I’m a big fan of traditions and I love how they come about. One of ours is to go away for a weekend around our anniversary in November. It started with Bath, then Edinburgh last year and while this year we’d wanted to go to Copenhagen, finances limited us so decided on a weekend away in Cambridge. Cambridge has been on my list of places to visit for yonks; I’ve always thought it looked like a classic English town (or city?) and sometimes you can’t beat that traditional feel.
The tradition also linked closely to the Christmas market season but, to be honest, after a while once you’ve visited a couple they all start to look a bit the same – unless you go abroad, perhaps? So for us it was more about getting away and spending time together.
Cambridge didn’t disappoint; while the weather was pretty chilly (who am I kidding, it was freezing!), it was dry and sunny and the perfect conditions for being out and about – I love cold winter days where the sun shines brightly.
We arrived on Saturday lunchtime and departed Monday lunchtime, so a good couple of days for us. The first thing we did was walk into town – less than a 15 minute walk from our hotel. On the subject of hotels, Cambridge seems really expensive! There was actually a moment when I thought maybe we’d have to go somewhere else because most hotels were charging over £200 a night! Eventually we found a bargain at £158 for two nights at the Premier Inn on Newmarket Road. Premier Inn’s, to my mind, get bad press, but for us it was perfect; the room was clean, spacious, we slept well, the shower worked, the room was warm and there was parking… I’m not sure what else there was from a room where we knew we wouldn’t spend a heap of time in. We’re not the luxurious hotel type, there was just no need.
One person I knew I had to visit was Claire; we’ve become friends in the last couple of years and after finally meeting her at Blogtacular in the summer I was really excited to see her again and meet her boyfriend. I could have spent all day with Claire, and the boyfriends got on well too!
On Sunday morning, after Claire’s recommendation, we walked along the River Cam into the centre of town; the weather was fantastic and thankfully the wind had died down a bit. Lots of cyclists, rowers and people walking – just as I’d expected. Here are a few pictures from our stroll –
A bit of sign writing on the boats, just for my Dad.
Once we arrived in town it was well and truly lunchtime – I’ll share more about where we ate towards the end of the post; we aimed for independent places as much as we could and boy oh boy does Cambridge have a great selection of places to eat!
We couldn’t visit Cambridge without seeing a college, so to visit St. John’s College and have a walk around. I’d also wanted to see Trinity college but it was closed on the day. St. John’s College includes a view of the Bridge of Sighs, so was understandably quite popular! We had a good walk around, though I wanted to see more. If we were to visit again I’d probably try and see a couple of colleges, to really get a feel for it.
As I promised earlier, here is a list of where we ate while we spent the weekend in Cambridge:
- Giraffe. OK, the one ‘chain’ restaurant but one of the best if you ask me. The food never disappoints and I love the variety of their menu. If you haven’t been before, I recommend their squid starter and ribs for main. Oh and they have some great fruit smoothies.
- Smokeworks. No description does it better than their website “smoked, pulled, brined and seasoned classic BBQ food and paired it with beer, bourbon & milkshakes”. I opted for the smoked & pulled beef brisket with sweet potato fries and a chocolate milkshake with a shot of Baileys – delicious! I’m hungry thinking about it. The staff were friendly and happy to recommend items from the menu, plus in terms of casual dining this place has it nailed. I’d recommend booking a table, this place is popular!
- Nanna Mexico. Love a bit of Mexico food and this is a great lunchtime spot. It’s probably more expensive than your average lunchtime sandwich, but for a treat or a weekend away it’s perfect. We both had burritos and I’m told their breakfast burrito is something special – next time! They have seating upstairs too so good for a pitstop.
- The Pint Shop. This place had a great menu and wine selection – plus their dessert menu had some great choices; we wouldn’t normally but this time really struggled to decide what to have!
- Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop. Another recommendation, this is a short drive out of town but given we were driving it took maybe 10 minutes to get there and was on our way home. We had to wait for a seat, that’s how popular this place clearly is. Lunch didn’t disappoint and we both had cream teas – the scones were hearty and fresh. Plus they have an excellent farm shop; if only it was local to me!
OK, now I’m really hungry.
Cambridge has a heck of a lot to offer, I could’ve easily spent more time there and we’ve already talked about going back in the summer. We would definitely go punting when we do; we thought about it, but ultimately it was too cold and when a few tourists went past and looked cold to the core we knew we’d made the right decision! I’d also like to visit The Sheep Shop; right by our hotel I was excited about this wool shop – but it’s closed on Sunday and Monday. Boo.
So the question is… where do we go next year? We were thinking maybe York, but it might be a bit far. Recommendations very welcome!
Thanks for reading, have a good day!