These pictures definitely make me want to hop on a flight over to England, because this day trip to Cambridge sounds perfect! Take a look at these great tips from Caroline of Sparkles and Crumbs!
TRAVEL TUESDAY: A DAY TRIP TO CAMBRIDGE!
Ciao bella - Caroline from Sparkles and Crumbs here! Even though I spend most of my time daydreaming about the enchantments of Italy, I still feel very fortunate to live in the quaint little city of Cambridge. I dreamed of attending the University from the age of nine after watching "The Lady Vanishes"; in this thrilling old 1930s film set on a train in Eastern Europe, a sneaky English-speaking Nazi attempts to fool some unwitting British victims, winning their trust by telling them, "Well, I went to Oxford, myself." Fortunately, he is foiled by the dashing Michael Redgrave, who promptly bashes him over the head with a chair. "What the blazes did you do that for?" demands one of the other gentlemen. "Well, I was at Cambridge," the movie's hero quips cheerfully.
Henceforth, I associated Cambridge with old-fashioned heroism and quick wits - and when I finally got here, I wasn't disappointed. Even as a casual visitor, it's impossible not to be swept up in the quintessential Cambridge magic and feel as if you've unwittingly wandered into another time. Strolling down King's Parade in the evening, you'll see dozens of black-gown-clad students on biycles swooping past, clutching bottles of wine on their way to a 'formal' dinner; and if you wander over Garret Hostel Bridge early in the morning on a clear day, not only will you have an incredible view of the riverside colleges turning golden as the sun rises, you can also spot a few eager students poring over their books in the beautiful glass-walled library of Trinity Hall. Every nook and cranny of this city - from the cobble-stones in the market-place, to the spires of King's chapel - is just bathed in history and a wealth of eccentric anecdotes.
So if you ever find yourself in London, make sure to take a trip here [it's only fifty minutes by train from King's Cross!] - and follow my ideal itinerary for a day in Cambridge in true Sparkles and Crumbs style!
1. The scenic college tour.
Start by strolling through the magnificent gardens of St John's College. Ignore the designated tourist route and head straight for the Bridge of Sighs for a fabulous photo opp! Follow the winding path around the river and under the willows, and you'll soon reach the 'back gate' of King's College - believe it or not, this is the best direction to enter the College from! You'll emerge from a divine tree-lined path [surrounded by daffodils, bluebells and ducklings if you visit in the spring-time] onto a bridge over the river, with a sweeping view of the soaring turrets of the chapel.
2. The market place.
Exiting from the main entrance of King's, you'll find yourself a few paces away from the busy, bustling market-place, held every day in Cambridge, come rain or shine. Whether you love secondhand books, quirky handmade jewellery, cupcakes or ostrich burgers, you'll find something to pore over [or devour!] here! My favourite stall is the Jackflap Man's - his incredible Caribbean 'jackflaps' [big thick flapjacks with incredible fruit-infused flavours!] are to die for, and he's the most cheerful man in town!
3. Head to the Fort St George for a pub lunch.
I'm not just biased because it's my local - Kate Middleton and Prince William ate here during their first official trip to Cambridge, so if it's good enough for the Duke and Duchess...! Invariably less crowded than the super-popular Anchor pub, but with much nicer food, this peaceful pub with its fairy-light-strung trees and a view of the rowing boats sculling by along the river is a lovely spot to stop and put your feet up. Sit by the fire-place and enjoy a gourmet burger or steak and ale pie.
4. Take a punt!
If you're lucky enough to be in Cambridge for the summer, ignore the pushy punt touts outside of King's and take one out for yourself. There's no nicer way to spend a sunny June afternoon than drifting along the river with a bottle of cava and a punnet of strawberries!
5. Enjoy a scone in the Orchards.
My favourite place in all of Cambridgeshire is a quick punt from the city centre, or a lovely half-hour wander through the lusciously green Grantchester Meadows. The Orchard tea gardens are an idyllic little oasis in the picturesque village of Grantchester - the tradition of eating delicious scones with fresh raspberry jam and honey in deckchairs began in 1868, when a group of Cambridge students asked the proprietor to serve them tea under the apple trees. You can do the same today, possibly whilst reading Rupert Brooke's ode to the Orchard...
6. Cocktails at the Vaults.
Walk briskly back into town to burn off some of those heavenly scones, and polish off your day with a cocktail at one of my favourite haunts, The Vaults. This lovely little underground bar is one of the town's hidden treasures, with jovial bartenders, purple walls and plenty of comfy sofas. Go for an ultra-affordable Vaultini with gin, apricot brandy, passion fruit syrup and apple juice [just £6 for two during Happy Hour!], or splash out on one of my favourites, the Italian Job: tuaca and frangelico shaken with milk and cream, garnished with cinnamon and chocolate! Mmm, it tastes like heaven!
Hopefully, you'll hop back on the train feeling like you've made the most out of your Cambridge jaunt - and don't forget to get in touch and let me know when you're visiting! Love, sparkles and crumbs,
Calling All Travel Lovers! Interested in being a guest blogger for Travel Tuesday? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your proposed travel tip, two or three Tuesdays that you are available to post by, and a link to your blog!