The historic city of Cambridge is waiting to be explored this autumn and winter for those travellers seeking a relaxing break, allowing the chance to delve deeper into this magnificent destination. Visitors will be enchanted by Cambridge’s history and heritage, cultural offerings, events, cosy restaurants and leafy walks, perfect for a long weekend or midweek break as the days get shorter.
Heres our top five things to enjoy on a leisurely autumn/winter break in the city:
Explore Cambridge’s history and heritage
Cambridge is renowned for its historical charms. The city is built around its world-famous university which was established in 1209, with the jewel in Cambridge’s crown being the stunning 15th Century King’s College Chapel, the college’s oldest surviving building, which was constructed soon after it was founded by King Henry VI. This Cambridge landmark is famed for the fan vaulting which decorates its stone ceiling and the world-class King’s College Choir who perform there. Visitors to Cambridge can take in the city’s history by exploring its many other university colleges, either on foot or by punting down the River Cam. Autumn is a particularly good time to visit as the students have returned for the start of Michaelmas term. As a city, Cambridge lives and breathes its past in its present. Wandering through its winding streets, visitors will feel as though they are following in the footsteps of the city’s most famous luminaries including Charles Darwin, Alfred Tennyson and Sylvia Plath. Poets, philosophers, scientists, medics, engineers, prime ministers and Nobel Peace Prize winners have all left their mark here. The sense that it is a place where world-changing discoveries have been made is very much alive in the Cambridge spirit. The city’s architecture is a wonder all of its own, and a slow meander through the city’s cobbled streets is one of the best ways to soak up the sights of its beautiful spires.
The perfect city break for culture vultures
One of the best ways to discover Cambridge’s culture is by visiting one of its eight magnificent museums. There is too much to see inside to visit them all in one day, so culture vultures should plan a longer stay for a full exploration. The museums offer the chance to explore Cambridge in a cosy, carefully curated atmosphere, and make the perfect place for refuge on a rainy day. The museums are located close to each other, meaning it is only a short hop from one to the next. The free-to-enter University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum houses world-class collections of art and antiquities spanning centuries and civilisations. After gazing upon old masters by artists such as Canaletto, Titian and Cezanne, art lovers can head to Kettle’s Yard to observe a wide range of contemporary artworks, sculpture trail walks and galleries. Alternatively, visitors can take a trip to the Museum of Zoology and marvel at the original specimens that university alumnus Charles Darwin collected on his famous trip on The Beagle, or learn about the exploration of the Antarctic and Arctic at the Polar Museum.
Take part in Cambridge’s many festivals and events
Cambridge is jam-packed with cultural, arts and active festivals for all the family to enjoy this autumn and winter. Literary lovers can attend book readings and talks at the Cambridge Literary Festival, featuring renowned writers, historians, politicians and poets who enthral, entertain and educate their audiences on a huge variety of topics. Running through to 3 November, the brilliant line up of scholarly greats will be held in some of the most beautiful venues Cambridge has to offer. Alternatively, the Cambridge Film Festival returns to the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse on 18-25 November for its 40th year, featuring a diverse programme of over 40 films that promise to attract audiences of all ages and tastes. Those looking to experience Cambridge at a faster pace can take part in The Cambridge Festival of Running, featuring the Muscular Dystrophy UK Town and Gown 10k run on 16 October and the Cambridge Half Marathon on 17 October. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the routes take runners on an unforgettable journey through the beautiful city, passing countless historic landmarks along the way.
Indulge in Cambridge’s cosy eateries
Visitors to Cambridge are spoilt for choice for cosy places to snuggle up and enjoy hearty English food in the city. The Cambridge Chop House offers traditional British fare in the heart of Cambridge. The building is packed with history and charm and specialises in interesting cuts of meat and 28-day aged British steaks, making it a meat lover’s haven. Alternatively, foodies can head to Fin Boys for a sustainable take on traditional British fish and chips. The Fish Butchery and Deli prides itself on championing lesser-known types of fish, which are all fresh and line-caught. You can’t get more ‘Cambridge’ than The Eagle Pub, which describes itself as a ‘drinking and thinking hub’, paying homage to its history as the site where Watson and Crick announced they had uncovered ‘the secret of life’ after discovering DNA. Dating back to the 14th Century, The Eagle is one the oldest inns in Cambridge and today it offers a traditional and cosy experience brimming with home cooked food and flowing cask ales, including its very own ‘Eagle’s DNA’. With all of these delightful culinary offerings, visitors will want to stick around for at least a couple of days to enjoy all of Cambridge’s best eateries.
Discover Cambridge at your own pace
There are many beautiful, leafy walks to explore around the city as part of a calming escape away from the crowds. From strolling along the River Cam, to enjoying the vibrant colours of Jesus Green, Cambridge offers the perfect place to take in the autumnal scenery. Cambridge University Botanic Gardens is a particularly great spot for taking in the seasonal flora, and children can enjoy its Autumn Animals educational events from now through to November. Further afield, walkers will find the picturesque village of Grantchester situated on the River Cam. After a walk through Grantchester Meadows, visitors can head to the dog-friendly Orchard Tea Garden for traditional tea and scones in the ancient orchard which dates back to 1868.