On Wednesday we went to Cambridge, the famous university town. As always Sanaa’s trusty 4×4 (bugaboo cameleon 2nd gen) came with us. Cambridge’s reputation precedes it so I had high hopes.
The journey was so fast and straight forward it’s a wonder it’s taken me so long to go. From Brixton underground, we caught the tube to Kings Cross and from there we could get a fast train to Cambridge. It was a Great Northern train that got us there, I’ve never been on one before but they’re quite nice. The pushchair space also doubles up as wheelchair space too (only downside it’s next to the loos, they’ve got a baby change in them which sort of makes up for it) and can accommodate 3 pushchairs so a fun day out with friends and babies is easily obtainable. All together in less than an hour and 30 minutes we were at Cambridge station. All 3 stations had street to platform step free access, wahey that’s a first!
I had a browse around online for points of interest and things I might like to see but I didn’t really do much planning, so instead of heading somewhere straight away I decided to go for a walk. There were street signs pointing towards the university buildings and town centre so I just headed in that direction. About a 5 minute walk down the road and we came to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. It £5.50 for adults £4.95 for concessions and under 16’s go free. As you can imagine there was a plethora of greenery. The fountain is a good place to remember because no matter how lost you get if you head back to it, you know the exits aren’t far. My top pick would have to be the Glasshouse Range, which are essentially deluxe open greenhouses. Each one comprised of micro plant ecosystems from around the world, it’s a sight to see! I’d say in hindsight, the botanic garden could have been my favourite part of the day but we got attacked by swarms of thunder flies, obviously it’s unavoidable; certainly it didn’t help that the 4×4 is so colourful I think the whole colony showed up.
Straight up the road with some local directions and the odd road closed due to works is the Fitzwilliam museum. My description of the Fitzwilliam museum is: if the British Museum had a younger sister which solely focused on the Old World it would be this place. There were loads of artefacts and collections, they allow photography if there’s no flash. The free entry is a bonus also they have different play packs to keep little ones occupied. For babies, they had a sensory mat with blocks and different textures. The guy at the front desk said we could use it anywhere, including near the open exhibitions it was nice to be in such a relaxed environment and Sans loved playing too. Alongside their constant installations they also have a few temporary exhibitions currently there are two to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. For more information, you can find their website here.
After we left the museum Sans was fast asleep so I went for a stroll and ended up outside Kings College. It’s open to visitors for around £6 but if you don’t fancy paying most of the other colleges are free just check if they’re open for visiting the day you want to go. I can see why Kings charges for entry though, the architecture is so detailed and grandiose it almost has a magical feel to it. Coincidentally it was graduation day so all the students were walking out in their distinctive Cambridge university robes.
As Cambridge is quite small and everything is within walking distance there were only two things left to do on my list. A good friend of mine told me to go to Fitzbillies, a world-renowned bakery that’s been a staple in Cambridge since its doors opened nearly 100 years ago in 1921. They’re mostly well recognised for their Chelsea buns which have a distinctive syrup glaze. Of course, I had to try one and yep they’re as good as they sound! The decor of the whole shop feels like you’ve gone back in time its been preserved well. Fitzbillies also sell other cakes, sweet treats and have a full menu and an adjoining sandwich shop.
No more than 3 minutes walk west of the shop is the River Cam, where we were had a clear view of the Mathematical Bridge in Queens College and people punting along the river. I’m still not sure what you call the people who row the boats, in my opinion it makes sense to call them punters but apparently that’s not the correct term. So anyway, I’d have loved to take Sans on the river but the 4×4 simply wouldn’t make it on the boat.
Cambridge is a nice place and I did enjoy our time there however I found it slightly boring in comparison to my expectations. Possibly because Sanaa isn’t walking yet so most of the “attractions” had an understated effect. In addition, the pavements were mostly cobbled and narrow so getting around proved testing at times. Unless your aim is to go and relax not explore, I’d recommend Cambridge as a visit from London but a whole day was far too much time. The quiet was welcome nonetheless, just past our buzzing city it’s pleasing to know peace is near.
There aren’t any photos this trip because I forgot my camera and only had my phone which took DREADFUL pics.
NEXT STOP: Liverpool
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