is very very good, and also fantastic food. If you just want to try the food, feel free to just book a table at the restaurant.

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Where to eat

Where do I begin..?!

For breakfast or brunch, there are a few fabulous spots across Cambridge, nestled into the high street or perched on the river. Stop off at Fitzbillies to taste their legendary Chelsea Bun, or for craft beer, espressos, and calm dining, head over to Novi or The Old Bicycle Shop.

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Fitzbillies on Trumpington Street

For lunch, again there are hundreds of great places of all cuisines. For a quick bite on the go, sample some of Aromi’s signature Sicilian style focaccias and flatbread pizzas (my pick is the Parmegiana Foccacia). If you’re after burgers, head over to Steak and Honor, Honest Burger or Butch Annie’s for some of THE best burger’s. Ever. Or, and my personal favorite.. head over to Pho for some incredible Vietnamese food that’s packed with flavor but won’t leave you breathing fire. Plus, the service has always been fantastic.

For dinner, there are plenty of great places all nestled in the center of town within easy walking distance of each other (so if one place is full, don’t worry!). For a very refined a la carte dining experience, book a table at The Ivy on Trinity Street. The Millworks nestled on the river bank is also a great option for bigger groups, as they have a very varied menu that caters for most appetites and tastes, with several salads and Grill options. Its also a beautiful place to dine in, as an old converted Mill, with the old water wheel on display inside.

The Pint Shop (only in Cambridge and Oxford) I have heard is very expensive for the portion sizes, but the food is absolutely delicious, offering mostly Grill and Spit Roast dishes. If you are wanting a relaxed no fuss lunch/dinner that also has a great selection, head over to The Red Lion in Grantchester Meadows or Hudson’s Ale House which is on the way there, which both offer really, REALLY, good pub food.

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Where to explore/things to do

Visit the Cambridge Colleges

One of the reasons I love living here so much is because I never get tired of the beautiful architecture making up the city, most notably by the University of Cambridge colleges. With 31 colleges dotted all over the city to chose from, you can spend the day wandering around their beautiful grounds, before stopping for a coffee or bite to eat and doing some good old shopping. My favourite colleges are King’s and Pembroke – King’s for its grandeur and stunning infamous King’s Chapel, and Pembroke (my future college come October!) for its peaceful beautiful gardens, despite being situated slap bang in the middle of town…. and right next to FitzBillies where you can stop off for a delicious Chelsea Bun..

I promise that’s not the reason I chose Pembroke as my college.. not the only reason anyway..

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Sidney Sussex college
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King’s College
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King’s College Porter’s Lodge, or the ‘plodge’ as termed by students. If you look closely you can see the swallows nests in the corners.
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Pembroke College
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Pembroke College from another angle!

Punt down the River Cam

Ahh..now if you’re in Cambridge for the day, and the weather is nice, you gotta try punting. There’s something so relaxing about being punted down the river in the sun (with a punnet of strawberries and a glass of Pimms if you fancy), the swans and ducks swimming by, and the sound of the bustling city fading away into the distance.

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If you’re also a fellow nature lover, you’ll love the Cambridge University Botanic garden. Heading from the train station to the center of town, you’ll pass the gardens small hidden entry gate. Purchase a ticket for a small price and you’ll find yourself immediately in beautiful meadows, perfect for picnicking away from busy city life.

There’s also a good few museums dotted around, like the Fitzwilliam Art Museum and the Life Science Museum so if you want culture and exhibits, Cambridge won’t disappoint!

For after the sun sets, there’s a whole host of bars lining popular streets, in the center of town and along the river to choose from. There’s also a good selection of live music places as well; to name a couple, there’s The Portland Arms who host open mic nights with whole range of unsigned artists playing (Mike and I saw The ShowHawk Duo here, seriously YouTube these guys), and Hidden Rooms being a cocktail lounge hosting jazz/soul/funk artists.


Where to shop?

Don’t let Cambridge’s quaintness and small-town feel fool you into thinking there are no places to shop..! From high street gems to malls, being the Lion Yard and Grafton shopping centers, there are plenty of places to shop and grab a bite to eat in between.

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Every street is so pretty! Just off camera along Green Street is a local shoe shop called Modish Shoes, one of my absolute favorites for gorgeous over the knee boots that fit just right. Seriously, they are SO hard to find.
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I love this little shopping street! Rose Cresent is so pretty plus… Mint Velvet and L’Occitaine opposite each other?! yes please! Also, you can see the Cambridge Market Place at the end of the street.
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King’s Parade, home to an excellent array of coffee shops, bistros and one of my favorite clothes shops, NOA NOA.

One of my favorite things about Cambridge is the quirky Market Square in the center of town, filled with stalls selling all kinds of things; sample some incredible cakes from George’s Bakery (heavenly portion sizes and prices might I add), buy fresh fruit and smoothies, clothes, jewelry, bath and body products, the list goes on.

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Wondering about visiting Cambridge? I hope I’ve persuaded you to come on over. You’ll love it!

Love,

Iona

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