Cambridge is a vibrant and diverse city with a thriving food scene and there are some excellent day trips from Cambridge to do when there.
As a local, I am lucky enough to be able to enjoy the wonderful array of historic sights and restaurants the city has to offer. For visitors to the area, spending some time in Cambridge city centre itself is highly recommended.
Here are our must-dos and eats for Cambridge followed by the best day trips.
For some of the day trips from Cambridge you can rent a car for the day (or days) to get around easily.
Best Day Trips From Cambridge U.K.
Soak up some Culture- Cambridge has been home to many influential historical people so wander the cobbled, university streets in the steps of Oscar Wilde, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking to name a few, perhaps enjoying the wide-ranging independent and well-known shops too?
The quaint streets and beautiful university buildings also make it a perfect choice of weekend away. You may have enjoyed the televised Christmas Carols at Kings College, so visit the college while in the city.
For galleries and museums, small but brilliant, Kettles Yard has many interesting exhibitions and be sure to take up the free admission of the Fitzwilliam Museum to see many fascinating works of art and artefacts from all over the world. The Scott Polar Research Museum makes for an extremely interesting visit too.
You can’t really visit Cambridge without trying the punting, can you? You can punt yourself or alternatively go for the chauffeured option. An evening punt is such fun, sit back, and enjoy some fizz and the sights. You can take a picnic with you too!
Eating in Cambridge has never been better. The city has many excellent choices, whether you are fine dining. grabbing a quick bite to eat or catching up with friends over tea and cake. See our top recommendations for all types of fabulous restaurants in Cambridge here.
Heading out of Cambridge:
We love Cambridge but also love nothing more than taking a day trip from the city to experience some new places and to try wonderful restaurants and places to eat. Here are our favourite day trips when heading out of the city.
A stone’s throw from Cambridge:
Granchester- this pretty village offers riverside walks and plenty of pub stops.
You can walk here across the beautiful meadows or even arrive leisurely by punt from central Cambridge.
However you get here, do make sure that you stop off for an afternoon tea at the Orchard Tea Gardens which, on a pleasant day, you can enjoy outside on their cool deckchairs.
The food here is homely and offers a classic combination of sandwiches, scones and great cake. Booking in advance is essential for the full afternoon tea but you are able to drop in for a simple pit-stop.
Wimpole – the National Trust Wimpole estate is perfect for a lovely long walk. This is also the site of our favourite park run event which is extremely dog friendly.
The Wimpole Estate has the beautiful, historical Wimpole House, a walled garden, and the farm which is a favourite with children. It also has one or two shops and The Rectory Restaurant which makes for a lovely light lunch or tea and cake stop.
The Gogs- these low chalk hills are great for a breath of fresh air out of the city centre and offer a chance for a good leg stretch.
After your walk, head to family-owned The Gogs Farmshop, Deli and Coffee shop which sell super quality foods and drinks- don’t miss the scotch eggs which are completely delicious!
Perfect for a post-walk wander and refreshment stop. The Gogs have a high-quality grocery shop, butchery and deli to stock up on treats for the evening too.
Ely – the quaint cathedral city is a 20 -minute drive, or train journey from Cambridge.
Visit the cathedral itself which is stunning. Head down to the river, where you can visit the Riverside antique shop. I love this shop which is huge and packed full of interesting things.
The Babylon Gallery is also worth a visit to take in some art and culture before ending up at Peacocks Tearoom for their award-winning teas and cakes.
They serve and sell a huge number of loose-leaf teas which you can purchase to enjoy at home. The homemade cakes and scones are delicious, they also have daily specials for a delicious brunch or lunch. Peacocks are currently offering a takeaway picnic to take and enjoy riverside.
Heading out of Cambridge by car or train is easy as road links and public transport from the city is good. Here are our favourite day trips from Cambridge which involve a journey of under 2 hours.
North Norfolk Coast- For some beach time, there are few coastlines finer than North Norfolk.
There are numerous sandy beaches here so take your pick! About a 2-hour drive from Cambridge, our favourite is Holkham, a wide, beautiful expanse of golden sand which is rarely busy so perfect for an uninterrupted walk.
For a beach with facilities, try neighbouring Wells-by-the-Sea which has many cafes and shops to peruse. All that walking and fresh air do build an appetite so where to eat?
Well, it has to be fish and chips by the sea, doesn’t it?
We love Eric’s fish and chips in Thornham. It is a national fish and chips award winner and easy to taste why when you experience their delicious fish and chips.
Using top-quality ingredients, Eric’s strikes the balance between a traditional and pimped up version of the classic fish and chips- the spinach and halloumi arancini are also a must-try and a great vegetarian option. Dietary requirements are fully catered so make your specifications as you order.
Be sure to include some of their delicious homemade mushy peas though! Eric’s have also recently opened Eric’s Pizza which I am sure is equally as fantastic.
Norwich- I also love a day in Norwich for a relaxed and calm shopping day. Under 2 hours from Cambridge by car or train, the city is so pretty and has many high street and independent shops to wander and enjoy.
I love visiting the Jarrolds department store to buy some treats from its wonderful food hall. For a lunch stop, one of our favourite quick bites is Brick pizza.
Some classic toppings and the more unusual but all totally delicious. For a more formal lunch, it’s hard to beat the £22 set lunch menu offered by Benedicts. Benedict won the ‘Great British Menu’ with two of his delicious dishes, one of which was Nanny Bush’s Seasonal Trifle so this is a must-try while in the city.
Whilst in the city, which is home to 33 medieval churches, stop in to see the Norman cathedral which has the second tallest spire in the country.
London- For a complete contrast from the coast, head to the city.
London is just under an hour from Cambridge by train and offers endless opportunities for sightseeing and a great lunch of course. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal offers a great value 2 Michelin star, 3 courses or set lunch for just £48.
The Knightsbridge based restaurant is also the perfect excuse for a wander around Harrods and Harvey Nichols! You will find copious amounts of tourist treats in the capital depending on your interests and preferences.
We love a long walk in Hyde Park, where you can also take a boat trip on the Serpentine.
You can enjoy a ride through the vast park too as you are able to hire a bike from Santander Cycles. If you can find time and space, take a break from shopping for some legendary cake and bubbles at Cake and Bubbles in Soho.
Highly acclaimed pastry chef Albert Adria produces some breathtakingly beautiful creations so a real must-visit.
Suffolk- the pretty town of Southwold is based on the Suffolk coast and is a good starting point to see what the Suffolk coast has to offer.
Think classic, quintessential English seaside experience here, as you take in the coloured beach huts on the unspoilt beaches and take a walk on the pier.
Be sure to grab an ice-cream at Harrison James- delicious! We love nearby The Westleton Crown which offers beautiful rooms and good quality, locally sourced food for a meal too. In the winter months, a local drink by the cosy, open fire is a great end to a day of exploring.
Find time for a wander in Dunwich Forest which is a tranquil, peaceful place for a long walk.
Visit the village of Orford, home to the Pump Street Bakery who actually make their own rather amazing chocolate. Also, visit the quay for a lovely beach walk.
With so much choice, Cambridge is the perfect base to enjoy many varying day trips. Whether you decide to stay in the city or day-trip out and about, be sure to squeeze in as much as you can!
About The Author
Melanie Varey writes about food, well-being, and dog-friendly living at TwoPlusDogs.
She is a lover of open spaces, exercise, fresh air and finding beautiful places to enjoy in the company of my family- my husband and our two cheeky whippets. Food is an important part of our family life; in fact, our friends say we are eating, planning what or where to eat, or cooking our next meal! We love eating out and really value quality food and restaurants. A teacher and Reflexologist, I am passionate about health and wellbeing.
Cambridge U.K. Travel
For more travel guides for the U.K. take a look at my U.K. destinations page.
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