My Favourite Places in Cambridge

Emma Drewett 14 December 2018
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As a Cambridge student, it is fair to say that you seldom have time on your hands. So, when the miraculous occurs and you find yourself with one Saturday morning free or a Sunday evening off, it can be difficult to decide how to fill the time. More often than not, the time I have free never seems to align with the spare time of my friends. So, I frequently find myself questioning what is there to do in Cambridge? Not only that, re-entering the dating scene also has me wondering what to do and where to go (excuse my shameless attempt to find myself a match…). I also overhear complaints of not knowing where to take family and friends visiting from home. With that, I have compiled a list of things that I love to do around Cambridge that you might enjoy too.

The Botanic Gardens have to be my favourite place in Cambridge. Whilst we are fast-approaching the season of ice, wind and snow, I would definitely recommend visiting, or at least doing so in the Summer time. Don’t let the weather put you off though; my first visit to the Gardens left me soaked to the bone and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Amid the chaos of Cambridge life, it is a must to arrange time to relax. The Gardens are the perfect place to wind down and enjoy a leisurely stroll. Put your deadline worries away and immerse yourself in the calming atmosphere. I have to say, it seems a shame that I do not visit more often. With your student card, access to the Gardens is free. Bring a book, listen to music, sit down, close your eyes. Whatever you decide to do, whether alone or with friends, the Botanic Gardens are a must-see.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Now, if you haven’t heard the question ‘Have you been to Grantchester yet?’ do you even study in Cambridge? My fondest memories of my first year in Cambridge center on my visit to The Orchard Tea Garden (you are perhaps noticing a theme here). Buy yourself a little slice of Britain with their delicious tea and scones and enjoy this hidden cubbyhole, enclosed within a fortress of trees and surrounded by the vast, expanding fields. If you want to escape the notorious ‘student bubble’, get yourself out of Cambridge for the day and go to Grantchester! And if you’re worried about walking, cycling is always an option. Although, I often speak to fellow students who say that, despite living and studying here, they rarely see beyond their college walls. That being said, walking to Grantchester, or anywhere else for that matter, can be the best way to see more of Cambridge.

Image Credit: Geograph

If you’re not a rower, or if you avoid taking walks around Cambridge because you’re not sure where to head, or if, like me, you find the thought of going for a run more horrifying than having a 9am lecture, then you may never find yourself heading down the River Cam. And yet, the river can provide the perfect route for you. Whether you do decide to take up a little exercise, or wish to have a breath of fresh air, or a change of scenery, the River Cam can offer you a much needed break. No need to worry about getting lost; turn around, head in the direction you came, follow the river along and voila, you’re back where you started! And who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself with a pint or a burger and chips at the Fort St George afterwards. Well-deserved after a run, I’d say…

Image Credit: Geograph

Of course, all of the above seem to be outdoor activities, to which you may be thinking ‘Winter is coming up. I don’t want to go outside! Are you crazy?’, so to all of you reading who would prefer to be bundled up indoors, the next suggestions are for you. With the Grafton Centre and the Grand Arcade nearby, you may wish to treat yourself to a little bit of retail therapy to reward yourself for getting through the traumatic, full-throttle drive towards your weekly deadline. Or perhaps you’d prefer a trip to the Vue Cinema or the Arts Picturehouse to see the latest Christmas film releases to get you in the Bridgemas spirit (is it too early for Christmas films?). If you have an evening free, maybe the theatre is for you. Stay on the lookout for the latest shows or perhaps pass by the ADC to see what’s on this week. What about the Fitzwilliam Museum? Check for new exhibitions or return to old favourites. Again, with free entry, there is nothing to stop you from popping along and taking a look.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Whether you’d rather be snug and warm indoors or outside enjoying the cool November breeze, there is surely something here for you. If you find yourself saying ‘I wish I’d seen more of Cambridge’ or ‘I’m not sure what to do today’, hopefully this small list will come in handy for those little snippets of free time. And maybe you’ll discover something new to do yourself.