As the week 5 slump combines with the February blues, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the claustrophobic nature of Cambridge. Why not take your mind off things by making a day trip away from the bubble? With destinations for every occasion there’s no reason not to indulge in a cheeky mid-term excursion.
Birthday celebrations: London
People seem to forget that the bubble is a mere 45-minute train journey from our fine capital. Culture vultures can spend their birthday browsing the Tate Modern, where there is currently an acclaimed exhibition of Paul Klee’s work; shopaholics can while away the hours gazing at the crazy foodstuffs and overpriced shoes of Selfridge’s; theatre junkies can grab a bargain ticket to see a West End show. From Covent Garden to Camden, London is a city full of surprises, so if you’ve got no plans for the big day: be spontaneous. Hop on a train, see what the weather’s like, go where your mood takes you.
Parental visits: Ikea
It sounds weird, but Ikea, with its satisfyingly simple products and its tasty food, can actually be quite a fun day out – especially when accompanied by parents who may sympathise with your lowly student status and buy you some slick and highly functional items to brighten up your room. The nearest Ikea is in Milton Keynes, known by many as the barren place where the X5 stops on the way to Cambridge. However, the town’s many attractions include an indoor ski slope and the historic Bletchley Park, if you get fed up of Scandinavian efficiency.
Dates with a difference: The beach
Cambridge may seem pretty landlocked, but before the Dutch hopped over and drained the fens, the sea lapped at our city’s outskirts. Nowadays, it’s a bit more of an effort to reach the beach; but it’s worth it. Cromer, Hunstanton and Sheringham are all small, charming and thoroughly British seaside towns on the North Norfolk coast, and can be reached in under two hours. With long beaches, plenty of cafés to duck into if it rains and many ice cream opportunities, these spots have romantic potential.
Solo expeditions: Stately homes
Cambridge is very close to a number of rather splendid stately homes. Audley End and Wimpole Hall are mere fifteen-minute train rides away, and can provide solitary walks in beautiful grounds and architecture to marvel at. Anglesey Abbey is similarly glorious, and can be reached by bus; it boasts a number of antiquities to be privately wondered at and the café there is splendid.