Last minute decisions on our vacation led us to Cambridge and I’m incredibly grateful we got to explore this amazing place! It’s funny where life will sometimes lead you, and we absolutely fell in love with Cambridge. Not including travel days, we spent 2 full days exploring the best of Cambridge and I’m so excited to share it with you.
We stayed at The Regent Hotel which overlooked Parkers Piece. We loved the hotel so much, and because Cambridge is a college town our room had this really cool modern calculus wallpaper. I found waking up to big calculus equations both stimulating and horrifying at the same time. Parkers Piece is a 25 acre green grassy field, with trees and benches around the edge, where people will socialize and relax. This was during the Europe heatwave so it was mostly brown so I didn’t bother with a photo.
Many people told us to go punting in Cambridge, and our hotel easily set that up for us and told us where to go. Punting dates back some 3000 years, and our guide was really good. He gave us so much history about Cambridge as well as some funny stories. There are 31 colleges in Cambridge, my two favorites being Kings and Trinity.
A funny story about Trinity is that Charles the Prince of Wales was actually not accepted at first, but a after a phone call from the Queen he was miraculously accepted, and he is the student with the lowest grades to ever be accepted. Ouch – and those are the exact words of our guide. Another funny story is that the students like to climb to the top of the buildings and leave weird stuff for people to see, from santa hats, underwear, construction cones, and the strangest – a car was left on top of one of the college buildings. It’s a mystery to this day how the students got it up there.
My favorite part about punting down the River Cam was seeing all the gorgeous bridges. A well known bridge is the Bridge of Sighs, below, given the name from Queen Victoria when she thought it resembled the Venice Bridge of Sighs.
Mathematical Bridge, below, is also another favorite. It is also known as Newton’s Bridge because a popular fable tells that Sir Isaac Newton originally designed it to be built without any nuts or bolts, it was designed entirely out of straight timbers all in compression so that it didn’t need them. Then one year the students took it apart to see if they could rebuild it, but they couldn’t figure out how to get it back together so they had to reassemble it using nuts and bolts.
The Eagle Pub is a large pub with a great garden in the back and is rumored to be haunted. The staff at the pub is always sure to leave the upstairs window open. There was a family that lived up there a long time ago, and a young boy died in a fire. If they don’t leave the window open for the boy then the pub will have bad luck and the window will spontaneously open on it’s own. There is also a ghost who sits at table 3, you’re welcome to sit with him and enjoy a beer, but just be warned if he doesn’t like you he will spill your drink.
There are also a lot of great boutiques to shop at, my favorite was the Gifts for Interesting People store. It was filled with so many creative and unusual gifts, even if you aren’t in a shopping mood definitely take a peak inside!
In another happy coincidence, the annual Cambridge Shakespeare Festival was going on, and one evening we watched The Taming of the Shrew outdoors surrounded by the trees. The actors were really great!
Here are a few more beautiful pictures we were able to capture…
The colleges are just absolutely gorgeous, it’s almost unbelievable. Later that evening we had a FaceTime call with Ashley and she was so amazed we were in Cambridge. She said it always had been her secret dream to go there and wanted a t-shirt. Cambridge is so beautiful and safe feeling. You can feel all the knowledge and thirst for learning in the air. Anyone traveling through England it makes a great stop, we had 2 full days exploring but we relaxed and took it at a slow pace. I think it could be condensed into one full day without travel. Also don’t forget to check some of the fun year-round festivals including the 8 week long summer Shakespeare Festival!