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12 Best things to see & do in Cambridge

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire , United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe
  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

View of the front of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Bucket List Experience

Fitzwilliam Museum

World-class art without world-class crowds, the Fitzwilliam houses a spectacular collection of artworks, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts and sculpture.

Galleries filled with paintings by the French Impressionists open into rooms of sculpture from Ancient Greece and Rome, while the manuscripts collection includes autographed music by Handel and Purcell and handwritten drafts by Thomas Hardy and Virginia Woolf.

It’s particularly welcoming to families, with trails and activities to get kids involved and interested.

Good for age: 18+

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

Front of King's College

Bucket List Experience

Cambridge University Colleges

One of the most prestigious institutions of education and the second oldest university in the English-speaking world, Cambridge University has become synonymous with the city’s name, and is inextricably entwined with its cultural identity and heritage.

The university of Darwin, Milton, and Wordsworth has 31 colleges located across the city, all founded between the 13th and 20th centuries, all exuding rich history and fine architecture. The 31 colleges are divided into the distinctions ‘old’ and ‘new’. The 16 ‘old’ colleges were all founded between 1284 and 1596, while the 15 ‘new’ colleges were built between 1800 and 1977.

Most of the colleges are open to the public, as are the chapels and nine museums and collections.

Good for age: 18+

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

Paintings and sculptures in an art gallery

Bucket List Experience

Kettle’s Yard art gallery

Part of the University of Cambridge, Kettle’s Yard was originally the private home of Jim Ede, curator at the Tate Gallery in the 1920s and ’30s. The beauty of Kettle’s Yard is that it still feels like a private home, yet houses one of the most impressive collections of 20th-century art in the country.

Ede’s private collection includes works by Joan Miró, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

Good for age: 18+

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

Summer tourist punting on the river Cam, view from Magdalene bridge with Magdalene College and Scudamore's Quayside Punting Station

Bucket List Experience

Punting on the River Cam

No visit to Cambridge is complete without an hour or two gliding along the River Cam in a punt – a long, slim boat rather like a Viennese gondola. First introduced to Cambridge in Edwardian times, punting has become an iconic pastime in the city.

It’s also the best way to enjoy the spectacular architecture of the university colleges and the ‘backs’ – the gardens that stretch from the colleges down to the river.

Adult price: £20

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 2 hours

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

More than simply a beautiful place to visit, the Botanic Gardens has been at the forefront of horticultural research for 175 years. There are over 8,000 plant species from all over the world, separated into different areas; a spectacular array of trees flank the main walk, with glasshouses, a raised walkway and rose gardens, meadows and Mediterranean gardens all ablaze with colour and scent.

More than just a place to come and stroll, this will appeal to keen gardeners, and anyone fascinated by plants.

Adult price: £6

Good for age: 6+

Bridge of Sighs

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

View of the River Cam and the Bridge of Sighs

Experience

Queen Victoria was said to have loved this elegant, covered bridge more than any other spot in the city. Straddling the Cam between the Third and New Courts at St. John’s College, it dates back to 1831.

Good for age: 18+

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

Originally built in 1749, and rebuilt twice to the exact specifications, this famous bridge across the Cam on the grounds of Queens’ College looks curved, but is actually created from entirely straight timbers. Despite its name, the bridge does not rely on complex mathematical principles.

Designed by William Etheridge in 1749, it showcases exceptional engineering and craftsmanship. It has become an iconic symbol of Cambridge, admired for its aesthetic appeal and geometric elegance.

Good for age: 13+

King’s College Chapel

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

View of St. John's College chapel

Experience

Perhaps the most famous of all the university buildings is King’s College Chapel, founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. The 12 large stained-glass windows on each side of the chapel are considered some of the finest in the world.

Adult price: £10

Good for age: 18+

Climb St Mary’s Church Tower

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

View of St. Mary's Church on a clear day in Cambridge

Experience

Climb the 123 steps to the top of St. Mary’s Tower for lovely, 360-degree views of the city’s rooftops, and to see the unique architecture of the colleges from above.

Good for age: 6+

Eagle Pub

  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)

Interior of historic pub in Cambridge

Experience

The second-oldest pub in the city, dating back to 1684, is famous for its RAF bar, where the ceiling still shows the signatures and doodles of Allied airmen, who drank at the bar between missions.

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+