If you're thinking about travelling to the UK to study in London (or perhaps you're already here and looking to expand your horizons), then you're spoiled for choice with things to do in the big city. The beauty of living in London is that everything is within your reach. For SCL International College students, your classrooms are actually in the same building as your accommodation, so you don't even need to spend time travelling around the city. But when you do, you'll find plenty of places are an easy tube ride away. Yet every now and then, you might be tempted to venture further. That's where day trips come in!
If you've got an extra day to spare, then why not stretch your wings and explore beyond the capital city to get a sense of what life is like elsewhere in England. And as a student, what could be more fitting than the UK's most famous student city? Cambridge has our vote! (Were you thinking of Oxford? The two cities are friendly rivals and home to the most prestigious institutions in the world, but today's post is dedicated to Cambridge - allow us a moment of bias!).
We sat down with our Student Services team to find out their top recommendations for a day trip in the city, and guess what else? If you're an international student on our two-week Discover London Programme, we even bring you on an escorted day trip to Cambridge! You'll see some of the places we've mentioned below, and we bet you'll be tempted to extend your stay and explore more.
If you're eager to get out and about, then be sure to see our previous blog posts:
You can travel to Cambridge from London St Pancras International, Kings Cross, or Liverpool Street stations. The journey duration may vary, and you should plan your journey in advance, but you can expect to arrive in this charming town steeped in history within approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
Important note: from June 26, 2023 until summer 2024, Kentish Town tube station will be closed due to the replacement of escalators and the improvement of station facilities. For our Kentish Town students, the closest underground stations will be Chalk Farm (a 15-minute walk from our campus) or Camden Road (a 17-minute walk from our campus). Both of these stations belong to the Northern Line and provide convenient connections to central London, ensuring excellent accessibility.
Whether you're punting along the River Cam or immersing yourself in the grandeur of King's College, Cambridge offers something for everyone. In the section below, we have handpicked the most compelling locations for you to explore in this historically rich town. To ensure you make the most of your journey, don't forget to have our curated SCL Student Explorer Google Map at hand. It allows you to conveniently save all the places you wish to visit, enabling you to optimise your time in Cambridge. And we would love to see your unforgettable experiences, so please share your images on our SCL Instagram!
The Mathematical Bridge is constructed using straight timbers while retaining its elegant arch shape. This bridge was designed by William Etheridge and built in 1749 by James Essex. To access this architectural gem, head towards the visitor's entrance located on Queen's Lane. Please note that a nominal fee of £3.50 is required for admission.
Local legend: The local legend (which adds a touch of excitement to the narrative), claims that the bridge was constructed by Sir Isaac Newton. As the tale goes, this masterpiece was apparently constructed without the need for bolts, nails, or screws. (The real story is different, but we enjoyed the fantasy!)
When you are in Cambridge, we highly recommend paying a visit to King's College as it is open to the public. Once inside, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the world's largest fan-vaulted ceiling and marvel at the mesmerising artwork of "The Adoration of the Magi" by Rubens.
Eager to catch a glimpse of the magnificent interiors of King's College? Take their virtual tour, allowing you to embark on a quick sneak peek and get a taste of the wonders that lie within.
Trinity College is notably the wealthiest and most prominent among all the Colleges in Cambridge, so you can't skip this one! The admission fee for adults is only £3, granting access to the Great Court and the Chapel.
The Botanic Gardens in Cambridge boast an impressive collection of over 8,000 plant species sourced from various corners of the globe. Here, you can indulge in guided tours, visit the garden café where you can savour refreshments or explore the charming garden shop offering a wide range of botanical gifts.
Watch a short film with Sally Petitt (the Head of Horticulture) who takes you on a quick tour of the gardens, offering fascinating insights into the incredible wonders that lie within.
It's picnic time! Whether you're feeling a bit peckish or you're ready to have your lunch, be sure to explore the section below, filled with suggestions and ideas to enhance your picnic experience.
Located just a short stroll from King's College, Jesus Green offers a spacious and picturesque setting for a relaxing picnic. With its expansive lawns, beautiful trees, and the calming River Cam flowing nearby, it's an ideal spot to enjoy a leisurely outdoor meal. (You can find it on our SCL Student Explorer Google map here.)
If you're searching for attractive picnic places within a 5-minute walk from King's College, Cambridge, there's another charming option to consider: Millpond. This spot also offers a serene and idyllic setting for a memorable picnic experience. (You can find it on our SCL Student Explorer Google map here.)
Punting in Cambridge is a quintessential activity that offers a unique way to explore the city's picturesque waterways. It involves navigating a flat-bottomed boat, known as a punt, along the River Cam. Punting is not the same as rowing; instead, it involves using a long pole to push against the riverbed, propelling the boat forward.
Punting has a rich history in Cambridge, dating back to the early 20th Century. Originally used as a means of transportation, it has now become a popular leisure activity for both locals and visitors.
Tip: If you join our Discover London Programme, we will take you punting during your trip to Cambridge, which will last approximately 45 minutes. You are welcome to bring your own food aboard, but please remember to clean up after yourself. Punting on your own is only allowed on private tours. Ensure that you wear appropriate clothing, and in the event of rain, you will have access to umbrellas or raincoats. Enjoy!
When it comes to shopping in Cambridge, you'll find three main shopping centres: The Grafton, Lion Yard, and Grand Arcade. These centres offer a wide array of options, from popular high street brands to the finest boutiques. No matter your budget, there's something to suit everyone's taste. Whether you're seeking unique and stylish finds or the latest trends from well-known brands, Cambridge has it all.
We hope that our quick and comprehensive Cambridge travel guide proves to be a valuable resource for anyone eager to visit this charming town. If you're seeking to enhance your English skills in London while also venturing out to explore the surrounding cities, our Discover London Programme might be just what you're looking for. Feel free to reach out to us for further details and inquiries.
Keep an eye out for the next article in our series of London Day Trips - who knows where we'll take you next!
And of course, don't forget to follow us on Instagram and tag SCL International College in your own photos from London and beyond!
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