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  • Punts were introduced into Cambridge as pleasure craft in Edwardian times

Cambridge City Guide

Cambridge History

There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area in the Bronze Age and in Roman Britain; under Viking rule, Cambridge became an important trading centre. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although city status was not conferred until 1951.

During the Second World War, Cambridge was an important centre for defence of the east coast. The town became a military centre, with an R.A.F. training centre and the regional headquarters for Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire established during the conflict. The town itself escaped relatively lightly from German bombing raids.

Cambridge Today

Cambridge is the home of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209 and one of the top five universities in the world.

Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology Silicon Fen with industries such as software and bioscience and many start-up companies spun out of the university. Over 40% of the workforce have a higher education qualification, more than twice the national average.

Cambridge Leisure

You simply have to start off your stay in Cambridge by exploring one of the many beautiful museums and art galleries that abound, whilst admiring the beautiful architecture and majestic college buildings of the famous University. Naturally this is all best achieved after a restful night spent at one of the Prestige serviced apartments in Cambridge!

The historic market place and Cambridge University's colleges with their quaint passages are an intoxicating mix. The market place is definitely the place where a unique and relaxing shopping experience can be found. A blend of independent shops mingle with high street brands making for a very pleasant shopping experience.  Additionally, Norwich Street apartments are only minutes away from both the railway station and Cambridge city centre and are therefore best placed to offer you a much sought after central location. The Norwich Street apartments offer stunning one bedroomed serviced apartments in Cambridge city centre. Paradise Street apartments are very close to the well known Grafton Centre, and are therefore also well placed, and offer air conditioned one, two and three bedroom serviced apartments and are ideal as family holiday apartments or corporate and business apartments in the centre of Cambridge.

Relax in one of the many beautiful pubs, restaurants, tearooms and cafes along the river Cam or why not catch a student theatrical production, or perhaps a show at the Arts Theatre. There's also always live music or comedy on at the Corn Exchange. With only a 20 minute walk along the river into the historic heart of Cambridge, our The Vie Apartments would make an ideally tranquil base both for exploring Cambridge's treasures or the beautiful surrounding countryside with the many attractions that it has to offer. The Riverside Apartments in Cambridge offer  modern and elegant 1, 2 and 3 bedroom serviced apartments.

Cambridge Top 5 food

Butch Annie's
Butch Annie’s is a vibrant Brooklyn-style burger joint sited on Market Street in the centre of historic Cambridge. The focus here is simple, to source the best ingredients from some of the country’s finest small-scale producers, keep the menu concise and the choice exciting. Burger lovers will enjoy 28-day aged beef sourced from the finest native breed Herefords that are traditionally farmed and chemical free.  The menu is concise, with 7 best beef and Iberico burgers and 7 vegetarian burgers. Sides include Skin-on-Chips seasoned with Maldon Salt, Rosemary Salt or Za’atar, and Butch’s twist on the traditional onion ring, Onion Popcorn - chickpea and beer batter-coated onion pieces, served with a cumin-spiced yogurt dip and wedge of lemon.

Fitzbillies, with its beautiful art nouveau shop front, is a Cambridge institution. Its famously sticky chelsea buns have been made and sold on the premises since 1921. No trip to Cambridge is complete without a visit. The cake shop, coffee counter and cafe/restaurant are open for coffee, lunch and afternoon tea 7 days a week. Lunch in the cafe features savoury tarts, pies and sausage rolls, salads, soups and English cheeses and ham, accompanied by fantastic homemade soda bread.

Michaelhouse Cafe
This transformed church is a real 'do not miss' when in Cambridge. The menus change daily, so you can be sure that you will never have the same experience twice. With the ethos of making simple food perfectly, the meals are fresh, tasty and reasonably priced. The menus feature mouth-watering cooked breakfasts, as well as delicious lunches which regularly boast a selection of the café’s famous quiches and casseroles.

The Rainbow Cafe
Unique in Cambridge for serving only complete vegetarian food and specialising in vegan and gluten free food, The Rainbow Café has established itself as one of the city’s best-loved vegetarian and alternative restaurants. Independent and with refreshing originality, this is the one-stop-shop for brightening your mood. Fully approved by the vegetarian society, everything is freshly made daily with natural ingredients free from colourings, additives or flavourings. The famous homemade soups are both filling and healthy. Guests can eat with a good conscience here as the wines, beers and ciders are vegan and ecologically produced, all eggs are free-range, and the food is perfectly organic.

Don Pasquale
Situated on the market square, in the centre of Cambridge is one of the city's longest standing and most admired restaurants - Don Pasquale. Thought of by many local residents as the original and best Italian restaurant in Cambridge - this family run establishment has stood on Market Hill for over 35 years.Whether you're looking for somewhere to sit back and relax with a cup of coffee, enjoy a light lunch or enjoy a leisurely evening meal, you'll find Don Pasquale the perfect city centre location – with the Grand Arcade multi-storey car park just a two minute walk away and the heart of the city's shopping district at you finger-tips.

Cambridge Transport Tips

  • By plane

    The nearest airport to Cambridge is Stansted Airport where you can get flights to other parts of Europe.
  • By train

    Cambridge train station is very well connected where you can catch trains to London Euston/kings Cross as well as Ipswich, Norwich and Birmingham New Street.
  • By car

    If you are planning on travelling into Cambridge by car there are a couple of 24 hour car parks around the city and you can have a look at parking options on the City Councils parking page. Another option and one of the simplest ways of visiting Cambridge by car is to use one of the five Park & Ride sites located on the outskirts of the city. All five sites are easily accessible when travelling from any part of the country and are situated at Trumpington Road, Babraham Road, Milton, Madingley Road and Newmarket Road.
  • By bike

    Cambridgeshire is one of the best places in the country to cycle. It is relatively flat and has an extensive cycle route network for all ages and abilities to enjoy. For cycle routes in Cambridge have a look at this Cambridge Cycle Map.

  • By bus

    For information about bus times and bus routes we recommend you to have a look at Cambridge City Council's Bus Page to find the bus number that suits you.

Things to do in Cambridge

Listed below are some of the great places to visit in Cambridge. Click one to find out more.

Punting on the River Cam

It's possible to hire punts for both the College Backs and Grantchester, with canoes, kayaks and rowboats available. The most popular format is hourly hire and all craft can be hired this way. Longer period fixed rate hire formats are also available for Grantchester and are excellent value.

For more information: www.scudamores.com

Cambridge County and Folk Museum

Discover the vibrant history of Cambridge life in this friendly museum. Set in a 17th Century building you can explore the nine themed rooms about the lives of Cambridgshire people. See the kitchen, bar, folklore and childhood rooms, which show how people have lived, worked and played since the 1660s. 

In 70 years the Folk Museum has acquired a rich and varied collection of 20,000 objects, pictures and documents which provide a fascinating insight into the history of Cambridgeshire people.  The nine room settings include the Bar, the Snug, the Kitchen, the Guest Room, the Dining Parlour, the Fens & Folklore Room, Arts & Artisans, Childhood and the Playroom.  What was it like to do the laundry, or cook dinner, how would children spend their past-time, what fen customs were observed?  These are just some of the questions that are answered when visiting the museum's displays.

For more information visit: www.folkmuseum.org.uk

Cambridge University Tour

The local tourist office runs Historic University and College Tours which leave the Tourist Information Centre every day. These tours cover the most important aspects of the city, University and colleges.

Your guide will relate some of the fascinating stories regarding the famous people connected with Cambridge whilst looking at some of the best known and impressive sights Cambridge has to offer. Entrance to the magnificent King's College and Chapel and beautiful St John's College is also included (Queens' College from late June).

Tours leave from the Tourist Information Centre at 11.00 and 13.00 Mon-Sat and 13.00 on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

For more information visit: http://www.visitcambridge.org/TicketServer/DailyTours.aspx

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