Cambridge, England – General Info
Despite what our cousins on the other side of the Atlantic might believe, especially one William Gates, buying up everything in bulk or giving tiny backwater towns names identical to that of bustling metropolises (and I wish I had a pound for every person I have spoken to for work this week who said, despite my strong London accent, “now, is that Cambridge, UK?”) Cambridge is definitely in the East of England, and is no way connected with Cambridge, MA – well, at least not until Bill Gates has bought a few more acres.
Don’t ask, it’s always miserable – except for a few days in July when it’s scorching hot and the English all rush to the nearest park, get bombed out of their minds on special brew and work on their tans. It’s not a pretty sight. For today’s dismal weather:
It’s not cheap but there is more B&B (bed and breakfast places) in Cambridge than you can shake a stick at. The quality varies from poor to excellent and the price ranges from stupidly expensive to “oh my God, I am going to have to send my entire family out to sell their bodies if I am going to stay here!”. As the LP recently said ‘most people will soon realize that Fawlty Towers was in fact a documentary’. The main ‘budget’ hotels can be found along Cherry Hinton road, where a double room with a good breakfast will set you back around 50 quid a night.
Travel – Trains
We have had a lot of trouble with our trains recently. But when they are running, the times and details can be found at:
Travel – Buses
The buses are slightly more reliable than the trains. A timetable and further details can be found at:
There are many good coach services which link Cambridge with London’s airports:
When it comes to eating and drinking, Cambridge caters to all tastes and now that the national dish is Chicken Tikka Masala, visitors shouldn’t worry about starving to death whilst in the UK.
The city has nearly 400 places where food is served, and about 100 pubs – some of which aren’t actually full of pretentious students.
There are many specialist restaurants, such as the Palm Tree Caribbean Restaurant in Norfolk Street, and the Chato Singapore restaurant in Lensfield Road and lots of excellent fast food, noodle shops, and pub grub. The city’s hotel restaurants are plentiful too, as are cafes, and fast-food outlets like fish and chip shops, and takeaways for pizzas, curries, Chinese food, and burgers.
Old Hall, Queens’ College
As well as its wide range of pubs, Cambridge has a growing number of bars, most of which also offer food. A good review which is regularly updated can be found at:
As you would expect in such a studenty place, on every corner there is a bookshop and you can guarantee it to be thick with unwashed students who have never seen the inside of a lecture hall, all trying to get their sweaty hands on the latest Harry Potter. The Grafton Center has a reasonable book store which seems to have cheap prices.
Banks (with 24 hour cash machines)
Barclays, 15 Benet Street (B3), Tel: 545500;
HSBC, 32 Market Hill (B3), Tel: 546800;
Lloyds TSB, 6 St Andrew’s Street (C3) and 3 Sidney Street (B3), Tel: 0845 3030105;
NatWest, 56 St Andrew’s Street (C3), Tel: 316655;
Royal Bank of Scotland, 82 Hills Road (D5) and 28 Trinity Street (B3), Tel: 464424.
Cambridge Tourist Information Centre
Wheeler Street (B3). Tel: 322640.
For information on Cambridge and the surrounding areas, and local events. A wide range of guide books, maps, postcards, souvenirs and leaflets are available. The Centre can arrange accommodation in Cambridge and elsewhere in the UK. It is also the information and ticket booking centre for the Guided Walking Tours of Cambridge.
Open Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturdays 10am-5pm. From November to March; Monday to Friday 10am-5.30pm; Saturdays 10am-5pm. Also open on Sundays and Bank Holidays 11am-4pm from Easter to September.
Although the nightlife in Cambridge doesn’t seem to go much further than the local pub there are a couple of half decent places for live music and shows. Check out:
The author has just moved to Cambridge after stints in Brazil and Japan. He has been writing for BootnsAll since time began. He is a regular contributor to several travel magazines and spends as much time possible as traveling – if you lived in Cambridge you would too.
He has traveled as far as the Amazonian rainforest, Tibet and Africa but still hasn’t come across a nation as anally retentive and strange as the English. He was born and raised on London’s mean streets during the Thatcher years but has never had two pennies to rub together. When not provoking theology students into drinking sessions in a Cambridge pub he can be found dodging pheasants in his car whilst listening to jazz and wondering what on earth possessed him to rent a house in a the world’s smallest village.