I’m doing the A to Z Challenge in April, using the theme of the UK & Ireland. For C, I’m fantasizing about my next trip to the UK, hopefully in the fall of 2019. Cambridge is high on our list of places that we missed last time, but want to see this time. We may go as a day trip with London Walks, but my fantasy is to spend four days in Cambridge.
Since money is no object at this stage of planning a trip, we’ll stay at the Varsity Hotel with its modern rooms, roof top dining, and a jacuzzi that overlooks the River Cam.
Day 1. After arriving at the Cambridge Railway Station, probably from London (45-90 minutes depending on the train and the number of stops) and taking a taxi to our hotel, we’ll walk near the hotel, taking in the iconic architecture along King’s Parade and circling along The Backs, the walk by the River Cam that showcases the back of several colleges, including a splendid view of King’s College Chapel.
Day 2. In the morning, we’ll explore the downtown area of Cambridge, including a stop at the Cambridge Information Visitor Centre, grab an early lunch, and check out the Corpus Clock. We’ll aim to get to the Whipple Museum of the History of Science at 12:30pm when it opens. This museum collects scientific instruments and related material, mostly made by 17th, 18th, and 19th century English craftsman and scientists. This is just the sort of quirky museum that ends up being highlights in our travels. On the way back to the hotel, we can stop for the evensong service at King’s College Chapel.
Day 3. On this day, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the colleges. Trinity College has many famous alums and we would enjoy walking in the footsteps of Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, and Srinivasa Ramanujan (after seeing the film The Man Who Knew Infinity). I also want to see Newnham College, where one of the characters in my unfinished novel went to school.
Day 4. We’ll make this Darwin day. The Cambridge Information Visitor Centre offers a tour called A Young Charles Darwin in Cambridge — he attended Christ’s College. Before and after the tour, will visit The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, which houses rocks collected by Darwin during his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle along with many other natural history items of interest, and The University Museum of Zoology, which houses specimens collected by Darwin.
There are things missing from this itinerary:
- The Fitzwilliam Museum — the architecture is almost as big of a draw as the art.
- Punting to Grantchester for a picnic
- University Botanic Garden
- The Polar Museum about exploring the Arctic and Antarctic
Hmmm. Maybe we need a week.
Have you been to Cambridge? What was your favorite thing to do or see?