Exploring England: See Cambridge by Foot, Bike, and Boat3 min read
Located about 60 miles from London, Cambridge makes for an excellent day trip and is a worthy travel destination in its own right. Spend a short time there and you’ll quickly discover why it is considered one of the loveliest towns in England. Cambridge is chock full of exquisite architecture, lush gardens, and postcard-perfect streets, and exudes a youthful energy even as it is steeped in history.
To fully appreciate Cambridge, ditch the car and explore the town by foot, bike and boat. Here’s how:
Tour Cambridge on Foot
Cambridge is a charming city from every angle and you could easily fill an entire day strolling its lively streets, window shopping, peering into college courtyards and getting happily lost in the tangle of streets that make up the town center. Popular destinations include King’s College Chapel, Round Church, Trinity College, Fitzwilliam Museum, the path along the River Cam, and the landscaped gardens behind the colleges collectively known as the Backs.
For a more in-depth walking experience, choose from among several sightseeing operators that offer guided walking tours with interesting facts, stories, and myths about the places you’ll visit. Note that only official green or blue badge guided tours are permitted inside the University of Cambridge colleges.
Bike to Grantchester
You don’t have to be a fan of the TV series Grantchester to enjoy a leisurely bike ride to the quaint village just south of Cambridge. Rent a set of wheels from Rutland Cycles, City Cycle Hire or another local outfitter and head on the roughly six-mile round trip ride, passing through the Backs and picturesque Grantchester Meadow along the way. The route follows a popular but narrow footpath, so be prepared to proceed slowly and disembark once you reach the village. Also, remember to keep left!
If the weather is nice, take a seat outside in the sprawling Orchard Tea Gardens, a Grantchester landmark since 1897, and enjoy a freshly baked scone along with your choice of tea before heading back to Cambridge.
Go Punting along the River Cam
A quintessential tourist activity in Cambridge is to go punting along the River Cam, which runs through the heart of town and offers a unique view of the Backs. Particularly on a warm summer day, the river is often filled with flat-bottomed boats steered by punters standing at the stern who use a pole to navigate the shallow waters. Take out a self-hire punt if you want to test your ability to navigate in a straight line. For a more leisurely and informative outing, join a shared tour or hire a chauffeured punt and listen to tales of Cambridge through the years as you move lazily on the water.
Punting is most common in the stretch of river between Jesus Green and Grantchester and there are multiple operators to choose from.