Among the several destinations just a few miles away from London, Cambridge is the best. The Italian Eye invites you for a walk through its wonders for 48 hours in Cambridge during a proper British weekend.
A small city with a great reputation. Cambridge is recognized and respected internationally for its academic merits: in fact, here stands one of the oldest universities in the world (founded in the midst of 13th century!).
Perfect for both tourists and students, the city offers incredible architectural landscapes, buildings with smooth stones, large gardens and green parks.
What to see in Cambridge
The River Cam is a treasure worth discovering. It is not visible from the streets of the center, because several buildings hide it; the only way to bare its secrets is to rely on the famous “punt“, small boats crossing the flow everyday. Near Strumpington and Trinity Street you can find several guys ready to offer this fascinating tour. Do not stop on the first proposal: understand the standard price and always negotiate it. Once on board, just relax and be lulled by the small waves, while listening to the local guide’s explanations about the buildings all around. Two must-see: the Mathematical Bridge and the magnificent colleges, overlooking the River with pure majesty. A truly romantic journey.
The most famous college of Cambridge is the Trinity College. Once you get inside through the Great Gate (a Tudor construction dating back to 1546), you will be greeted by a huge apple tree, planted here in the 50’s. Legends say that it could be a descendant of the very apple tree under which Isaac Newton had an intuition of a certain…gravity. The courtyard, Great Court, is one of the largest in the world. An ancient fountain arises in its center, made by stones with almost 400 years of history. The entrance to the college costs £2, and some areas of the university are open to the public from 10am to 4.30pm.
48 hours in Cambridge for a spring break
More elaborate in terms of architecture is the King’s College.Henry VI founded it in 1441, and its long history saw many students becoming humanistic and literary personalities. Two names above the others: Virginia Wolf and John Keats. The college is well known for its famous King’s Chapel. With a distinct late Gothic style, the Chapel was built in three phases over a period of more that 100 years. Its vault lets rays of light inside through lightly colored glass windows, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. Crossing the choir, “The Adoration of the Magi”, famous painting by Peter Paul Rubens, is a succulent bite for art enthusiasts. The Chapel is not only a place of cult: it hosts the most famous events of the College, often recorded and broadcasted on radio and TV.
Where to eat in Cambridge
The streets in the center of the city are populated by small shops and several restaurants and pubs. Ethnic food is diffused and has great taste. Our advice is to take a break in perfect English style, enjoying the specialties of the East Anglia Cuisine: fried cod and salmon dishes are strongly recommended. And do not forget to try different pies and cakes.
Riverbar Steakhouse (Quayside, CB5 8AQ, Ph +44 1223 307030) Exceptional location overlooking the River Cam. Comfortable and trendy, with high quality meat dishes and reasonable prices.
Fitzbillies (51 Trumpington Street, CB2 1RG, Ph. 44 1223 352500). Go-getting pub on the main street, recommended for excellent English cuisine. Sandwiches and scones are a must.
Where to sleep in Cambridge
Ashley Hotel (74 Chesterton Road, CB4 1ER. Ph.+44 1223 350059) A friendly environment in a Victorian house. Excellent choice to feel the local atmosphere and enjoy a rich British breakfast. Only ten minutes walk from the center, through a path in the park along the River Cam.
Cambridge Quy Mill Hotel (Church Road, Stow Cum Quy, CB25 9AF. Ph.+44 844 387 6148) Extremely charming and well-kept, the best place to relax around the parks. Friendly and kind staff. Ten minutes from the Cambridge center.
How to get to Cambridge
By train: regular connections from London Kings Cross.
By bus: National Express buses depart from Victoria Coach station.