Before I get started I will just make this very clear: I LOVE Cambridge.
It is a 30 minute drive from my town, it is the place it was born, it’s where my Mother grew up, and is my favorite shopping destination. With a abundance of great shops, a bustling market, a grand history, and a colorful array of buskers and street performers, Cambridge is never boring, and is one of my favorite places in the UK.
So with no further ado, here is my list of 10 Things Not To Miss When Visiting Cambridge:
At the heart of Cambridge is the impressive Cambridge Market. With stalls selling everything from fruit and veg, toys, second hand books and DVDs, clothes and sweets, you could easily do the bulk of your weekly shop here alone.
There are also a number of stalls selling handcrafted jewelry – I get the majority of my jewelry from Cambridge Market – crafts, bags and scarfs, as well as a stall selling a variety of gems and fossils, which is a must for me every time I come to Cambridge.
If you are feeling peckish the market is also an ideal place to grab a bite to eat! There are stalls selling Chinese food, Thai food, German Sausages, Funnel Cake, Waffles – you are simply spoiled for choice!
There are many fantastic clothes and jewelry shops in Cambridge; Monsoon, Topshop or River Island to name a few, but this shop stands alone for me as my favorite place to buy Jewelry in Cambridge.
I don’t wear much jewelry, but what I do I tend to treasure and wear religiously. The two most treasured pieces of jewelry I own have come from this shop; a pair of moonstone ear-rings and a lovely silver frog pendant that I will be simply gutted if I ever lose!
There is a lovely array of hand-made silver jewelry on offer in this shop, which is simply gorgeous! There is amazing selection of rings, ear-rings, pendants and bracelets, and the staff are very friendly and happy to allow customers to try on or examine jewelry before purchasing.
Mayhem doesn’t end with only jewelry though. The shop also sells a selection of somewhat alternative clothing, hats and accessories, and there is also a cellar-floor selling little ornaments, such as wind-chimes, photo frames, boxes, rainbow teapots – it’s awesome, do check it out!
3. Cambridge Arts Picturehouse
If you are an avid cinema goer, and especially if you have a love of Indie or Foreign Language Cinema, you can’t miss this little local cinema!
The Arts Picturehouse is small but with a hip, fun vibe and a cosy, rather personal atmosphere. It often shows movies that are not being screened in other big name Cinema’s, such as foreign language films, and will also offer both original language and dubbed screenings a lot of the time.
The other thing that gives me quite a lot of respect for this cinema is it’s accessibility and generosity. The cinema runs regular autism-friendly showings for both children and adults, cheap toddler screenings of cartoons like Peppa Pig, and has also been know to offer Students-Go-Free screenings too. It’s a fantastic commodity and we’re lucky to have it.
4. Cambridge Crepes
The crepes from this stall are the best I have ever tasted in my life.
There is simply no competition. They are amazing.
Stationed near Boots (which is huge – you can’t miss it) this little crepe stall offers the best crepes you are ever going to find and is a huge local favorite!
Selling every flavour from classic lemon and sugar, strawberries & cream, banoffee and chocolate and marshmellow, these mouth-watering pancakes are made as you watch.
The only possible downside is the large queues that form at weekends or at lunchtime – I wasn’t kidding when I said this stall is popular, but it is well worth the wait!
The fact that this stall is located directly by one of the cities main busking spot is also an added bonus.
Why not take a well deserved break from shopping to sit on a bench, enjoy a delicious crepe and watch the buskers perform?
Waterstones is, obviously, a bookshop. And there are a number of these in Cambridge.
But what makes Waterstones stand out from the others is how cosy it is.
Kitted out with comfy arm-chairs and sofas dotted throughout the shop, it is certainly a place that makes browsers feel very welcome, and encourages book lovers to take their time and explore what’s on offer.
With four floors, which includes a coffee shop and a discount section, it is a great place to browse at your leisure, or even to sit down and grab a few moments peace with your own book. It really is relaxed.
The bookshop also holds regular talks and signings by many popular authors too, so if you are visiting do keep your eyes peeled!
6. Punting on the River Cam
While this is more of a day-trip type activity than something you do during a shopping trip, if you have an opportunity to do so this is certainly not to be missed, especially in the summer!
I’ve been on two punting trips; one guided tour with work, and one with friends where we did the punting ourselves.
Depending on whether you want a nice, relaxing punt to chill out with drinks, or are looking for a fun if slightly nerve-wracking experience (especially if you are hopelessly uncoordinated like me), you can either opt to go for the guided tour or a self-hire punt.
Whatever option you go for it is a really enjoyable experience with marvelous scenery to admire throughout your journey, and it is definitely something you should give a go at least once!
7. T.K Max
If you like great clothes and fantastic bargains then you can’t miss T.K Max! This mammoth clothes store sells designer clothes at incredibly reduced prices. You can find everything from dresses to watches to suitcases in this shop, and there are unmissable bargains to be found!
Selling items with up to 60 or 70% off their original price, no shopping trip in Cambridge is complete without stopping in TK Max. Pop in and grab yourself bargain!
8. Kings College University
The prestigious and highly sort after Kings College University is the jewel in Cambridge’s academic crown.
Located on Kings Parade in the center of Cambridge, it cuts an imposing figure, and is always besieged by fascinated tourists trying to get a photo of this world-famous university.
Kings College University is awe-inspiring enough when just viewed from the outside, but guided tours are also available to take visitors in to the the university grounds, library and chapel. I’ve never actually taken the tour myself, but can only imagine it to be a very interesting experience.
9. The ‘Grasshopper ‘ Clock
Tucked away in an alley opposite Kings College University, this is another of Cambridge’s little gems, which is well worth checking out.
The work of traditional, mechanical clock-making, this enormous clock is made of 24 carat gold, and topped with a grotesque, mechanical grasshopper, who clunks endlessly along as the seconds tick away, opening and closing his mouth and blinking from time to time.
This rather beguiling and slightly creepy clock is another spot that can usually be found thronged by entranced tourists, and, on a trivia note, is only actually truly accurate once every five minutes.
Don’t visit the clock to check the time, but do visit to check out the most impressive and weirdly eerie spectacles in Cambridge.
10. The Sedgwick Muesum of Earth Sciences
If you have kids, or are simply still a kid at heart, do not miss out on this fantastic free natural history museum! The oldest of the University of Cambridge’s museums, this museum showcases a big collection of gems, fossils, the skeletons of prehistoric mammals, and yes, dinosaurs.
Which totally does not still excite me at 22 years old. Honest.
Taking you from the very beginnings of life 544 million years ago right up to the Ice Age 1.8 million years ago, this truly fascinating collection of fossils is not to be missed by anyone with an interest in fossils or natural history.
Look out for the huge Iguanidon skeleton, which towers above you as you enter the mueseum, numerous skulls and remarkably detailed Ichythosaurs fossil!
It is a brilliant place for both kids and grown ups and is – best of all – completely free, although donations are very welcome and much appreciated.
So here ends my list of 10 Things Not to Miss When Visiting Cambridge. These are my favorite places, but what are yours? I’d love to hear!