Top Ten Things To Do in Cambridge

There are dozens of exciting things to do in Cambridge, UK, but what are the top then things to do?

Especially if you are on a short visit, maybe taking a short train ride from London, you may not have time to actually enjoy Cambridge with all its fantastic places, parks, pubs and tours in the university town. Still you should not miss the top 10 things to do.

Punting in Cambridge (photo by Yudis Asnar)
Punting in Cambridge (photo by Yudis Asnar)

1 – Number 1 Thing to do in Cambridge: see Cambridge University colleges in broad daylight

Take a walking tour in the historical city to absorb the sights of its medieval colleges. Imagine dozens of colleges which all belong to the umbrella of the University of Cambridge. The colleges have their own private lives too, but each college is part of the Cambridge University. If you are squeezed by time, or you want to get a general overview of the city of Cambridge, get on a hop on hop off bus and enjoy the informative audio tour in many languages. The highlights of the Cambridge University tour could be many of the colleges, but surely Kings College and Trinity College. Visit the King’s College Chapel at Evensong to listen to the choir and gasp at the beauty of the cathedral sized ‘chapel’.

2 – Number 2 Thing to do in Cambridge: taking a boat tour on the River Cam, aka Punting in Cambridge

The gondola like flat bottomed boats are called punts, and taking punting tours are showing you another side of the city of Cambridge, the back of the colleges where the river Cam runs, simply called The Backs. The punting tours also include guidance and lots of fun anecdotes about Cambridge. Relaxing and definitely a must do in Cambridge. Punting tours are excellent on lazy summer days, but spring and autumn punters get blankets to shield them from the chilly weather. You will glide under the Bridge of Sighs by St John’s College, as well as the Mathematical Bridge.

3 – Number 3 Thing to do in Cambridge: the Fitzwilliam Museum, the art and history gem of Cambridge

Fitzwilliam Museum is not only free to visit (yes, it is totally free), but it is also a perfect little museum where you have seen everything within an hour, but still feel enriched with beauty and history. The museum has a nice cafe and a good souvenir shop to buy little Cambridge gifts.

4 – Number 4 Thing to do in Cambridge: the Orchard – Tea House amongst Apple trees

The Orchard is a special English tea house. As the name suggests, the tea house tables and sun chairs are among the apple trees, plus there is a glass house in case you should come to Cambridge on a rainy day. We warmly recommend the fresh scones with teas. Meditative and relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy life, lean back, have a good chat. A favourite hangout of Cambridge students, locals, and tourists alike.

5 – Number 5 Thing to do in Cambridge: the University Botanical Garden, plants, trees, nature

Natural beauty is abundant in the University Botanical Gardens, which is ideal for romantic couples, or families with children. Best in the summer time.

6 – Number 6 Thing to do in Cambridge: Science and Tech Museums

There are various science and technology museums all over the city of Cambridge, so we will not pick one for you, but will present the major options: the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Museum of Zoology, the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, the Museum of Classical Archaeology

7 – Number 7 Thing to do in Cambridge – Scott Polar Research Institute

Humans are tough beings, with strong inner drives to explore the unknown. The The Polar Museum tells the stories of the polar explorers, who ventured into the North Pole and the South Pole. Diaries, grim photos, fateful trips to the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

8 – Number 8 Thing to do in Cambridge – The Round Church Visitor Centre
The Round Church is not functioning as a church any more, but is open to visitors who delight in the painted glass windows, and of course the Round Church built in 1130 by the Normans (arriving from France in 1066). While most churches you can see in Europe are cross shaped, this is one of the handful of medieval churches which has a round shape (influenced by the round church of Jeruselem). The church is today a visitor centre and the hub of the Christian Heritage.

9 – Number 9 Thing to do in Cambridge – Great St Mary’s Church, the Catholic Church of Cambridge
Climbing to the top of the Catholic Church is one of the highest point you can get in Cambridge to see the city from a bit higher above. Besides the exceptional views, you can learn about the history of the old Catholic church, where once even Erasmus preached.

10 – Number 10 Thing to do in Cambridge – Art in Cambridge

Kettle’s Yard is one of the finest art galleries in the United Kingdom featuring modern and contemporary arts of work, and very nice concerts too! Cambridge Arts Centre and the Cambridge Arts Picture House should also be on your artsy things to do in Cambridge. The former is a small theatre with very nice performances, while the latter is a retro style movie theatre / cinema.

Do explore the sights and attractions outside the city of Cambridge as there are many excellent things to do in Cambridgeshire, just a few minutes or hours ride from the city.

Imperial War Museum Duxford

The largest aviation museum in the United Kingdom, with huge hangars, lots and lots of planes, and occasional plane shows, which are very spectacular. You will see over 200 military vehicles and aircraft in Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

Ely Cathedral
Wonderful cathedral in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill: the Jacobean style house has a working water mill, beautiful gardens and lots of programmes for families. Inside: fine furnishings, books, paintings, silver and rare clocks give a feeling of opulence. Outside: 46 hectares (114 acres) offer vibrant colour, delicious scents and the simple pleasures of nature.

Wimpole Hall country house in Cambridgeshire with an enormous park and farmland

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Things To Do in Cambridge

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  • February 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Great top 10! I grew up in the city of Cambridge and couldn’t have done this list better than you! My favourite is an afternoon punting, or even watching the punts from Grantchester.

  • August 31, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Cambridge is an amazing place to visit and live too! There are many, many hidden gems that tourists never see. For example, something different people can try, is practice their public speaking skills for fun at Cambridge City Communicators. We get lots of other Toastmasters from all over the world joining us.

    Fireworks night in November is a gem too. Its free and very spectacular. A great family night out.

    Speak to locals they will share their secrets!

  • March 17, 2014 at 10:26 am

    A little further afield but one of our favourite places is Ely. Enjoy two self guided heritage walks with an optional treasure hunt around this fantastic hidden gem of a city. Buy or download and enjoy in your own pace and time from

  • May 31, 2014 at 7:06 am

    The best compiled list ever. Short, informative, and not biased or prejudiced

  • August 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Good list but although you can climb the tower of Great St Mary’s church for an excellent view – it is an Anglican church (not Catholic) .
    My own favourite is a walk into Cambridge along the riverside from Grantchester ending up with a lunchtime pint at the Mill. You can stand there watching the punts or even hire one from there. Walking back, you can then have afternoon tea at the Orchard in Grantchester.

  • March 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Great list of my favourite things in Cambridge, what a beautiful city. Are you sure Punting shouldn’t be number 1?


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