Cambridge Travel Guide for Backpackers5 min read
Whether you’re on a budget or not, if you are thinking of travelling through Cambridge, England anytime soon, you might want to read this Cambridge travel guide before you go.
I’m living in Cambridge, UK as I type this and I’ve been here for over a year now; I leave in one in half months for my first ever solo travel. This is why I thought I’d make this my first post.
What better place to start then the very beautiful city you currently live in?!
This guide is more intended for the backpacker than the holiday goer but Cambridge isn’t cheap, if you know where to look and go though, you can have a great time visiting the museums, botanical gardens, Universities and Colleges and much more!
How to get to Cambridge
Getting to Cambridge all depends on where you are coming from, and your budget.
If you are flying, Stansted Airport is the closest airport to Cambridge. There is a direct train which is very easy to find that departs for Cambridge regularly. Trains take between 30 – 40 minutes and the price ranges from £9.50 to £12.50 depending on the time of day you go. There is also a bus option which I will explain in the next section.
Bus and Coach
There are buses that run to Cambridge from Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Stansted Airport. You need to decide what is the best form of transport for you, but using buses will be your cheapest option.
All of the buses arrive and depart at the coach stop on Drummer Street and Emmanuel Street which are right next to each other and are in the very centre of the city. To check all prices and times the best place to go is the National Express website, which you can find here.
Cambridge has a very good train service and is easy to find. With a lot of connections to London, Stansted Airport and East Anglia, using trains is easily the quickest option if you are in a hurry There are three main Rail Lines;
Cross Country – This is a direct link between Stansted Airport and Birmingham, this is the quickest line for anyone travelling from Birmingham or Stansted or anywhere in between.
National Express East Anglia – This train runs to London Liverpool Street. They also have trains running in the Ely / Norwich direction.
First Capital Express – Trains to London Kings Cross (Can also be spelt London Kings X), also trains to Ely and Kings Lynn. To be honest, I’ve never paid much attention to the railway line I was using and I’ve used trains a lot in Cambridge! I tend to use the National Rail website to check live times and prices before I leave.
If you need to use a bus to get around Cambridge then Stage Coach is your best option. You can get a day pass for £3.30 which is valid all day and can be used as many times as you need on all Cambridge Stagecoach Buses. Buses run every 10 – 20 mins.
Staying in Cambridge can be expensive, the cheapest place I know about is the YHA, it’s a hostel and it has very good reviews. Prices are about £20 a night. If you want a hotel they can be at the very least £75 a night up to the £400 mark, yikes! This is why if you are a budget backpacker, staying at the YHA Cambridge Hostel is by far your best bet.It’s only a 5 minute walk from the train station and a 15 minute walk from the city centre.
Food and Drink
There are many places in Cambridge to get breakfast, lunch and dinner, with plenty of places to buy snacks, but it isn’t cheap, except to pay at least £5 for a good meal. Check out this website for a great guide on the cheapest places to eat in Cambridge, England.
Things To Do / See
This section could get pretty long as there are many things to do, from visiting museums, gallery’s, universities and colleges to partying in some of the clubs. I have to admit, the nightlife in Cambridge isn’t the best but most people visit Cambridge for the attractions rather than to party.
The Fitzwilliam Museum – Free
If art and antiquities is your thing then the Fitz Museum is for you.
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences – Free
This is the Cambridge University museum of Geology.
University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – Free
Whipple Museum – Free
The History of Science
County Folk Museum – Free
For the Folk lovers
Museum of Classical Archaeology – Free
Another Museum from the CU.
Scott Polar Museum – Free
History of the science in the Antarctic exploration
Museum of Zoology – Closed until 2016
Kettles Yard – Free
One of the best art galleries in Cambridge
New Hall Art Collection – Free
Close to the Fitz Museum
Pubs and Clubs
There are many beautiful pubs and a few clubs in Cambridge if you fancy a bit of night life.
Probably the most popular club for students, normally £3 to £5 entry.
This is a day time pub and turns into a club at night, it’s one of the more popular places in Cambridge, and depending on what you like, this could be the best place for. I’d have to say it’s my favourite place to go when there is a decent night happening.
The King Street Run
My favourite pub, not for everyone, but has a great atmosphere!
The Regal This is the cheapest place in Cambridge to get a drink, always free entry and located on Regent street.
For more information on the best pubs and clubs in Cambridge have a look at the VisitCambridge website.
Most punting places charge from around £14.00 for adults and £7 for kids. Here are some of the most popular places to go punting in Cambridge.
The Cambridge Punting Company – guided punt tours along the backs of the historical Cambridge University. Cambridge Chauffeur Punts – See the famous bridges and colleges along the River Cam.
Let’s Go Punting – private and shared Chauffeured River Tours of Cambridge.
Scudamores Punting – College backs punting.
The botanic gardens in Cambridge, opened in 1846 and hosts plants from all over the world inside 40-acres of gardens and glasshouses! It cost £4.50 for admission.
If you are interested in the history of Cambridge and its walks I would recommend this website, it has detailed maps and lots of information!