I had decided I wanted to go on one more daytrip before my half term ends, so my friends and I decided that a trip to Cambridge would be the perfect way to fulfill this. I didn’t do too much research before embarking on this trip, all I knew was the Cambridge would be a university city where all the main attractions would be in walking distance. We took the train from Liverpool Street Station at 9:28 and arrived in Cambridge just before 11am. I was a bit surprised by how much of a tourist city Cambridge is. Upon leaving the station, we were already surrounded by people asking if we wanted to join punting tours (which is their main activity to do). We stopped by a visitors stand and kindly had them point us in the direction towards town. There is the option of taking a bus to the city center which would be 2.50 GBP or the other option is to walk around 25 minutes. We decided to walk to save money and also because it is always a great way to explore other parts of the area. The amount of cyclists and advertisements of local events really gave me an impression of a young population in Cambridge which is a lovely contrast to the old architecture that can also be found. Being an Asian Canadian I was also quite surprised to see the number of Chinese restaurants (that look authentic too!) in this area. Our first stop ironically was to Chatime. Chatime is one of my favourite bubble tea chains and I got my usual roasted milk tea with pearls that I highly recommend!
We made it to the city center quite quickly and decided to walk a bit aimlessly around the central area and to walk around the universities. There were farmers and arts markets going on which was a lovely way to support local artists and buy fresh produce and flowers! All the universities require an entrance fee from around 6 to 9 GBP which is a regular adult price. At this time of the year there were also a lot of parents exploring Cambridge with their son/daughter, potentially considering Cambridge University as a choice of schools to apply to. King’s College is one of the most popular if not most popular college there to see. There is also Queen Mary’s and Trinity which can all be explored easily a few steps away from King’s College. We had also booked a punting tour online in advance with Scudamore’s Punting since the online price was 12 GBP (cheaper than other companies) per person which allowed us to save some money. Slowly, we made our way to the river backs to find the starting point of our tour. The river backs is my favourite part of Cambridge offering a lot of green space and tall trees with walking grounds for students and visitors. I can’t imagine how beautiful it would be to take study breaks and simply just stroll around the river backs on a clear sunny day! There are also several bridges connecting both sides of the river and all the bridges are designed differently which makes each of them special.
We finally made it to the Scudamore Punting start point and we were slotted into the 2:15pm tour. Our tour guide was a lovely young man named Sean who was friendly, helpful, and had good stories and knowledge about what we saw during the entirety of the punting tour. It was a good experience to hear about the universities. Fun fact…one of the universities didn’t start accepting women until 1989! I was quite shocked since that was not too long ago. Aside from a punting tour you also have the option of a self-hire punting ride which I don’t know too much about, but it definitely looks fun! I would love to give it a try next time even though the punting boats do look a bit hard to maneuver. The tour went by quite quickly although it was about an hour long, but the storytelling by Sean made time go by quickly.
After the tour, we opted for All You Can Eat hotpot at this place called Chinese Canteen. It was the typical Chinese restaurant where the waiters speak limited English and provide mediocre service, but the selection of food for hotpot was delicious. The way hotpot here was set up was also really cool! We were given our own individual pot and had the opportunity to choose our own soup base. The selection of meat and vegetables were also placed on big plates inside an open fridge. I have to admit, when I first saw this set up, I was a little concerned about how fresh the food and ingredients would be, but the food quality did not disappoint! I know it is a bit funny to try Chinese food in Cambridge, but if you want to give hotpot a try or simply want a big all you can eat meal, do make your way to Chinese Canteen! With our bellies full, we made our way back to the train station for our train at 7:04pm back to London. After a long day of walking and exploring, I can definitely say a daytrip to Cambridge is a lovely way to escape the bustling city of London.