Here’s how to plan the perfect day trip from Cambridge to London. So you can trade the London hustle for a day of wandering cobblestoned streets, lazy punting and perusing one of the best university grounds in the world, enjoy!
Dripping in ancient pubs, cobblestoned roads and one of the most prestigious universities in the world — Cambridge is one of the best places to escape London for the day.
In this post, I’ll be sharing all the deets on planning the perfect day trip from the Big Smoke to the historic university town including how to get from London to Cambridge, what to pack and the best things to do in Cambridge to make the most of your day. Let’s get into it!
How to get from London to Cambridge
Cambridge to London is around 1hr and 30 min and you get there by train or coach. For this journey, we decided to hop on none other than my favourite UK coach service, the National Express.
Covering hundreds of towns and cities across England and beyond I love the feeling of cosying up in a coach and cruising past England’s sleepy highways for a day of exploring.
Tickets start from £11 and you can leave from Golder’s Green, Stratford, Liverpool Street or London Victoria station. There’s tons of seats to choose from and USB ports so you can charge up before you get to Cambridge. I also suggest bringing some snacks for the journey there and back!
What to Pack for a Cambridge Day Trip from London
As it’s only a day trip to London from Cambridge you won’t need to pack much. But here are the essentials:
• Layers: the weather in Cambridge is quite similar to London, so you’ll want to be prepared for random weather changes; i.e bring a light jacket
• Comfortable Walking Shoes: you can’t do a day trip without them!
• Umbrella: because you can’t escape UK weather
• Power Bank: you’ll definitely need your phone to handle bookings and tickets throughout the day so make sure to keep charged up (here’s the one I use!)
• Camera: to capture all your memories in one of England’s most aesthetically blessed cities
• Snacks and Water: great for snacking on the coach and keeping hydrated with all that exploring you’ll be doing!
Cambridge Day Trip Itinerary: Best Things to do in Cambridge
Walk along Regent Street
As soon your coach arrives in Cambridge you’ll be dropped off smack in the city centre.
Take a walk past the famed Reality Checkpoint (the oldest lampost in the city) and peruse down to Regent Street.
Dotted with cafes, pubs, restaurants and cosy shops it’s a great starting place to get a feel for the area and take in Cambridge for the first time.
Visit the Fitzwilliam Musuem
After walking through the city centre for a bit we decided to head to a true Cambridge gem — The Fitzwilliam Museum.
The University of Cambridge’s art and antique museum houses millions of paintings, artefacts and statues from around the world, all under one roof.
Museums (for me at least) can tend to mesh into one over time, but this one didn’t disappoint. The stories behind each of the pieces were fascinating, so much so that we almost forgot we had to get moving — more day trip activities await!
Tour the University of Cambridge Colleges
Of course, if you’re in Cambridge you’ve got to visit the University of Cambridge’s campuses.
The most renowned are King’s College (home to the beautiful King’s College Chapel) and Trinity College, both of which you’ll need to book to visit.
But as all their campuses are splattered across the city you’re bound to pass by a few whilst you’re out and about exploring either way 🙂
Roam the Cambridge Botanical Garden
Once you’ve had a good lay of the Cambridge land you can roam and relax in the Cambridge Botanical Garden.
Associated with the University of Cambridge’s plant science department the garden covers 40 acres of over 8,000 plant species.
Tickets are free for children and £6.30 for adults (100% worth it). We spent around an hour or so walking along the lush green spaces and dripping fountains, wandering through lily pads in the Glasshouse Range and trying to remind ourselves that we were still in Cambridge!
Have a Bite & a Pint at Anchor Cambridge
All this exploring is sure to leave you hungry (we were!) so once you leave the Botanical Gardens, walk back to the city centre and have a bite and a pint at the Anchor Pub.
It’s right along the riverside so you can watch the punters go by and soak in the Cambridge sun like a local.
Browse through Cambridge Market Square
It’s not every day you can browse through markets that have been kicking it since the middle ages — which is exactly why you’ll want to visit Cambridge Market Square.
Everything from international foods to second-hand books and vintage clothing is on offer here. So spend some time supporting the lovely independent traders and grabbing a cake or pastry.
See the View from Great St Mary’s Church
One of the best things to do for a day trip from Cambridge to London is take the views — church style. The Great St Mary’s Church holds one of the best views in Cambridge with 360° of the city right at your fingertips.
Tickets are £6 for adults (which goes towards the church) but there’s a catch…it’s 123 steps to get there.
I’ll admit, that climb was not fun. But worth it? Yes. Triple yes.
Go Punting…Cambridge Style
Of course, you can’t end a day in Cambridge without some good ole punting.
Along Silver Street you’ll see tons of punting companies prying for new customers, but I suggest booking your tour in advance.
If you find yourself short on time or not keen for the punt (is that a phrase?) I still suggest saving some minutes to sit along the riverside and watch the punters go by.
Cambridge in a Day Map
Around 6:30pm we made our way back to London with memories of Cambridge in our pocket for a cosy ride back on the National Express.
Thank you to the National Express for sponsoring this blog post. As always, all opinions are my own.