Growing up in the sticks, weekends would consist of day trips here there and everywhere (read: anywhere that had an M&S – my mum is literally obsessed with the place). I mean, when there’s nothing but a few charity shops, one clinton cards, a Tescos and a pub or two in your home town, venturing out to other places is pretty much a necessity.
However since I moved to London there’s not really been a need for day trips to other towns & cities because well, London has everything duh.
The only resulting issue with thinking like this is that you become a bit of a London bell-end. You know those people. The ones who can’t fathom life outside of the M25. The kind who’s faces look at you in abject horror when you tell them the latest you can buy an alcoholic drink on a week night is 10.45pm & taxis finish for the night at 11.05pm. The type of nobbers who think London is the be all and end all of life in the UK. People like, erm, me.
So when my boyfriend suggested a little weekend soujurn (yes I really did just type that word) to Cambridge I felt it was important for my sense of self and to stop any impending London bell-end-ness from occuring. Plus my Aussi house-mate was beginning to put me to shame with her tick-list of ‘places visited in the UK’. She’s been to more places in Britain in 4 months than I’ve been to in 27 years. I mean, that’s just embarrassing for me.
So off to Cambridge we went…
We opted to go on a Sunday and return tickets from Liverpool Street to Cambridge were something like £16 each. We got up early, grabbed some coffees and our tickets and watched the rain pelt the train window for the entire hour & ten minute journey. Yay.
We arrived in Cambridge and had been allowed a brief break in the clouds which was great as while sarcastically reminding my boyfriend not to forget his umbrella, I’d left my own on the train. Karma certainly is a bit of a seeyounexttuesday.
Outside the station it wasn’t initially obvious which the best way to walk was so I pulled out my phone and google mapped the best route to Cambridge city centre (a benefit of city-tripping in your own country is being able to use your phone to get about).
We started walking opting for the route that took us past the Botanical University Gardens…and if you read my Mauritius post you’ll know that my boyfriend & I just love a good botanical garden. The trees, the flowers, the plants, the ponds…we can’t get enough!
So we paid the £5 entry fee and started on the Lindt Bunny Easter hunt (we were in Cambridge a week before Easter) because dammit these things aren’t just for kids!
I joke but truthfully the bunny hunt gave our visit a bit of purpose, especially as it was grey, a cold and hella windy and therefore the gardens were *a bit* miserable.
So off we headed, round the gardens, ticking off each point on the bunny hunt.
^^^^ hidden bunnies. (and me looking a touch preggo – it was just my layering, promise!)
Ummm, this tree?
More hidden bunnies.
A curry plant, natch.
Yet more Lindt bunnies.
And a beautiful fountain.
It was all very captivating stuff if a bit well grey.
That was until I found A NEW UMBRELLA!
Left and abandoned by some other equally silly soul, I snapped it up and was impressed that is was a total upgrade on the one I’d left on the train. Good things really do happen to good people.
A touch worried about using my new brolly outside and the original owner spotting it (I’m such a terrible person aren’t I?) we made our way inside to the greenhouses where we could see some slightly more tropical plants. Including my favourite, the Bird of Paradise below…
Before finally swinging by the gift shop to pick up our *PRIZES* for completing the Lindt Bunny Hunt.
Pats on the back all round I think!
We then mosied on into town, dropping into The Fitzwilliam Musem that according to my boyfriend had all the best stuff in the first room (read: guns & knives) and nothing else worth seeing (read: old pots & plates).
Still it was worth a quick nosey around…and we needed the loo so there’s that.
Back out in the fresh Cambridge air we began to see some of the old beautiful buildings that Cambridge is famed for.
We took a stroll around the main town centre and I couldn’t help but snap this old guy…I mean ALL THE CUTENESS.
If he could talk he would definitely sound like Eeyore. Grumpy old guy.
We made our way through the market where there was lots of the usual cakes and cheeses on offer…
And, oh y’know…Ostrich eggs.
All this food was making us hungry. Luckily we had a reservation at The Cambridge Chop House which had pretty rave reviews on TripAdvisor.
It was still early so the restaurant was quiet. We made our way downstairs and were shown to our table in the basement.
Having earned ourselves a big lunch from all the walking we’d been doing, we started with bread, olives & oil. The bread was delicious and the olives full of flavour.
For mains we toyed between the steak for two and the roast dinner before finally checking with our server whether we could have the steak for two with the roast dinner sides.
Not just a hat-stand my friend.
That meant, alongside our huge serving of meat we had carrot / swede smash, cabbage and roast potatoes…and a bernaise sauce for me & a pepper sauce for him.
The meal was awesome and I’d highly recommend dropping by the Chophouse if you’re in Cambridge.
We picked up the bill (not cheap but not expensive if I remember?), heaved ourselves outta our seats and waddled out the door to continue our tour of Cambridge.
Feeling incredibly full and a touch sleepy (hey it’d been a busy morning) we picked up more coffee and headed down to the River to see if we could go for a punt.
Up by the colleges we’d had several ticket people (<<< who might I add are all hunky, floppy haired, well-spoken rugby types who *could* work at Abercrombie & Fitch and wear boat shoes by choice, just FYI) try and get us to go punting with them, thankfully we resisted which meant we got a MUCH better price.
Up on the main streets they were flogging boat trips for £20-£25 a person whereas we got them for £14. Definitely ask around and definitely barter! That said, it was a pretty cold and extremely windy (more on this in a bit) day so perhaps in the summer when everyone wants a punt bartering won’t be nearly as easy?
We hopped aboard our boat along with two other couples, one from Portugal the other from errm, France or somewhere.
The six of us and our punter (<<< made that word up?) headed up the river Cam and it would have been an lovely relaxing trip had the wind not made punting nigh on impossible for the poor guy driving our boat.
As he tried to give us some history and information about Cambridge and the colleges (which was surprisingly interesting, summary: Cambridge uni has SO MUCH MONEY.) the wind pushed us back the way we’d just come. He heaved and hoed and spent about 20minutes trying to get us under just one bridge. It actually became a bit awkward as he struggled against mother nature and I felt really bad for the guy…he told us he’d been punting for 2 years and NEVER had weather like this.
Typical. The day we go to Cambridge and go punting is the windiest day in years. Of course it fucking is.
Eventually we made it to the end of the tour, turned on our heels to come back up the river at which point the wind did a total U-Turn too. I mean you couldn’t make this up. Once again we were battling to get anywhere. It was literally like something for a comedy sketch.
Then came the rain.
Biblical rain that hammered down on the river. The wind blew more furiously. Children screamed. Umbrellas were torn apart. The boats rocked. The driver nearly went man-over-board. It was all very dramatic.
Of course my boyfriend thought it was brilliant, like some kind of Extreme Punting. It all added to the experience apparently. Although not the bit where I whacked him in the head with my new umbrella.
We finally exited the boat and took refuge in a pub. Calming our frazzled emotions with beer & wine.
Once the rain had stopped we decided to call it a day albeit not before stopping by Hardys to pick up something sweet & sugary.
Loaded up with strawberry bonbons & lemon sherbets we walked back to the station and headed back to London…
…the day proving to be all a bit too much for a certain someone…
All in all it was a lovely day out and has definitely made me more keen to visit places in the UK that I’ve not been to before. Next on my hit list is Oxford (duh) followed by the Lake District, the Cotswolds and then who know…
I mean, who knew, life outside of London existed!
Thanks for reading,