Mention the city of Cambridge and you might think of the stereotype of extremely clever (and posh) students prancing around in their quilted body warmers and pashminas which they probably paid extortionate prices for. However, this image couldn’t be further from the truth, as this popular university town offers a variety of activities for all ages and budgets to do - whether it’s punting down the River Cam, browsing their high-end and high street shops or watching a show at the Corn Exchange.
Cambridge is renowned for the University of Cambridge, which includes Cavendish Laboratory, King’s College Chapel and Cambridge University Library. The university was founded in 1209 and is constantly ranked as one of the top five universities in the world. King’s College will allow visitors to wander around the grounds and is even free to people who live within a 12 mile radius, giving visitors the opportunity to be nosey and discover what it would be like to be exceptionally clever for at least one day. Other colleges don't follow the same policy, so give them a ring to find out their prices.
After checking out the universities, it is probably time to get a bit of lunch. There are many cafés and restaurants to choose from when feeling a little peckish. Why not try Jamie’s Italian which is owned by the famous chef Jamie Oliver, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy; there are a variety of restaurants that serve American, Chinese, French, Indian and Mediterranean food. If all else fails, head down to the closest pub and get a pie and a pint.
Once those bellies are full head down to the punting station and have a tour down the Cambridge backs and take in some sites of Cambridge’s colleges such as King's, Trinity, St John’s and Queens. Visitors can even take their own refreshments, so to celebrate a birthday or anniversary how does sipping your favourite wine and eating strawberries while looking at the views of Cambridge sound? It could even be an idea for a first date (hint, hint).
Punting can be expensive so, for an activity what will keep the kids entertained as well as keeping to a budget, why not head down the road to the Rectory Farm Shop in Milton and have a day of strawberry picking. They even have a pets paddock and a small farm trial, which will ensure that the kids will have fun for hours. The Old Dairy Café serves a range of foods and drinks so you can stay for the day.
Cambridge Corn Exchange is also one for visitors to check out. This multi-purpose venue has hosted some of the biggest acts such as The Who, Oasis and David Bowie to play for their fans over the past 25 years and this year is no exception. They continue to shower their audiences with music, comedy and entertainment, and Adam Ant, The Nutcracker and The Russian State Ballet are all confirmed to play there in 2012.
After watching a show, try out the Cambridge night life. Although it can be a bit on the pricey side, heading to the right places and having a good night out on a budget is possible. For a few cheap drinks before heading to a club, pop to The Reagle or Ballare or even the Slug and Lettuce for a few cocktails. As soon as you leave these bars you will notice that the price of drinks will become more expensive, but for a night of dancing head to Lola Lo’s, Vodka Revs or The Fez.
But if you're looking to entertain the whole family for a day, head a bit further afield to Grafham Water Park, which is popular with families due to its range of activities that will interest all age groups. Exercise fiends can benefit from the ten mile cycling route or take part in the sailing and other water sport activities, or if relaxation is key then visitors can take full advantage of the fishing facilities, and kids will be able to have fun in the parks whilst eating lots of ice cream. To keep the youngsters entertained for a bit longer why not take them down to the nature reserves to spot various types of wildlife.
Hamerton Zoo Park offers a variety of activities that will ensure to keep the kids amused for a few hours and they will especially like this popular zoo if they enjoyed spotting the wildlife at Grafham Water Park. At the zoo visitors can enjoy looking at different animals from big cats to reptiles, and visitors can also go on a stroll-a-safari giving kids the opportunity to get close and feed some of the smaller animals. There are also play parks, coffee shops, gift shops and areas to have a picnic in the gardens.
Whilst you're in the area, check out the well-known festival the Secret Garden Party. It's held just down the road from Cambridge in the village of Abbots Ripton in July, and this year the festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The festival is open to all ages as the kids' area will keep them entertained with egg hunts, discos, kite flying, circus shows and much more. For the adults there will be a variety of artists performing throughout the weekend as well as parades, art tents, big wheel rides, boat rides and open mic stages. Secret Garden Party also offers cocktail bars, ale tents, restaurants, massages and barefoot discos. Visitors are also given the option to camp on-site!
So, that should keep everyone busy in Cambridgeshire for a few days whether your budget is big or small and even if you have a family to entertain.