Having lived in Cambridge for a year, I know there is always something new to discover and no amount of time is enough. But if you’d like to visit Cambridge from London and only have a day, here is some advice I’ve given a handful of friends to make the most of this lovely little town I was privileged enough to call home.
Organise your train from London as early as possible, this will help you get a cheaper ticket. Express trains from King’s Cross are best, but we would purchase from Trainline
and try and get an off-peak, from Liverpool St to save money.
On arrival – get coffee!
Once you’ve arrived a Cambridge Station, get a cab or Uber from the train station (unless you particularly feel like walking approx 20 – 30 minutes) to Fitzbillies on Trumpington St. Once you’ve been seated, order a Chelsea Bun and coffee.
After your coffee, walk towards the river down Silver Street to see the Mathematical bridge, here you can admire the general Mill area and the river (but ignore the guys touting for punt tours).
Then you can double back down Silver St and then head left at Trumpington St (the opposite way to Fitzbillies) to walk past some of the famous the colleges.
If you’re a science nerd, pop into the Eagle Pub to see where the discovery of DNA was announced (head all the way in towards the bar at the back and there are some signs and information).
Head to King’s College (paid entry), make sure you see the Chapel! Then visit the Church at Great St Marys – its a couple of quid to climb the tower but the view is great (alternatively go into the bookstore on the corner and up to the top floor and look out the window there…).
After King’s College, King’s College and the Church opposite, visit Market Qquare (behind the church) before heading back towards “Senate House” (this is where graduation occurs).
Walk down Trinity St and stop into Trinity College (paid entry), look around the grounds and admire the Wren Library. Rinse and repeat at St John’s College, ensuring you see the Bridge of Sighs (best view is from the other Bridge looking back at it).
After John’s head towards “Quayside”, the bridge there is supposedly the “bridge over the river Cam”… which gave the name to “Cambridge”.
At Quayside, you can choose to do a punting tour (feel free to haggle with the touts) or hire a punt and do it yourself. Both are fun, the tour guides are known for telling outrageous lies so it might be worth fact checking.
If you are going to “punt” yourselves (it is a bit harder than it looks), you can take snacks and BYO. When punting, head back towards the mathematical bridge (its more interesting, even though you just visited those places).
After punting, grab a bite anywhere and wander you way slowly back through the town. Enjoy the little surprises along the way and see if you can pop into some more colleges, most of which are free to visit.
Here are all my recommendations in a google map