Cambridge is a beautiful city famous for not only the historical Cambridge University but its museums and winding river. I’ve visited the city on a few occasions for educational purposes but hadn’t had a chance to truly explore at my own pace. To soak up the feeling of the city, watch the punters float by and appreciate its historical beauty.
Living in London makes a day trip all too achievable, with a return Sunday ticket coming in at £11.40 with the help of my 16-25 Railcard. The journey takes just under an hour if you pick a fast train and before you know it the built-up view of London is replaced by open fields and vast green space.
Cambridge train station is about a 15-minute walk to the city centre, with the University Botanical Gardens making a good pit-stop along the way. If the walk doesn’t sound too appealing there are plenty of buses and it isn’t too difficult to find an available taxi.
The first stop on my agenda was brunch. Meeting my cousin Ben and his wife Charlotte in Cote Brasserie we filled our boots with their fantastic breakfast deal, any hot breakfast + either an apple or orange juice and a hot drink of your choice for £10.50. With the English Breakfast coming in at £8.50 the deal seemed like a no-brainer. Cote were fantastic with my food-allergies replacing unsuitable items like the veggie sausage with an extra portion of avocado and mushrooms.
With a hearty breakfast in our bellies, we briefly considered going punting before deciding to take a tour of the beautiful University Colleges. Having both completed their Masters at Cambridge Universty Ben and Charlotte gave me the insiders tour, their cards gaining us free entry to all that Cambridge University had to offer.
The grounds are absolutely stunning, the gardens immaculate. Tread on the grass at your own peril. The cold, crisp January day shone a beautiful golden light on the warm stone walls and left me feeling a sense of awe with every college we entered.
In Saint John’s College, we stopped to appreciate the beauty of The Bridge of Sighs, whose name is rumoured to come from the sighs of pre-exams students who had to cross it. Built in 1831 the bridge has helped many a student cross the River Cam and would not look amiss somewhere in Hogwarts.
The Kings College Chapel was everything it was said to be and more. The gleaming sunlight illuminating its vast decorated windows, the organ towering proudly above us. Walking down the central aisle I could almost hear the voices of the choir and feel the harmony of their voices. The candles that had illuminated their sheet music stood dormant, ready to be changed and the red-velvet ropes cornered off their pews.
Walking back out into the sunlight we went in search of tea and cake. Deciding on a quirky cafe that served both vegan and gluten-free cake and conveniently situated across from the Kings College gates. Drinking a smoky Lapsang Souchong tea to re-warm my bones and tucking into a ‘miracle cake’ made from dates, chestnuts and walnuts, free-from gluten, refined sugar and fat! It truly was a miracle because despite being free-from nearly every ingredient in a conventional cake it tasted beautifully rich and creamy.
By now we were well into the afternoon, and I decided to accompany Ben and Charlotte back to their place in Ely for a whistle-stop tour and dinner
Ely is a beautiful city with a disproportionately large Cathedral. Ben and I walked the whistle-stop tour in just under 20 minutes, spurred on by the cold and the promise of a Thai curry when we got back in. Full of charm and beauty Ely is definitely somewhere I would like to see more of, with the house of Oliver Cromwell and a winding river, I could see myself spending a sunny summers day here, ending the day in one of the pubs or bars on the river bank.
As the sun went down and the day drew to an end I gave Ben and Charlotte a farewell hug before boarded the train at Ely Station. In no time at all the train pulled into Kings Cross Station and before I knew it I was back in my little North London Flat.
Until next time Cambridge.