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Weekend in Cambridge

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lindenlea, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    After a successful trip into Oxford we've decided to organise a weekend in Cambridge but its not that easy. The train trip would be long and expensive so we want to take the car. Hotels are expensive and valet parking is either non existent or costs up to £25 / night. We're considering staying a night in Ely to take in the cathedral and then a night at the accommodation at Jesus College in Cambridge itself - looks good, but I need to be sure we can use their parking (limited availability but only £10/night). I'm phoning them shortly but wondered if anyone else had any clever ways of organising a weekend to take in Ely and Cambridge without completely breaking the bank.
  2. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    There's a few guest houses in Waterbeach. I think one is called the 'Old School'. Free parking and then either run up the A10 or take the train to Ely or Cambridge.
    lindenlea likes this.
  3. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    How far ahead are you planning this for?
    I've just seen Premier Inn rooms for £29, free parking.
    lindenlea likes this.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    You can park at a Park and Ride for £10 a night if you can't get parking at Jesus College.


    Then get the bus into town, though you'll have to carry your bags which shouldn't be very big or heavy I suppose.

    What is the accommodation at Jesus like? I've stayed in a couple of colleges (at conferences) for a night or two and on both occasions it's been in modernish postgraduate rooms that have been overpriced for what they are. The olde worlde rooms in colleges can be great, but the majority is very concretey, even in some of the very old colleges and not always as central as you imagine.
    lindenlea likes this.
  5. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Don't take your car into Cambridge if you don't have to. It's horrible driving in Cambridge and you won't need it. I would go for a budget hotel like a Travelodge or Premier Inn. We've stayed at he one near the park and ride. It's unglamorous but cheap, it's easy to get into the city and there is parking.

    Two of my sons live there. They'd happily let your sleep on their floors.:D:D

    Ely is lovely but an afternoon there is plenty as it's quite a small city, and other then the cathedral it's not that exciting.
    chelsea2, lindenlea and oldsomeman like this.
  6. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Parking in Cambridge is awful but as others have said there are cheap chain hotels (I would recommend the one off Coldhams's lane myself)
    lindenlea likes this.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Ely Cathedral is a bit expensive as well.

    You can do a walking tour of the colleges and a punt is worth a punt on a nice day.
    lindenlea likes this.
  8. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    lindenlea likes this.
  9. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    If you can stay outside Cambridge then park abd ride is a better option as its only £3 return from the one I use, However, check the times of the buses and if the park and ride close for the night. Not sure there is a lot to see in Cambs unless you are going to the theatre(check whats on and book in advance to make sure you have tickets, Not all the colleges are open, or only open at a certain time. Lots of shops but the bigger ones are not in the city centre which is more a student area..The botanical gardens are meant to be nice but I was not impressed by them.
    Beware if the Chinese hoards who seem to be everywhere and at the weekend the language school droves from those learning English,
    Use sites such as these to consider what you might like to do.
    MissGeorgi and lindenlea like this.
  10. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    If looking around the colleges, note that the more famous tourist venues now charge (King's Chapel, Trinity Great Court, St Johns, Queens etc). Pembroke College is delightful and is, I think still free, as are Christ's and Magdalene. The round church is very central and worth a visit - the Botanical Gardens are a bus ride away, but very beautiful.

    The Fitzwilliam Museum is good at all times (and is free), but especially if the weather is wet! It is next to Peterhouse (entry free), the oldest of all the Cambridge colleges, founded in 1284.
  11. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Well thank you for all your suggestions. I've now booked a fairly swanky hotel in Ely for the Friday night and the Jesus College accommodation for the Saturday with parking. We haven't gone for the budget option because husband is having a new knee soon so we haven't booked a foreign holiday but are splashing out on short trips in UK. I did want at least one night in the city and they only had one room left when I finally got through to the college. It does look good - not cheap but out of the ordinary. (We're doing budget in Edinburgh in August when the new knee will be working nicely we hope). So we're going in three weeks.
  12. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Enjoy! The riverside in Ely is pretty and there is a big antiques warehouse there, if that's your thing. Toppings in Ely is a fabulous bookshop, but Heffers in Cambridge is also great.
    lindenlea likes this.
  13. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Forgot to add that if, as I guess, you are in Cambridge during the long vac, the choirs of King's and St John's sing evensong pretty much daily during the last week in June and first week in July (5.30pm at Kings, 6.30 at Johns), despite it being uni holiday time. In both cases, you do not pay if going to evensong. You would need to queue for about an hour for Kings, but not at all for Johns - the latter is a much more intimate service in which you get to sit close to the choir, whereas Kings can be a bit packed with tourists, but nonetheless quite magical at the end of a busy day.
    lindenlea likes this.
  14. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Have a lovely time. We're enjoying the freedom of weekends again, now our youngest is at university (he had a Saturday music school for the last five years). A weekend or long weekend feels like a much longer break it really is, especially if you can get away on Friday morning.
    lindenlea likes this.
  15. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I was so hung up on where to stay I had forgotten about the music :oops::oops:. There will be plenty to listen to after having a quick google. Thanks @florian gassmann This is a treat, I don't mind paying.

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    We did a walking tour from the Tourist Information Office. It wasn't expensive and took in a couple of colleges too - Kings and John's I think. Very informative!
    lindenlea likes this.
  17. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    If you only do one college make it Kings, it's £9 each including the chapel and somewhat bizarrely the ticket lasts a year! Then nearby is Great St. Mary's church where you can go up to the top of the tower where you get the best views of Kings and the rest of Cambridge too. That costs in the region of £3 (just checked it's gone up to £5!), the stairway is spiral, ancient and steep, worth going up though not accessible for everyone.

    Punting is good, you can get a chauffeured guide who tend to be very knowledgeable about the places you are floating past. There are lots of small somewhat esoteric museums if that's your thing. The Fitzwilliam is a must, I suggest you decide in advance which bits to go to as it is quite large. There's lots of cosmopolitan "street food" stalls on the market if you want to save some cash.
    lindenlea likes this.
  18. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I recommend a visit to Kettle's Yard. It is an art gallery. It is free to visit and only minutes from the town centre.
    lindenlea likes this.
  19. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    And Fitzbillys
    bombaysapphire and lindenlea like this.
  20. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    Yes I enjoyed Kettles Yard, we also went to a really nice informal concert there a couple of years ago. There is always a lot going on in Cambridge and lots of colleges and museums to explore in wet weather. There is the new museum of Zoology which I haven't been to yet. If good weather it can be nice to walk along the river by Granchester Meadows to The Orchard Tea Garden. It can get busy but it is nice sitting on deck chairs in the old Orchard after a pleasant walk, nice pubs in Granchester too. There is also Fitzbillies for afternoon tea.
    Depending on budget there are loads of Restaurants from Michelin starred Midsummer House, great for a very special occasion, We enjoy The Cambridge Chop house, quite informal and do a cheaper pre theatre menu but I think you have to order by about 6.30. We recently discovered a different place , The Riverside Restaurant which is actually in a University Concrete block so doesn't look at all inspiring but inside is all white tablecloths etc and windows overlooking the river and good food reasonably priced.
    lindenlea likes this.

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