This post has been updated on January 28th, 2021
After our visit to Oxford, we were a bit curious about Cambridge. Both cities are famous worldwide for their University Campus and some of the most prestigious colleges in the world. We have experienced a little trip to Cambridge in one day.
Here you will find a complete itinerary of one day in Cambridge, walking through the narrow streets of the ancient town close to London.
Yes, Cambridge is very close to London. You can reach the University Town of Cambridge within one hour by train. This guide will help you to plan the best day trip from London.
From climbing the St. Mary’s Church to stroll around the independent cafes and restaurants of Regent Street, stop by market square and keep an eye on the local products. Cambridge is really beautiful and seems still back in time. You can go punting on the river and have a look at the famous bridges of the town.
CAMBRIDGE ONE DAY ITINERARY
Cambridge is worth visiting on a one day trip from London. The little town is cute and tiny to be walked around from sightseeing to another. There are some tours taking place around the city worth to be booked.
A LITTLE BIT OF THE HISTORY OF CAMBRIDGE
Cambridge is rich in history and prestige. The city is synonyms of elegance and knowledge worldwide. Talking about Cambridge is taking back in mind straight away the importance of the University and the colleges. A Tradition that is going back on over 800 years ago.
Cambridge is in the eternal conflict with the other prestigious university city that is Oxford. Not everybody knows that Cambridge has been built as a university town after Oxford. In Cambridge, the tuition was instituted just in 1209, a few years after Oxford, that it was since 1167.
Today Cambridge is popular among travellers, willing to discover the University gardens and the city itself. It is really famous for a single day trip to relax, in some of the famous parks along the river.
WHAT TO VISIT IN ONE DAY IN CAMBRIDGE
TiTHINGS TO DO IN CAMBRIDGE
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TOUR OF THE UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGES OF CAMBRIDGE
A day trip to Cambridge is nothing without a proper tour of the university colleges. There are many and below you will have the list of places to add to your list of things to do in Cambridge in one day.
To be honest we didn’t know which College we wanted to explore before heading to Cambridge. Once there, we decided to stroll around St John’s first. The entrance to this is on a fee, but this is one of the most beautiful colleges in Cambridge.
The architecture of the complex is really stunning and rich in details. The students and people who work there are proud to be part of this University that is carrying an ancient history on the back and a lot of prestigious awards.
What makes this college one of our favourites is also the presence of one five sight bridges in the world. You will admire one of the best together with Venice and Oxford.
Don’t miss the tour of the university in Cambridge
There are many tours of the University of Cambridge with special guides, their students. It will be an awesome experience, getting to know more about the traditions of this ancient university.
But let’s see in details the Cambridge’s Colleges:
Trinity College – Access costs 2£ – It is one of the smallest colleges in Cambridge. Despite that, it is full of things to visit, as the Library. Beard in mind that the entrance is really strict, just two hours a day between 12.00 and 14.00 from Monday to Friday. When you get access inside, you will need to follow absolute silence.
The King’s College – Entrance £8 – Not all the University is open to visitors. The access is guaranteed just for the gardens and the King’s College Chapel, that is worth the ticket itself.
Saint John’s College – Fee £7.50 – As we said before this is our favourite spot in Cambridge. The reasons are many, the gardens, beautiful architecture and Cambridge’s Sight Bridge. It is maybe the river passing right in the middle that makes this college more gorgeous for us.
Emmanuel College Meadow – Free – The entrance to the patio and the garden with a green meadow courtyard is free of charge. This is the common entrance for visitors, easy to access to be admired by travellers.
PUNTING ON THE RIVER CAM OF CAMBRIDGE
Did you know that you can go punting on the River Cam? It is one of our favourite experiences to do in Cambridge. Even if you are planning a one day trip to Cambridge from London, you should consider the idea to get on a boat around the canals of the city.
The river Cam is flowing through the canals through the university. You will see a different part of Cambridge, some of the secret gardens and spots of the town.
On your boat tour in Cambridge, you’ll see the Mathematical Bridge, Trinity College, Wren Library, Bridge of Sighs and St. John’s College, with their internal gardens and green meadows.
If you are lucky you will spot the local university students practising for the eternal challenge against Oxford late in April.
STROLL AROUND REGENT STREET
Regent Street in Cambridge is probably the heart of the city. This is a wide road filled with shops, restaurants and little cute cafes. You will spot many students, more than tourists, studying or chatting into one of the shops.
This is the right place to stop on your tour of Cambridge, taking a coffee and a cake.
VISIT MARKET SQUARE
Market Square is an institution for locals. Don’t leave Cambridge without visiting the stalls in the central Market Square. The little stands sell every kind of goods. You will find fruit, flowers and even souvenirs from Cambridge.
We went to Market Square at lunchtime. This was our favourite spot for some local cheese, and even we did some groceries shopping to get back home.
What attracted us here wasn’t just because we were hungry, but also the stunning architecture of the surrounding and the square itself. The market is attended daily.
VISIT THE STUNNING CHURCHES OF CAMBRIDGE
If you don’t have enough of culture and architecture, our itinerary of Cambridge will take you discovering some stunning churches in town. Different styles and Epoque for gorgeous facades, magnificent vaults and unique spaces.
The Great Saint Mary’s Church is the one we highly suggest you, because of the stunning view from the top of the tower, this place is the ideal to have a better understanding of the surrounding of Cambridge.
To get on top of the tower of St. Mary’s Church ticket will cost you 4£. Other than this it is worth visiting Round Church or called the Holy Sepulchre, the entrance is costing 8£.
Already mentioned before and amazing in its unique gothic architecture is the King’s College Chapel. If you have spare time and are still willing to attend another church, you can go to visit the Gonville & Caius College Chapel.
VISIT KING’S COLLEGE CHAPEL
Talking about the best-sacred buildings in Cambridge, bearing the College tradition, there is the King’s College Chapel. This unique piece of English Gothic Architecture is today the symbol of Cambridge.
The Chapel plays a central role in the College life and is sacred for the alumni as well (Check the illustrious alumni list of this college). The funerals of the well known Prof Stephen Hawking were celebrated in this Chapel.
The Chapel is also used on a regular basis for concerts and lectures. Check the website before your arrival, and spot it in the Virtual tour online.
CLIMB GREAT ST MARY’S CHURCH TOWER
This is something we have mentioned already, suggesting you to visit the St. Mary’s Church. This little corner of Cambridge sits right in front of another amazing chapel, the King’s College, so you can do it in a combo visit. Great Saint Mary’s Church is beautiful and it is enriched by the stunning tower looking at Cambridge.
WALKTHROUGH THE UNIVERSITY PARKS OF CAMBRIDGE
Below is the list of open parks in Cambridge. Visit Cambridge on Sunday and enjoy the sunshine in a park close to culture and stunning building. The Backs is one of the closest to the city centre and the ideal for a day out with kids for families.
ENJOY THE BRIDGES ARCHITECTURE
One of the peculiarities of Cambridge over the amazing University is the bridges. There are many bridges crossing the river cam. One of the most beautiful ones is the Bridge of Sighs and the mathematical bridge.
If you go on a punting tour you will discover the many bridges around the city.
Right before the Bridge of Sighs, there is another stunning one, the Kitchen Bridge of St. John’s College. Magdalene Bridge is worth visiting more for the riverside. This part of Cambridge will see many locals and tourists walking through the small side of the river.
The King’s College Bridge connects the park’s area, to the university campus itself. If you are willing a pic-nic, it is worth checking out for “The Bucks Parks”, good even for kids.
A few minutes away, still punting in Cambridge there is the Mathematical Bridge, which connects the Queen’s College Area to the Library and the rest of the city.
A CAMBRIDGE ONE DAY ITINERARY FOR EVERYONE
QUICK BREAK AT MILL ROAD
Close to the train station in Cambridge, there is Mill Road, full of food shops, little cafes and pubs. This is the ideal place for a quick break more than lunch, a pint before catching your train back to London. This is the street where you can finalize your shopping, finding some great and tasty local products.
Check out on Mill Road for your next visit to Cambridge in one day. At the end of the street, almost at the station, you will find many hotels and b&b, just in case, you will end up staying in Cambridge for the night.
What to do for one day in Cambridge?
Cambridge seems small, but we will assure you that will end up walking a lot. The best thing to do in Cambridge is strolling around, get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets and discover the hidden parts of the city. Get lost in the maze and find your unique pieces of paradise into a College Town.
The main street of Cambridge can give you direction for the main attractions, but it is getting lost that you will find secret entrances to College gardens and hidden spots.
Things to Do in Cambridge
We love photos, and we will suggest you find unique spots with good lights and awesome framed landscapes. Cambridge has plenty of it, you need just to be curious and explore. Discover the beauty of Cambridge behind the old building.
The little lanes, narrow corridor and small streets going through the Riverside are perfect to enhance your photography. In the things to do in Cambridge on your day trip, note that Portugal Palace will be the perfect spot for you to try out.
HOW TO REACH CAMBRIDGE
We have personally reached Cambridge from London by bus. It was easy for us and also cheap. With only 5£ we were in about two hours in town. The bus departs from Victoria Coach Station.
The journey is beautiful, we seated on the top deck right in front to enjoy the road. If you wish to take the train, the journey is around one hour.
The coach will leave you in the city centre, instead, the train will take you a short ten minutes walking to reach the main road.
Cambridge as Day Trip from London
Cambridge was for us the ideal day trip from London. We have included this trip on our list of best day trips from London in winter because it is easy to reach and cheap as well. If you book in advance your ticket will cost you less than 10 euro.
If it is your first time outside of London you will discover how life goes a bit slower compared to the British Capital. Cambridge will catapult you into another world. Easy and relaxing this trip is the ideal for who is discovering England for the first time. Nor only that, but even those living in London need time to relax.
CAMBRIDGE TODAY – OXFORD OR CAMBRIDGE?
The longest legend that wants overtime running rivalry between Cambridge and Oxford is worldwide known. Both are popular and placed as some of the best universities in the world, on the same seat of Harward, just saying.
Today Cambridge hosts around 20K students, almost the same number as Oxford. Cambridge is a little bit smaller in comparison to Oxford, it seems that the local life is more devoted to the students than the inhabitants.
We don’t know if one is better than another, but after we have discovered both, at different times, we suggest you discover it by yourself.
Both the cities are amazing, and if we will love more the architecture and the cutest cafes and libraries of Oxford, for sure the riverside, the River itself and green courtyards of Cambridge make us think a lot about which is better.
Cambridge is an institution in the world, popular as one of the best tuition you can expect. You will learn in your one day in Cambridge how the people who have studied, taught or just lived there are related to the city.
Two of the illustrious Cambridge-related people are Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. Isaac Newton studied at the Trinity College of Cambridge, and then he was a teacher as well. Today you can find a statue of Isaac Newton in the Chapel of the Trinity College. Instead, some of the secret studies of Newton are now protected into the King’s College.
Charles Darwin is another important figure in Cambridge history and studies. Today is a model for the students, willing to be a worldwide key figure in the future.
Charles Dorwin studied at the Christ’s College, back in 1828. Here, you won’t believe it but got a bachelor in Arts. But it was here that he started his interest in biology as well. Today there is a College named after him in Cambridge, that is one with the highest numbers of graduate in the whole city.
Q&A Cambridge in one day
Can you visit Oxford and Cambridge in one day?
Visit Oxford and Cambridge in one day is possible. But we will suggest you don’t do that, you will end up wasting your time travelling. Travelling between London and Oxford or Cambridge is fine, is the connection between the two university cities that is poor. The journey from London to Cambridge will take you around 50 minutes departing from King’s Cross, with the fastest train.
What are the best places to visit near Cambridge UK?
The Cambridgeshire is an awesome part of Uk. There are some cutest villages with an old fashion retro touch that will take your heart. Some of the names you need to take a note of are: The historical town of St. Neots, here you can go punting on the riverside. St. Ives, a gorgeous little town with amazing riverside.
This place is ideal for landscape photography enthusiast. Wisbech is another town to look for. Point of interest of this cute place in the Cambridgeshire is the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, the Castle of the town, and the aviation museum. If you are not willing to visit small villages, but wants still feel a big city, there is Peterborough.
The amazing Cathedral in early English gothic style is stunning and worth to be visited. Peterborough is close to Northamptonshire, over 100 kilometres away from London, so it will be not possible to make Cambridge and this cute city in one day.