Things to do in Cambridge:
Cambridge is a great place for a family visit. You have plenty of open-air options if the weather is good from a simple walk or cycle around the world-famous colleges to a gentle punt along the River Cam. The city also has a wide variety of museums and galleries to suit all tastes and ages and, if you are there at the right time of year, the chance to enjoy various Folk, Beer and music festivals. Let’s look at some highlights.
Walks and Tours Around Cambridge
There are various guided walks and tours of Cambridge that you can sign up for. These tend to focus on the university and its colleges, although there is also a pretty good ghost walk if you want to scare the kids! The city is relatively compact, however, and you can easily wander round on your own and see most of the sites without having to join a tour if you prefer.
Take a Cambridge Bike Ride
Cambridge is a city that is full of bikes so why not copy the students whizzing around and hire bikes to see the town? There are plenty of cycle paths to take you to quieter places if you prefer. Again, you can join a guided tour for a morning or afternoon session or you can travel under your own pedal power. There are loads of bike shops that hire out bikes for short periods – you can find always an up to date list in the Tourist Information Centre.
Take a Punt on the River Cam
If you ask people what they would like to do in Cambridge, many would say that they think punting looks fun. If the weather is nice, this is a great way to see another side of the town and university areas. The college ‘Backs’ are certainly worth seeing. There are plenty of places to hire your own punt if you feel brave enough to have a go and, on some areas of the river, you can also hire canoes and rowing boats. If you don’t feel confident taking charge of a punt yourself, you can take a guided tour and let someone else do all the hard work while you sit back and enjoy the view.
Visit Cambridge’s Museums
Cambridge has a range of museums that are all worth a visit. The Fitzwilliam has been described as one of the finest small museums in Europe and you’ll find an eclectic treasure trove of art, artefacts, coins, pottery, manuscripts and books here. Best of all, entrance is free for all the family. On the first Saturday of each month, the museum runs a Family First Saturday program for children of all ages. These are themed events and include activities such as drawing projects and trails.
If you have a budding zoologist or fossil lover in the family, then the University Museum of Zoology could tick all their boxes. This museum contains fossils, mammal skeletons, birds and shells from all over the world. It is generally open every day apart from during the Christmas period but it does close every now and then for examinations and teaching so check it is open before you go.
The Museum of Cambridge could give you a taste of the history of the city. Set in a quaint 17th century building, this museum brings history to life with themed rooms that show you how people have lived in the region since the 1600s. Kids, in particular, enjoy a visit here as the rooms really do help them understand how people used to live.
Art Galleries in Cambridge
In addition to the art collections housed in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge has a few other smaller galleries and exhibition spaces to choose from. The Ruskin Gallery on the Anglia Ruskin University Campus is home to artists’ studios and shows both traditional and digital exhibitions. Byard Art (opposite King’s College Chapel) showcases the work of contemporary artists and designers across the UK and includes paintings, photography, jewellery, sculpture and ceramic works. Kettle’s Yard is also worth a visit as it displays modern art in a domestic setting. The focus here is on 20th century paintings and sculpture.
Relax in Green Spaces in Cambridge
Cambridge may be a city, but it is an extremely green place, full of gardens and parks. The College ‘Backs’ is a large area of reclaimed land that runs behind some of the university’s colleges along the River Cam. You can see this from a punting trip or on walks. If you are in town at the right time, you may also be able to enter some of the college gardens themselves. The University’s Botanic Gardens are popular with visitors – these contain over 8,000 plant species in different themed gardens that cover a 40-acre landscaped area.