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What you need to know about Cambridge

Oozing with charm, history and tradition on every corner, there’s something almost magical about Cambridge.

FACT FILE:Cambridge

Currency GBP (Great British Pounds)
LanguagesEnglish
TimezoneGMT

The quaint city centre is packed with ancient and majestic university colleges, with picturesque gardens (knows as ‘backs’) rolling down to the dreamy River Cam, where you’ll see visitors and students taking a punt on a sunny day.

Add in 700 years of learning, world class museums and galleries, the leafy meadows that surround the city and the ancient cobbled passageways packed with quirky shops and cyclists, and you have a city that is just about as perfect as it gets.

Food and drink

Anywhere that’s home to this many learned people is bound to have a great culinary history, and Cambridge definitely doesn’t disappoint.

The city plays host to a lovely mix of romantic hole-in-the-wall restaurants, fine hotel dining, great pubs serving real ales and hearty dishes, and superb family-friendly cafes and tea shops where you’ll receive a warm welcome and great food.

The area around Market Square has a good selection of eating and drinking places, or you can simply explore the lanes and cobbled streets until you find your perfect spot to have a bite to eat or a relaxed drink.

Shopping

Cambridge is a city of hidden shopping treasures; a lovely place to explore for the day, with something for every shopping taste.

The inviting passageways and cobbled streets around the historic marketplace and colleges are packed with quirky boutiques and independent stores selling fashion, books, delicious foods, gifts and homewares.

There’s a bustling market every day in Market Square, and on Saturdays the All Saints Garden Art and Craft market, opposite Trinity College, is a great place to pick up artisan products and locally made crafts.

If high street names are more your thing, Grand Arcade has 60 premium-end shops, and you’ll find plenty more familiar brands and department stores in The Grafton shopping centre. 

Local businesses

The Cambridge area is known as ‘Silicon Fen’ because of the number of high-tech businesses based here, many of them in science and innovation centres connected to Cambridge colleges.

You’ll find tech companies like Abcam, CSR and Microsoft Research UK here, as well as communications experts Pye Ltd and Marshall aerospace. 

Getting around

Getting to Cambridge is easy – it’s just 50 miles from London, with direct rail links to King’s Cross, Birmingham and Norwich. Drivers will find Cambridge just off the M11, with five great value Park & Ride sites which we highly recommend, as parking is restricted in the city centre during the day.

Once you’re here, exploring the fascinating nooks and crannies of Cambridge is a delight, whether you’re on foot, on a bike or taking a punt down the river. Most of the main attractions (and our serviced apartments) are in the compact (and flat) city centre, and the number of people out strolling or cycling makes this quintessentially English city feel almost continental.

The best way to see the colleges is by taking a traditional Cambridge punt down the river – you can steer your own, or hire one with a chauffeur so you can relax and enjoy the view. If you prefer to take the bus, you’ll find regular services across the city, including hop on-hop off sightseeing options. 

Things to watch out for

Cambridge is the busiest city for cycling in the UK – pedalling on two wheels is a way of life here. If you’re driving, be aware of cyclists around you, and if you’re walking, keep an eye out for speeding bikes!

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