Whether you’re on a budget or not, if you’re thinking of getting around Cambridge, England anytime soon, you might want to read this Cambridge travel guide before you go.
I live in Cambridge, UK as I type this and have been here for over a year now; I leave in half a month for my first solo trip ever. This is why I thought I would make this my first post.
What better place to start than the very beautiful city where you currently live ?!
This guide is more for the backpacker than the vacationer, but Cambridge isn’t cheap but if you know where to look and go you can have a great time visiting the museums, botanical gardens, universities and colleges, and more much more!
How to get to Cambridge
Getting to Cambridge all depends on where you come from and your budget.
When flying, Stansted Airport is the nearest airport to Cambridge. There is a direct train that is very easy to find and leaves regularly for Cambridge. Trains take between 30 and 40 minutes and the price ranges from £ 9.50 to £ 12.50 depending on the time of day. There is also a bus option that I will explain in the next section.
Bus and coach
Buses run to Cambridge from Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford, and Stansted Airport. You have to decide what is the best mode of transport for you, but using buses is your cheapest option.
All buses arrive and depart from the bus stops on Drummer Street and Emmanuel Street, which are next to each other in the city center. To check all prices and times, it is best to go to the National Express website, which you can find here.
Cambridge has a very good train service and is easy to find. With many connections to London, Stansted Airport, and East Anglia, using trains is easily the fastest option if you are in a hurry. There are three main tracks;
Cross Country – This is a direct link between Stansted Airport and Birmingham, this is the fastest line for anyone traveling from Birmingham or Stansted or anywhere in between.
National Express East Anglia – This train runs to London Liverpool Street. They also have trained in the direction of Ely / Norwich.
First Capital Express – Trains to London Kings Cross (may also be spelled London Kings X), also trains to Ely and Kings Lynn. Honestly, I never paid much attention to the railroad I used and I used a lot of trains in Cambridge! I use the National Rail website to check live times and prices before I leave.
If you need a bus to explore Cambridge, Stage Coach is your best option. You can get a day pass for £ 3.30 which is valid all day and can be used as often as you need on all Cambridge Stagecoach buses. Buses run every 10-20 minutes.
Staying in Cambridge can be expensive, the cheapest place I know is the YHA, it’s a hostel and it has very good reviews. Prices are around £ 20 a night. If you want a hotel they can be a minimum of £ 75 a night up to £ 400, yikes! This is why if you are a budget backpacker, staying at the YHA Cambridge Hostel is by far the best choice, it is only 5 minutes walk from the train station and 15 minutes walk from the city center.
Food and drink
There are many places in Cambridge to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with plenty of places to buy snacks, but it’s not cheap except to pay at least £ 5 for a good meal. Check out this website for a great guide to the cheapest places to eat in Cambridge, England.
Things to do/see
This section can get quite long as there are many things to do from visiting museums, galleries, universities, and colleges to parties in some clubs. I have to admit Cambridge nightlife isn’t the best, but most people visit Cambridge for the attractions rather than partying.
- The Fitzwilliam Museum – free
- If art and antiquities are your things, the Fitz Museum is for you.
- Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences – Free
- This is the Cambridge University Museum of Geology.
- University of Cambridge Museum of Archeology and Anthropology – Free
- Whipple Museum – free
- The history of science
- County Folk Museum – free
- For folk lovers
- Museum of Classical Archeology – Free
- Another museum of the CU.
- Scott Polar Museum – free
- History of Science in Antarctic Exploration
- Museum of Zoology – Closed until 2016
- Kettles – free
- One of the best art galleries in Cambridge
- New Hall Art Collection – free
- Close to the Fitz Museum
Pubs and clubs
There are many lovely pubs and a few clubs in Cambridge if you fancy a bit of nightlife.
Probably the most popular club for students, normally £ 3 to £ 5 admission.
This is a pub by day and turns into a club by night, it is one of the more popular places in Cambridge, and depending on what you like, this could be the best place. I should say it is my favorite place to go when a decent night takes place.
The King Street Run
My favorite pub, not for everyone, but with a great atmosphere!
The Regal This is the cheapest place in Cambridge to get a drink, always free entry, and located on Regent Street.
For more information on the best pubs and clubs in Cambridge, visit the VisitCambridge website.
Most punts charge around £ 14.00 for adults and £ 7 for children. Here are some of the most popular places to go punting in Cambridge.
The Cambridge Punting Company – guided point tours of the back of the historic Cambridge University. Cambridge Chauffeur Punts – View the famous bridges and colleges along the River Cam.
Let’s Go Punting – private and shared Chauffeured River Tours of Cambridge.
Scudamores Punting – College supports punting.
Opened in 1846, the Cambridge Botanical Gardens house plants from all over the world in 40 acres of gardens and greenhouses! It costs £ 4.50 for entry.
If you are interested in the history of Cambridge and its walks, I would recommend this website, it has detailed maps and lots of information.