Outdoor pursuits in Cambridge
Enjoy the great outdoors? Milton Country Park, just north of the city, boasts 95 acres of woodland, lakes and attractive pathways to explore. You can go for a ramble on foot, enjoy the scenery by bicycle, or take to the lake for wild swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. There are more water-based adventures to be had at Southlake Aqua Park, the area’s largest water park, which has a fun-packed course of giant inflatables. It’s located near Paxton Pits Nature Reserve in St Neots, about a 45-minute drive from central Cambridge.
A lazy afternoon in Grantchester
Approximately two miles from Cambridge, Grantchester has rolling meadows, wild swimming and gorgeous pubs. It’s hands down one of the best spots in the area for a picnic, but you can also enjoy an afternoon tea amongst the apple trees at the Orchard Tea Garden. It’s an easy walk from the city centre, or you can take a punt all the way to Grantchester Meadows from the Mill Lane punt station.
Get a taste of history with stately homes
Once you’ve seen the famous colleges and visited the city’s museums, there are plenty more historic gems to discover in Cambridgeshire. Anglesey Abbey is around 15 minutes’ drive from central Cambridge and offers visitors the chance to explore a Jacobean house, beautiful English garden and working watermill. If you’re visiting in December, look out for the annual Winter Lights event, which sees the grounds illuminated with magical lights and installations.
The Wimpole Estate, around 8.5 miles from Cambridge, is another grand old country house to seek out, with gardens designed by Capability Brown and a working farm.
Another must-visit for history fans is Audley End House & Gardens, just outside the nearby town of Saffron Walden, which is one of England’s grandest mansions and offers regular ‘living history’ days, when you can see the house as it would have been in its Victorian heyday.
Discover fascinating military history
IWM Duxford is Europe’s largest air museum, offering the chance to get up close and personal with more than a century of aviation. The site played a pivotal role in the second world war, serving as a base for many Spitfire and Hurricane pilots, and today offers both a museum experience and the chance to see flying displays of historic aircraft.
Another place to immerse yourself in military history is at the beautiful, sombre American Cemetery in Madingley, where you can discover the stories of young men and women who came from America and were dropped ‘somewhere in England’ during the Second World War.
Boutique hotels to stay in style
For a stylish city centre getaway, the Gonville Hotel offers a fantastic restaurant and on-site day spa, as does the Varsity Hotel. Or if you’re staying a little longer in the area, you might like to look into the self-catering options available at Turing Locke, a new ‘aparthotel’ in the northwest of Cambridge. With sleek, contemporary styling, the 180 apartments offer a perfect home-from-home for visitors.