An afternoon in Cambridge

I finally made it to Cambridge last weekend. I’ve been to Oxford plenty of times (a friend went to uni there, so I’d often go up to gate-crash their posh, black-tie balls and pretend I was clever for the weekend), but Cambridge always seemed so much further away. It’s practically the Midlands, which means it’s practically ‘up north’ (in my London-centric eyes, anyway).
But as Mr ST and I were travelling all the way to deepest, darkest Suffolk for a wedding, we decided it was finally time to pay a visit. It started on a high – after missing the entrance to the £2-an-hour multi-storey car park, we ended up on a side street where the residents-only parking spaces were free for all on Sundays (Glisson Road, in case you’re wondering. You’re welcome).
After stocking up on leaflets at the Tourist Information Centre, we started our tour of the colleges. There are a fair few of them, so I wouldn’t suggest trying to see all of them in one day. The bigger ones charge for entry, but a lot of the smaller ones let you look round for free.
We started off at Queens’ (£3), which had a series of pretty courtyards, a giant Zodiac sundial, and an impressive 15th-century dining hall complete with stained-glass windows and gilt-framed portraits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It spreads across both sides of the River Cam, and is connected by a cute wooden bridge that dates back to the 18th century.
Next, we had a snoop around Pembroke…

 

 

 

We did plan to visit King’s, but decided the £7.50 entry fee
would be better spent on scones. I’ll go in next time, promise. We thought we’d
be able to get a good view of the chapel from The Backs, but most of it was
blocked off unless you’d bought a ticket.
We (well, me – Mr ST waited outside as he’s even more of a
Scrooge than me) paid out for St John’s, though. Mainly so I could see the
Bridge of Sighs, which connects New Court with Third Court (such imaginative
names). It had an impressive chapel, too, but sadly no photos allowed. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott to look like Sainte Chapelle in Paris (which I missed out on seeing during my visit back in April), with stained-glass windows and a gorgeous painted ceiling.

 

 

 

 

Our final college for the day was Jesus. It was only a 5-minute walk from the river, but we were pretty much the only visitors.

 

 

Once we were all college-d out, it was time for tea and a
wander.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The town centre was pretty small, so I felt like we’d seen
everything we wanted to in an afternoon. I’d envisaged hiring a punt and lounging on the benches, sipping Pimm’s as Mr ST steered us down a tranquil River Cam. But a) the weather had turned typically British (cold and grey) and b) the river was chock-full of stag parties careering into everyone in their path. So we decided against it. I imagine it’s a bit
quieter during the week or outside the summer months. Shared punts cost around £12-15 for 45 minutes. It’s more to hire a private one (obviously), but if there’s a group of you, it’s probably worth it.

2 Comments

  • Reply Catherine August 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Sounds like such a perfect afternoon! Shame about the bad weather and not going punting, but glad you had a good time any way 🙂 Can't wait to experience all of this myself!

    • Reply Laura September 4, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Look forward to reading your post! I reckon it'll look lovely in October when all the leaves are turning.

    Leave a Reply