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Choose Beautiful and Historic Cambridge for UK and European Vacations

Updated on March 7, 2014
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Beautiful, historic Cambridge is a wonderful long-stay choice for UK and European vacations. This ancient university town is home to one of the world's best universities, established in the year 1209. If you're visiting Britain for the first time, you'll be fascinated and enthralled by the treasures and antiquities of this lovely town. What's more, high speed rail links will transport you in comfort to central London in less than an hour and the proximity of Stansted Airport gives opportunities to fly to most major European cities and attractions.

Visiting Cambridge during Christmas or Easter university holidays will ensure streets aren't crowded with cycling students, as most UK students will have returned home for the holidays. Vacations between June and end September should also ensure the absence of most students too. As Cambridge is a major tourist destination there will always be busloads of pensioners, students on school trips and daytrippers in the town, but, if you've booked hotel accommodations in central Cambridge, you can choose the best times of day to set out on excursions in and around the central area.

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge | Source

Some of the Ancient Colleges of Cambridge

The image on the right and those shown below depict some of the historic college buildings in Cambridge. They were taken on a wet, windy day in early January 2014 and don't do justice to the beauty of the buildings at all, but I'm sure it's possible to find more attractive pictures elsewhere on the net.

Views of Kings' College & Chapel, Cambridge

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Things to Do

The river Cam meanders its way through central Cambridge and a popular activity for visitors and residents is hiring a punt and taking a slow trip up the river. Visitors that are a little unsure of punting abilities, or need to keep constant watch over fractious kids or other family members, may choose to hire a chauffeured punt for a memorable trip through central Cambridge and will be able to view the backs of some of the historic university buildings.

Strolling around central Cambridge in the early morning proves an uplifting experience, prior to incursions from other tourists and daytrippers. So, if you're staying in a central Cambridge hotel, you can window shop in the early hours or later evening; there's an array of antique shops and art galleries displaying a range of attractive goods.

It goes without saying that you'll find a wide selection of restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets in and around Cambridge, offering fine dining, international cuisine, or quick and easy snack foods.

What could be more invigorating than meandering through the lanes of the ancient city en route to the rail station for a comfortable train journey to central London to spend a day exploring the historic capital and its attractions? Well you could choose to visit the beautiful cathedral cities of Norwich or Lincoln, which are within easy rail distance instead. Or perhaps spend a day exploring the Norfolk Broads or visiting the Warwickshire town of Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace.

A journey to the local town of Peterborough allows you to access trains on the East Coast railway line, with journeys to Edinburgh in Scotland taking less than four hours and costing from £30 or so for a single ticket, giving opportunities to view the UK uplands throughout the journey and chance to explore historic Edinburgh and its ancient castle after arrival.

The proximity of Stansted Airport and its plethora of budget airlines gives travelers opportunities to fly to many top European destinations such as Rome, Athens, Lisbon, Dublin, Madrid, Nice, Munich, or Prague, although unfortunately it does seem the romantic city of Paris is not on the Stansted destinations list. Although it would probably be a lot quicker to take a train to London and hop on the Eurostar to Paris anyway. With prices on these budget airlines ranging from £40 or so for returns, when booked well in advance, it's possible to pull in quite a few European destinations while visiting the UK. Granted there's an hour or so to hang around airports waiting to embark on the plane, but most of these destinations are reached within a few hours and clearing customs at the destination airport is simple and quick when passengers only arrive with hand luggage. You could take early morning flights to your European destination city, tour the city and enjoy a relaxing al fresco lunch under beating sun and then return to your airport for a late evening flight back to Stansted. Alternatively, book hotels for a couple of days and spend a few days exploring the sights at your choice of European destination(s).


View the beauty of Cambridge from the River Cam

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Driving/Car Hire

In all honesty, it's not worth hiring a car when visiting England. The roads are so congested anyway that traffic jams and hold ups are commonplace on most motorways. For overseas' visitors one of the most difficult driving hazards to overcome seems to be the UK roundabout system and what's the point of causing stress and anxiety while on vacation by hiring cars and traveling to unknown places? Particularly, given the rail and bus service that dissects Britain and gives fairly comfortable, but certainly stress free, journeys.

Taxi cabs or chauffeur driven cars are a great way to reach outlying destinations or travel to airports such as Stansted, if you plan any day trips.

Cambridge Map

Accommodations

Hotel accommodations need planning and booking in advance. If you're traveling on a budget or with a family or part of a group, you may want to consider budget accommodations such as Travelodge or Premier Inn. It's possible to reserve accommodations with these hotel chains from as little as £20 or so, for double or family rooms (sleeping up to four). The accommodation is provided on room only basis, although there are often pubs or eating establishments connected to the hotels where it's possible to buy a decent breakfast. Alternatively, check out Cambridge town center hotels, offering dining and leisure facilities or country house hotels or coaching inns. The images below depict types of houses and churches likely to be found in some of these fenland villages, if you should choose to explore the locality or stay in country hotels.

If I were planning a trip of this nature, I'd choose a town center location for my hotel. Either one of the many establishments scattered around central Cambridge, or perhaps a Premier Inn or Travelodge within the central area. These budget hotels will probably charge slightly higher rates for accommodations in popular tourist destinations like Cambridge, but it will be far easier to walk around the central area and spend quality time in this fascinating town

Cambridgeshire Village Scenes

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Long trips and vacations to the UK and Europe will be memorable events and creating your own personalized itinerary may take more planning than simply buying a tour from a local travel agent, but will ensure you visit places of particular personal interest. Booking base accommodation for the duration of most of your vacation in a beautiful location such as Cambridge can only enhance and add value to your travel.

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    • Dawn Denmar1 profile image
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      Dawn Denmar 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks! No, you'd be fine, they're just normal, all they do is go up the pub and drink and all that stuff....

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Awesome! And I'd really love to visit if I wouldn't feel a bit out of place amongst all the scholars.