Cambridge has earned acclaim as one of the two most famous university cities in the UK, with Oxford as its counterpart. Its famous university was established in the 13th century and since then it has produced some of the brightest scholars and academicians in the world. Its location at a distance of just about 60 miles from London makes it a popular destination for a day or weekend trip. Apart from its many famous colleges (31 of them) and its world famous University, there are plenty of other attractions to explore in Cambridge.
There is a good choice of hotels near Cambridge station to choose from in terms of accommodation. If you want to stay close to the city centre the hotels near Station Road are ideal as they are close to the business and leisure venues in the city. For those travelling on a budget there are plenty of free things to do in Cambridge that include the following:
Explore its museums
The museums at Cambridge are some of the best in the UK and cover a wide range of areas ranging from archaeology to arts, science to culture. And thanks to Cambridge University, most of the museums do not charge an admission fee. They are a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon exploring the many exhibits and artefacts on display.
Enjoy the amazing natural beauty
There is an incredible amount of natural beauty to be found in Cambridge. One such place is Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, which is located on the periphery of St Neots, and is out of the best natural reserves in the area. Paxton Pits was formerly a working quarry and now it offers a diverse range of habitats that have made it ideal for a wide variety to wildlife to thrive there. It houses some of the best nature trails that are perfect for hikers and a number of bird feeding stations scattered along the area. And visitors can also catch a glimpse of the shy and elusive otters to be found in the area.
Try kite flying
Although Cambridgeshire cannot really lay claim to having anything exceptional in the way of hills, they do have Gog Magog. It is an area that is well known for its gusty winds. So on a sunny day you could try your hand at the traditional sport of kite flying in the area. Gog Magog Downs are to be found towards the southern part of the city, and are a great place to spend time with the kids flying kites.
Enjoy the Bumps
One of the more unique traditions in Cambridge is the annual tradition of the bumps, two to be exact. In the month of May, there is the University Bumps and in July there is the Town Bumps. If you are left scratching your head trying to figure out what the bumps are – well, they actually are a rather frenzied rowing race, where the boats try to bump those at the front of them to try to move ahead!
Tread in the steps of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was a rather controversial and enigmatic figure who overthrew the monarchy and declared himself Lord Protector, while trying to convert England to a republic. He was born in Huntingdon and stayed at St Ives and Ely. There is the Cromwell Museum to be found in Huntingdon with his former home in Ely converted to a Tourist Information Centre. Cromwell himself graduated from Cambridge University. It is rumoured that his head lies buried at Sidney Sussex College and it is said that his spirit still haunts the place. You could learn more about the life and times of Cromwell with a visit to the museum. And there is no admission fee charged.
Enjoy a free gig
If you have a thing for music, how about enjoying a free concert on a Friday afternoon! While there is no free lunch, there definitely is a free lunchtime gig to enjoy. During term time drop in at Kettle’s Yard, where you will see some of the best musical talents from the University perform for free. All you need to do is pay for the meal.
Visit the Fitzwilliam Museum
If you want to keep the kids busy and out of mischief, take them on the first Saturday of the month to the Fitzwilliam Museum. The museum hosts its Family Welcome Point on every first Saturday of a month. The kids are given a free pack of drawing materials and there are plenty of activities as well as trails to keep them occupied. A great place to spend the afternoon with the family!
Explore Holme Fen
All those rumours you might have heard about Cambridgeshire sinking can be cleared up with an actual visit to Holme Fen that is a part of the Great Fen Project. There you will find ample evidence that proves the fact that a certain section in indeed sinking. The posts that once lay buried deep into the peaty soil at the top are now 15 feet above, as a consequence of the fens being drained.
Find your way through a maze
Have you ever navigated a maze or labyrinth successfully? If you have not, then take the kids along for an amazing experience to explore Hilton Village’s famous Turf maze! It is 55 feet in diameter and there is a pillar in the centre. It is modelled along the lines of the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral and is an exciting experience for the kids to try and work out a way to reach the centre.
Take the kids to the skate park
If the kids are fond of skateboarding, take them along with a skateboard to Jesus Green Skatepark, where there a number of obstacles both for beginners and experts. It is an outdoor skating park and they do not charge an admission fee.