Things to Do in Cambridge: A Day on the River Cam

Written From… An airport bench in Heathrow, England, waiting to board my flight to Ecuador

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When anyone thinks of Cambridge I think it’s safe to say that Cambridge University is one of the first things that comes to mind. Now, putting aside Academia, it was the architecture of this small and beautiful city, the many University buildings and courtyards, that really stood out. Here are 5 things to do in Cambridge.

The detail, the old Harry Potter-esque architecture, the colours from the autumn leaves and the river quietly running through The Backs, collectively gave the city a touch of magic.

Having only spent a day in Cambridge on a mini relaxed getaway, I experienced the full charm of this quaint city. Staying in an Airbnb only a 15 minute walk away from the University grounds during my visit allowed for an enhanced and more immersive experience. 

Trinity College

Trinity college Cambridge

The prestigious home to an incredible list of alumni, such as Sir Isaac Newton, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and Francis Bacon; you can visit this part of Trinity College for a small fee. When inside, you can view the courtyard, the chapel and the Wren Library.

Information on Trinity College, Cambridge.

Mathematical Bridge

mathematical bridge in cambridge

The Mathematical Bridge may seem a little precarious – a little wooden structure connecting an arched entryway to the President’s Lodge in Queens College to the West Bank of the River Cam. The tale goes that Sir Isaac Newton built the bridge with nothing but wood. No bolts, no screws, just wood to show the principles of mathematics and gravity. The bridge was originally designed by William Etheridge and rebuilt twice.

Information on the Mathematical Bridge

The Backs

Two people sitting by the river bank in Cambridge

The Backs are a serene collection of green spaces lined by some of the University’s colleges and peacefully carved through by the River Cam. You can spend your time walking along the river bank and watching people punting.

Information for The Backs, Cambridge

The River Cam

People punting on the river

Taking a lazy stroll along a river bank is one of my favourite things to do, whether that be in Cambridge, London, or even San Antonio. Throughout the paths along the River Cam, you will find plenty of opportunities to go punting, by which you can access some parts you just won’t be able to by foot.

The Courtyards

court yard in cambridge

There are a number of courtyards open to the public dotted around Cambridge. Many of the courtyards appear like backdrops plucked straight out from a movie scene – The Secret Garden and Harry Potter come to mind. These courtyards are part of the University and a lot of the time the surrounding buildings are used as student accommodation. Keep an eye out for little openings that you can duck into.

All of these spots are in walking distance from each other, which makes exploring the city centre easy in a day and, at least for me, a lot more fulfilling.

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