Planning a Family StayCation to Cambridge – this city has plenty to offer everyone!
Soon after the school break in October, we went on a memorable staycation to Cambridge for three days and two nights. We started our trip on a late Saturday afternoon after my son’s weekend lessons. We have been to Cambridge twice before and have loved it every visit. There is so much to explore that we wanted to enjoy this trip leisurely.
How to get to Cambridge?
We started on a Saturday afternoon and headed to Cambridge in one hour 30 minutes. The total distance from our house to Cambridge was just 90 miles and it was a pleasant drive. We decided to avoid the motorway, and drove through the countryside, enjoying the beautiful sunset as we reached Cambridge
There are otherways to get to Cambridge from London, with easy links by train and bus. If you are lucky then you might find a striking deal as low as a fiver to get to Cambridge from London on public transport.
About our Stay
Holiday inn Cambridge Lakeside
We stayed in a peaceful Cambridge hotel, just outside the city but still within an easy reach of the city centre. This hotel is set by a lake in Impington offering an amazing countryside view with 15 acres of field hosting some gorgeous horses and beautiful trees. This Holiday Inn is just spread across two floors with 161 rooms, play area for children, a restaurant, and a wonderful leisure club. Our hotel rooms were overlooking the fields and the view left you refreshing every single morning.
The restaurants have some fabulous deals for families. The kids under 12 eat for free for every main meal that an adult orders. And kids under 17 can stay for free when sharing a room with your parents. Isn’t this a fantastic bargain when traveling as a family?
The leisure clubs offer a range of facilities including a gym, swimming pool, Jacuzzi steam room and beauty treatment rooms. And the hours of opening are quite generous to suit most people in the hotel.
There is a facility to dry your swimming clothes in the washroom by the press of a machine again and they’re all dried to 90% in 10 seconds. How fabulous is this and how come not many leisure clubs have thought about it?
The full English breakfast that is served in the hotel is of a very high standard. They have got some fabulous self-serve machines, like the pancakes that can be made by yourself with the press of a button.
If you’re looking to park your car for a longer stay whilst in the city of Cambridge then go to Queen Ann Terrace carpark. They are 15 minutes walk to the city centre but is the cheapest for longer car stays.
If you are only making a short visit, then there is also the Grand Arcade carpark
City Sight Seeing Bus Tour
Soon after parking our car at the Queen Ann Terrace carpark, we took a short stroll through Parkers Piece and walked to Silver Street East which was the starting point for our sightseeing bus tour. The tour runs for approximately 80 minutes looping via 19 stops all over the city taking you across city stop tourist attractions.
Audio guides are available in nine languages and I was absolutely thrilled to actually listen to this throughout our journey. I have learnt so much history, that this trip meant everything to me staying on the hop on hop off bus. There are so many stories about history and tradition that I have never heard or read on the web.
Did you know?
Did you know that Cambridge houses 31 colleges
80+ Nobel Prize winners
Over 12,500 undergraduates as of 2016
Over 7500+ graduates as of 2016
About 35,000 bikes.
Did you know that there are traces of Iron Age in Cambridge and Roman’s invasion actually discovered Cambridge?. We have had Saxons and Vikings from Scandinavia nearer 400 years later into Cambridge city.
I was actually amazed that history in Cambridge dates back to Iron Age because all that we have heard relating to the city of Cambridge is universities and punting.
Have you heard of the King Street pub crawl event? The students were challenged to drink a pint of ale all along Kings Street from the 14 pubs without relieving yourself in any way. And the winner was given a green tie just imagine his face. This tradition is claimed to have started since 1955 and is still held by annually across King Street.
Do you know when the proposal for railway station was put across in Cambridge many, many years ago it was turned down for a reason. A few years later, they agreed to build one with just one 4km stretch platform.
It was believed that Cambridge did not want the students to have any distraction of going to London or any other city and hence they were against building the station. If any student was found to have a railway ticket during the term time, they were caught by the Bulldogs( A member of the student team who was on vigilance to prohibit students from leaving Cambridge during the term time) and reprimanded for the same.
They really seemed so strict in those days!!!
PUNTING on River Cam.
“Let’s go punting” is what kids said right away at the first sight of River Cam. We have been to Cambridge before and kids always look forward to it. We opted for a chauffeured punting ride to see the riparian colleges in total comfort and style. Though the weather was ‘Real’ cold with no wind, returning from Cambridge without punting is not done!
Punting is the perfect way to see seven Cambridge University Colleges with the fascinating history.
The guide was extremely informative telling us all about the eight bridges including the Bridge of Sighs and the Mathematical bridge on your return giving us ample time to take pictures and enjoy the breathtaking views.
BOTANIC GARDEN at Cambridge University
Kids really wanted to enjoy the freedom of running around in the park apart from being then asked to compose themselves in the bus or whilst punting. We knew exactly where we had to stop. The sightseeing bus tour has a stop at the Botanic Garden and we did take a brief break here. Kids got to do an activity collecting sticks, leaves, string, etcetera all around the botanical garden to make their perfect wand.
Whilst the kids were busy interacting we enjoyed the scenic route, sneaking through the trees opening into different areas with the mystic play of light and shadow.
Dinner at Bella Italia
Cambridge has a lot of restaurants and coffee shops to choose from. As we alighted from the Sight Seeing Bus, to see the Round Church on the Bridge Street we plumbed into Bella Italia for an early dinner. The ambiance was absolutely authentic and perfect for the evening. We found true spirits of Italy in flavor and sharing food with lots of laughter.
Cakes at Fitzbillies
Having heard so much about Fitzbillies from friends and family, it was certainly on our list to hop by for Chelsea buns and coffee. Kids loved the other varieties that were baked in their inhouse bakery.
Passing out from affluent universities in India, we ( my better half and me) just wanted to feel and enjoy those prestigious educational vibes coming from – Kings College, Trinity College, St Johns College, Queens College and more. Since it was on a Monday morning we could stroll comfortably on Trinity Street, Sydney Street, Kings Parade and we just loved it admiring the historic structure and the architecture.
ICECREAMS AT THORNTONS
No trip is completed without bountiful scoops of ice cream irrespective of the weather. And we loved it at Thorntons, Cambridge ( near to Grand Arcade).
Soon it was the time we make our journey home. It was a great chance for the kids going to relax and catch a long nap in the car after an exciting and tiresome two days. Whilst we enjoyed the scenic beauty and songs from the early 90s.
What we really love about traveling in the UK is how easy it is to plan without much notice. It is possible to explore the UK as a family on a budget without having to spend much.
We have already started planning our next holiday and I can’t wait to tell you all about it very soon. We visited Hamburg in Summer and loved it to Bits. How about considering Hamburg for your next destination?
Have you started planning to Xmas break already? How about checking out Superbreak? They have a fabulous package for travel, accommodation, and sightseeing across the UK and Europe.
You can also follow Superbreak at @superbreak and @superbreak_ on Twitter and Instagram, for their best travel offers and inspiration.
Disclosure: This trip is courtesy Superbreak. All opinions expressed here are of my own.