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The 5 Best Things to do in Cambridge 

26th July, 2019

The City of Cambridge is best known for its world-renowned university – the city’s skyline is dominated by college buildings and libraries. But don’t be fooled – the professors and near 25,000 students aren’t just drawn to Cambridge because of its academic reputation. It’s also a beautiful place to live.

Although our summer school is based in Oxford, our summer school students just visited the city of Cambridge for a day. Temperatures soared up to 38 degrees in Cambridge yesterday, but the students still had an amazing experience exploring the other half of 'Oxbridge'. 

We asked Lee, who lived and studied at the University of Cambridge, what his favourite past times were when he wasn’t writing essays Here are his top 5 suggestions:

1. PUNTING 

You can’t visit Cambridge without going punting!

Punting is a type of boating, where you propel yourself by pushing against the river bed with a pole.

Running through the centre of Cambridge is the River Cam, meaning you can enjoy fantastic views of the city from the comfort of a traditional ‘punt’ boat.

If you’d like to hear some history about the University along the way, you can sign up to a guided tour. But if you’re feeling brave, you can take out your own boat and try to be your own ‘punter’!

Be careful though – trust me, it isn’t nice to fall in! 

2. EVENSONG AT KINGS COLLEGE CHAPEL 

The other ‘must’ is Evensong at Kings College Chapel.

The Chapel was originally built as a place for the College scholars to observe daily worship, and now is considered one of the finest examples of gothic architecture.

The Choir performs Evensong daily during term time, which is a set of evening prayers, psalms and canticles.

Whether you are from any faith or none, Evensong is a truly magical experience. It is the perfect break from the daily hustle and bustle of studying.

You can find service times here.

3. CYCLING 

Visiting Cambridge, you soon learn that cycles rule the road!

My recommendation is that you can’t beat them, so you may as well join them.

When you’ve done whizzing around the cycle paths in the city centre, you can cycle around Cambridge’s green spaces – Parker’s Piece and Jesus Green, both favourites among students.

If you’re feeling active, I would suggest cycling out of Cambridge to nearby Grantchester. Here you can visit the famous Orchard Tea Garden, and enjoy some very English afternoon tea and scones!    

4. WALK AROUND THE BOTANICAL GARDENS   

Tranquil but surprisingly central, the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens are the perfect place in which to while away a few hours.

Founded in 1848, the Garden is maintained today in order to teach new generations about the natural world.

The Garden covers over 40 acres and contains plants from all around the world. It is an inspiration for gardeners, and just beautiful for the rest of us!

Take some time to look around and immerse yourself in nature. 

5. DINING IN COLLEGE HALLS 

By this point you’re likely to be hungry, and if you want a dining experience to remember, I’d pick one of the College’s dining halls.

During term time, these Halls will be used by students. They are even used for ‘Formal Halls’ – three-course candlelit dinners, which students attend for special occasions.

But these Halls are also open to the general public, and eating in these surroundings is a surreal experience.

Honestly, the quality of the Halls across Cambridge Colleges varies, and if you’re unsure ask a nearby student for their honest opinion!

The next step now is to visit Cambridge for yourself, and discover your own favourite things to do. Let us know what you get up to and any hidden gems you uncover.

You can find a list of our favourite museums to visit in Cambridge here.

Students at the Oxbridge International Summer School visit Cambridge on a day-trip. Click here to find out more about trips and activities on the summer school.