Last summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Cambridge through my law school. Cambridge is such a fun city with lots to do! Here are ten things I recommend.
1. Go Book Shopping
Cambridge has some of the best and oldest bookstores in England. The two I suggest are David’s Bookshop and Heffers. David’s Bookshop is down a little alley off the main square. The owner there is super nice and restores old books. A unique first edition of a favorite classic is definitely a great souvenir! Heffers is a huge store that has any book you could think of! And if they don’t have it, they’ll get it for you. As an example, I got the first Harry Potter book in Ancient Greek while I was there.
2. Eat some Waffles
In the main square in Cambridge, there is a market going on every day. All of the booths are fun to visit, but one you should not miss is the Belgian Waffles booth! A man who is actually from Belgium makes delicious waffles a few select days of the week. Make sure to get there early, since he always runs out.
3. Grab a Pint
Cambridge, like most of England, is full of fun pubs. If you’re into history, you’ll definitely want to check out the Eagle on Benet Street. The pub has been open since the 1600s and supposedly Watson and Crick dined there, along with other famous Cambridge students.
4. Watch some Shakespeare
The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival happens every summer throughout the city. Eight different plays are put on outside at the different campuses. Its very fun to bring a picnic and enjoy a beautiful night watching some theater! Make sure to bring a blanket as it can sometimes be chilly.
5. Go Punting
Unfortunately, I did not have the time to do this, but punting is probably the most quintessential Cambridge thing you can do. There are lots of companies that do it regularly several times a day. I know Scudamore’s is popular and has been around for a long time.
6. Eat Some Ice Cream
You might not think of ice cream when you go to England, but you will be craving some if a heat wave hits during your visit. My friends and I went several times to Benet’s, right by King’s College, during the week of 90-degree weather. The ice cream was good, and the place has a great view!
7. Go Shopping
Cambridge has tons of tacky gift stores, and lots of the chain stores you’ll find in London and other large cities. Two of my favorite stores to visit were Cath Kidston and Joules (Joules makes the best striped shirts!). The city is also home to the Cambridge Satchel Company. You’ve probably seen their purses before, and the flagship store is located in Cambridge. You can see the entire collection and they will monogram your bag right in front of you (PSA that there is a student discount as well!). If you want your shopping to be more edible, don’t miss Chocolat Chocolat. It is located on Regent Street and they make their own chocolate creations fresh every day!
8. Have Tea
There are lots of places to have tea in the city (this is England, after all), but you will not want to miss the Tea Room in Grantchester, just outside of the city. Pick a nice day and have some delicious tea and scones. The Tea Room has been around since the 19th century and lots of famous authors and luminaries have visited it for tea in its time, from A.A. Milne to Alan Turing.
9. Visit the Fitzwilliam
The Fitzwilliam is the University’s main museum and houses all sorts of exhibits. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to go there, but admission is free and a museum visit is always a great way to spend an afternoon.
10. Walk Around the Colleges
Lastly, you will definitely want to make time to visit some of the bigger colleges, like King’s College and Trinity College. Some of the colleges are open to the public during the day and others hold regularly scheduled tours. The one in the top picture is of Emmanual College, where I studied. Its campus is smaller but is full of charm, which includes a duck pond.
Have you ever been to Cambridge? What do you like to do there?