Many of you will have heard of Cambridge in the United Kingdom (UK), a leafy cathedral city just north of London, but it's not all exams and academia!
I know many of my students will have been or know somebody who has been to Cambridge to practice their English or sat those dreaded exams!
Beyond this though, I am going to tell you a little bit about my hometown and why, other than the famous University, it is worth a visit.
So, Cambridge is nestled approximately 50 miles north of London and is the county (main) town of the region Cambridgeshire. This province is green and flat, with typical English countryside surrounding the city.
First settled by the Vikings and Romans, over the centuries it developed into a bustling market town. In 1951 it was awarded city status.
The best way to see the historic city centre is via punting. This is more or less a gondola ride (think almost like Venice!) through the surroundings of the University and along the River Cam. On a hot summer day it is bustling and it's best to book online, you can book a ride through the main punting company, Let's Go Punting. They are professional and can provide chauffeured or solo boats for you to cruise along.
For anybody interested in technology and science, Cambridge is a world centre of excellence in this field. Nicknamed the 'Silicon Fen' (a play on Silicon Valley in the USA), Apple and Spotify have both recently opened new offices and as well as these big global brands it also plays host to a number of new and dynamic start up companies.
In terms of bioscience, the UK head office of AstraZeneca, the large pharmaceutical firm, is located here. The sprawling Cambridge Science Park is the largest R&D centre in Europe and also has in close proximity the world famous Marshall Aerospace, specialising in space technology and communications.
The culture vultures amongst you, will have a variety of museums, theatres, botanical gardens, gastronomy and music.
The Fitzwilliam Museum is a personal favourite of mine with artworks by Titian, Canaletto, Picasso and many more but the Computing Museum and Archaeological Museum also provide the visitor with a fully immersive experience and help to unravel the role Cambridge has played in many key parts of British history.
The 600 seat Cambridge Arts Theatre in the centre of the city hosts a varied programme of devilishly good performances. Some of the biggest touring shows in the UK and an exciting mix of drama, dance, opera and pantomime productions tread the boards here throughout the year.
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY BOTANIC GARDEN
More than 8,000 different species of plants live and thrive in this beautiful landscape. Located in the city centre and set across 40 acres, attractions include a stunning lake, a glasshouse filled with plants from exotic climates, rock gardens and a selection of ‘champion’ status trees. The Garden also runs a varied programme of family events and learning experiences.
CAMBRIDGE FOOD TOUR
If you’re a foodie, this walking tour of Cambridge will have you licking your lips. Snaking through quaint passages, the historic Market Place and a selection of stops very few tourists see, the food tour focuses on palate-pleasing delights sourced and produced food in Cambridge. From fish and chip shops to specialist delis, there’s something for every taste.
Cambridge also plays host to numerous festivals in the summer, including a popular Folk Festival in August and the Cambridge Classical Music Festival that brings together many world renowned composers playing some of your favourites, such as Chopin and Mozart.
There are many more activities that I can't go through here owing to space and time, however, I thoroughly recommend a visit be it for a weekend or longer and hopefully this will dispel the notion of Cambridge as a dry academic city. It's dynamic and fun for everybody so hope you can enjoy it and appreciate it as much as I do!