A few weeks ago it was my (our) first wedding anniversary. For a while we ummed and ahhed on where to celebrate. I was very much in the “LET’S GO TO NEW YORK” camp, and Jamie was more of the meal in a local restaurant persuasion. So in the end we compromised and went for a weekend away in Cambridge.
We caught the high speed train from Ashford International, and were in Cambridge less than two hours later. Seeing as most of the time it takes me over an hour just to get to Tunbridge Wells for work, I convinced myself I could definitely just move to Cambridge and commute from there. That was until I looked into property prices. Think I’ll stick with my ramshackle cottage for the time being…
Anyway! Here are some of the best things we saw, did, ate and drank during our weekend away…
We spent two nights at the Tamburlaine Hotel, which is just up from the station and about a 20 minute walk from the city centre. I just loved everything about this hotel – the decor is gorgeous, the staff were so helpful (our air conditioning didn’t work and they switched our room without any problems), and the breakfast was just…there were avocados. And pancakes. And pretty pink plates. I spent most of my time there making a list of things I wanted to buy for my own home.
No trip to Cambridge would be complete without a visit to the colleges, and spread out across the city, they all have their own unique history. The prices vary – St John’s College is £10, but with that you’re able to see the Bridge of Sighs and the views from the grounds, or Trinity College is just £3 and very beautiful.
The best way to see the colleges and learn about their history though, is by going for a punting tour along the River Cam. This was one of my favourite parts of the trip. We booked with Let’s Go Punting who were brilliant. My top tip is to go on a weekday if you can. We went on our tour on the Monday morning before we left Cambridge and almost had the river to ourselves.
One of the best places to enjoy great views over the city, is from the top of Great St Mary’s Church tower. You have to climb 123 steps up a medieval turret staircase to get to the top, which is a mildly harrowing experience, but once you’re at the top, the views are worth it. You can find the church opposite King’s College, and for adults it’s £4 to climb the tower.
Basically, 90% of our trip was spent eating, and it’s hard to pick just one favourite. For our anniversary dinner, we ate at The Millworks, a former water mill, with a waterwheel inside and and industrial-chic interiors. We shared the ‘meat fest’ sharing plate from the grill which was amazing – steak, lamb chops and chicken (they’d run out of ribs), with sauces, pickles, salad, slaw and chips. The steak in particular was fantastic, and I also liked that we could order wine in carafes (I’m always a fan of this because it makes you feel like you’re on holiday, even if you’re in your local pub.) Plus, to order your food or ask for anything extra, you just hit a button on the wall for service, which was a fun addition.
A special shout out has to go to one of the places we stopped for lunch during our trip. Bread and Meat pretty much does what is says on the tin, and it’s beyond amazing. They sell meaty sandwiches, bowls of potatoes and gravy, and craft beers. This is the place of dreams (unless you’re a vegan I guess), and I honestly think I could eat there every day for the rest of my life. Just thinking about that gravy is making me want to book another trip.
When we weren’t eating, we were drinking. For coffee, our go-to was Fitzbillies on Bridge Street which we visited a couple of times. Apparently their Chelsea buns are legendary, but we were always too full to try them out, so we had to settle for coffee instead. The atmosphere inside was really friendly, and the window seats offer great people watching and punting opportunities.
For something stronger, I’d definitely recommend a visit to The Pint Shop. When it comes to craft beers they really know their stuff and have a huge selection to choose from. Plus, the bar snacks are pretty good too – warm Scotch egg – yes please…