things to do in cambridge

A friend at work has recently moved to Cambridge, and given that the weather has been improving a bit I put together a few things that might be interesting, and then realised that it wasn’t really specific to his needs and thought others might like to know too.

So first up, Cambridge Botanic Gardens. I should note that the only entrance I’ve ever known to be open is the one at the far end of Bateman Street near Trumpington Road (on their map).

The Fitzwilliam is the largest museum in Cambridge, but you will need to leave your bags at the desk when you arrive and I think they don’t allow photography. The Sedgewick is smaller and used to allow non-flash photography. Plenty of museum info all in one place.

If you walk along the river bank from Jesus Green (where they often have open-air Jazz in the Summer), past Midsummer Common (often full of cows, as it is Common Land and also where the November fireworks and various Fairs (and Fayres) are held) and up to Coldhams Common where you can cross the foot and cycle bridge to the Green Dragon which serves food and has a garden next to the footbridge, or you can carry on over the grass up to the High Street in Fen Ditton.

One note: in the UK if it really is an active Common then that means grazing is permitted (well, probably city residents: I’m not sure on the full bye-laws), so if you’re not on one of the paths don’t expect the grass to be mown, and do watch out for animal droppings (as it’s mainly cows grazing in Cambridge, they’re not that small…)

Fen Ditton has two pubs that I’ve been to, one is the Ancient Shepherds which is indeed in an old building (the original cottages date from around 1540 AD) but it’s not open all day, and the other – The Plough – has recently been turned into a Gastropub (more Restaurant than Pub); they will take you without a reservation if they have space, but might be worth calling ahead if you are certain you want to eat there.

If you just can’t stop walking, then you can go up the riverbank to Clayhithe (on the edge of Waterbeach) and stop off at The Bridge which is a Pub that concentrates on food. Can be busy at peak times, but more of a Pub vibe than The Plough. If you carry on up the road into Waterbeach then just as you get to the village (0.25 miles or so from the pub) you come to the railway station and can catch a train back to Cambridge (journey time 3 to 6 minutes – waiting for a train, well, urm, check an online guide for weekend train frequency !). They also have an instant ticket machine on the platform.

Also note that the footpath along the river switches sides using the footbridge by the Green Dragon, so if you want to go to Fen Ditton then that’s fine – you can say on the same side as you did on the way from Jesus Green, but if you decide to go for Clayhithe then you’ll need to cross the river before you get to Fen Ditton. After crossing the bridge by the Green Dragon turn right and keep walking past the end of the road, staying on the right. Rejoin the river a little further along.

If you’re staying in town, then although it’s a boring walk up a busy road (although you can get there from the far West edge of Midsummer Common on quiet backroads), then The Wrestlers on Newmarket Road does excellent Thai food (the Green Chicken Curry can be challengingly hot for a wimpy Brit like me, but I keep coming back for more !), and the last time I went The Hopbine (close to Midsummer Common and the Grafton Centre) also had nice Thai, although they do serve more English food than Thai.

3 Comments

  1. Matthias Scheler May 2, 2009

    Silke and I very disappointed when we went to The Bridge the last time. They didn’t even have a side order of vegetables on the menu and the food was not very impressive. If you are after a real nice dinner you should visit Restaurant 22.

  2. ian May 2, 2009

    Thanks for the update Matthias – the last time I was there I was working for MIPS (so well over a year ago), it was lunchtime so we didn’t have a long time to spend in there and work paid too, which might have meant I was a bit more prone to forgive them 🙂

    I should also have put in a link to Strawberry Fair, seeing as it’s a fairly large event, although I’ve only been once and wasn’t quite sure what I thought of it. I think I liked it. I bought a hat.

    TTFN,

  3. Ramana May 19, 2009

    This was quite useful – and was quite easy to follow across Midsummer Common, Jesus Green and along the River Cam. A further update could be about punting and the backs of the colleges but I’ll try and beat you to that.

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