Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Celebrating 30 in Cambridge

Tomorrow marks my 30th birthday - a big one, by all accounts!

And last weekend we celebrated in the only way we know how; with a little adventure and a lot of good food. 

We booked a couple of nights in an Air BnB in a city we had yet to visit, Cambridge. History, architecture, culture - what's not to love? Yeh, I guess birthday celebrations have changed a little in recent years! Whilst the idea of a j├Ągerbomb-fuelled night out isn't completely off my radar (just yet) I relish the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry... and get my culture fix too. 

This is by no means a guide to Cambridge. We spent just short of 48 hours in the city, and by no means experienced it all! That said, I think a weekend in Cambridge is about right. It's a small city, but packed full of culture and Britishness. The perfect weekend getaway. 

Where we stayed

Our Air BnB was pretty spot on. Rosanna and her family were super friendly and welcoming, with a gorgeous home about 15 minutes walk from the centre of town. The room itself was cosy yet spacious, with a roll top bath in the next door bathroom exclusively for our use. Warm croissants for breakfast with a frothy coffee and some insiders advice, it was everything (and more) you'd expect from an Air BnB. 

What we did

We were lucky enough to get some pretty beautiful weather on the Saturday of our trip, which made for a perfect punting experience! I know, such tourists. On the advice of our Air BnB hosts, we walked down to the Scudamore punting station by Magdalene Bridge and booked our guided punting tour there. We paid £17.50 each (they thought we were students... winning) and ten minutes later were setting off on our 45 min tour down the River Cam! Perhaps it would have been nice to do a private tour if we could have afforded it, but you're looking at a minimum £120 charge. Getting to see the various colleges along the Backs was such a beautiful and memorable experience, and whilst the river is by no means peaceful, it is totally worthwhile. Getting there early in the day may at least mean the river is a little quieter!

We also went to visit a few of the colleges; St John's, Trinity and King's College. The former, and most pricey at £10 for an adult visitor ticket, was expansive and for me the most interesting. The chapel was just gorgeous, and walking over Kitchen Bridge gives you great views of the Bridge of Sighs. Tip: if you have a student card you can gain entry for £5!

Trinity was just as gorgeous with a stunning courtyard and another chapel worth seeing. I especially enjoyed the statue of Francis Bacon looking particularly chillaxed. 

King's College is known largely for the hugely impressive chapel - and boy is it impressive! A strong case for the 'look up' mantra, it is all kinds of spectacular. Prepare to be speechless. If you visit during term time you might be able to attend a choral service, where you can hear the world-famous King's College Choir in action. Oh to be there at Christmas time!

The Fitzwilliam museum is free to enter and worth checking out; we loved the 'From Kabul to Kolkata' exhibition which was part of University of Cambridge Museums' India Unboxed programme. An incredible building, at the very least. 

Where we ate

Now for the good stuff!

Espresso Library - great coffee and avo toast, gorgeous set up. (210 East Road, Cambridge)

Smokeworks - meat-tastic BBQ joint. Corn on the cob, dripping butter, chicken salt - yes please! (2 Free School Ln, Cambridge)

Bread & Meat - the philly cheese steak sarnie was all kinds of delicious, as was the topside. (4 Bene't St, Cambridge)

Pint Shop - not just fancy beer, but great food including an incredible pork and fennel scotch egg. (10 Peas Hill, Cambridge)

Fitzbillies - boast the best Chelsea buns in Cambridge which totally live up to reputation! (51-52 Trumpington St, Cambridge)

The Varsity Hotel - overpriced rooftop drinks, but a pleasant chilled sunset spot. (Thompsons Ln, Cambridge)

All in all? The perfect birthday getaway!

What will I be doing tomorrow, I hear you ask? Sadly, #thatteacherlife means I have very little say in the matter. But I'll be sharing a glass of fizz in the afternoon with my parents, am planning on going out for dinner with Rich in the evening (we're thinking Thai food) and will be celebrating with family and friends again at the weekend. 

Here's to the next 30!



  1. Looks like you had a wonderful trip!
    Enjoy being 30 my lovely xx

    Love From, Steph & The Spaniels

  2. Happy belated birthday Lizzie! I'm glad that you enjoyed beautiful weather in Cambridge, and that you liked the Fitzwilliam - it's a great museum! Also pleased that you had a Chelsea bun - a must-do in Cam, along with the punting :) Next time you should have a walk over to Grantchester and have afternoon tea at the Orchard, or a pub lunch at the Green Man. xx

    Tamsin | A Certain Adventure

  3. Welcome to the 30 club! Looks like you had a lovely time. I have never been to Cambridge before but as family have moved there, it gives me an excuse to now! x


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