As a local to this stunning city, I’ve curated a list of fun ideas for your day trip to Cambridge. From must-visit eateries to scenic routes along cobblestone streets, and exploring the picturesque universities and rivers, I’ve got you covered! Keep reading for your ultimate one-day Cambridge itinerary.

What to do in Cambridge for a Day

Here’s my suggested Cambridge route for your one-day itinerary, which will take you past all of the following attractions: Emmanuel College, Christ College, Cambridge Market Square, Great St Mary’s, King’s College Chapel, Mathematical Bridge, King’s College Bridge, Bridge of Sighs, Fitzbillies, River Cam for the must-do punting, and Jesus Green. Don’t forget to stop by The Tivoli and La Raza for rooftop drinks and yummy tapas!

This page contains affiliate links.

Tips for your Day Out in Cambridge

  • I highly recommend wearing trainers for comfort! The above route, which will take you past my favourite spots in Cambridge, is around 4.5 miles.
  • Parking in Cambridge city centre is expensive, so read the transport section below for cheaper alternatives.
  • Avoid College fatigue! Don’t feel that you need to tour every university. You can usually see the beautiful grounds from the main gates.

The Perfect Cambridge Day Trip Itinerary

With so many enticing options, narrowing down your Cambridge itinerary to just one day can be challenging. However, by focusing on the main attractions in the city centre, you’ll undoubtedly make the most of your visit to this stunning destination. Let’s begin our exploration right in the heart of the city at Emmanuel College, following the order of the Cambridge map.

Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

Emmanuel College, established in 1584, now boasts a bustling community of approximately 700 students, delving into nearly every subject offered by the University. The college is open to guests daily 9-5pm. Find out more about Cambridge college access.

Christ College

Christ’s College, originally established as God’s House by the visionary William Byngham in the ancient year of 1437, underwent transformation when the land was sold shortly thereafter to facilitate the expansion of King’s College.

Cambridge Market Square

The Cambridge Market Square is an absolute gem for lunchtime delights! The aroma is simply irresistible, ranging from savoury metre-long paellas to tantalising Asian noodles, Jerk chicken, and Cypriot gyros. Whether you’re indulging in coffees and sweet treats or a hearty lunch, this bustling square offers a picturesque setting to unwind and watch the world pass by.

The food market in Cambridge City Centre

Great St Mary’s Church & King’s College Chapel

King’s College, founded by King Henry VI in 1441, is an absolute must-visit in Cambridge, celebrated as one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. It boasts the world’s largest fan vault, alongside stunning stained-glass windows. Adult tickets to explore King’s College Chapel and grounds rounds start from £15. It’s worth checking their events schedule as it is occasionally closed to the public. If you’re looking to do a Cambridge walking tour, some tickets include Kings College entry too! For a truly breathtaking view, admire the beauty of the college and church from the serene Cam riverside.

Ascend to the top of St. Mary’s Church for breathtaking panoramic vistas of Cambridge! With 123 steps to conquer, it’s not for the faint-hearted, but the 360° views make every step worthwhile. Adult tickets from £7

Cambridge Bridges

The Mathematical Bridge, King’s College Bridge, and Bridge of Sighs are iconic landmarks in Cambridge, each with its own fascinating story to tell. To delve deeper into their history and significance, consider joining a punting tour with a knowledgeable guide. From the tranquil waters of the river, you’ll gain unique insights into these architectural marvels and their place in Cambridge’s rich heritage. See below for punting tour details.

Fitzbillies Cambridge

Fitzbillies Cambridge, established in 1920, is renowned for its mouthwatering Chelsea buns. These delectable treats have garnered a loyal following over the years, drawing visitors from far and wide to savour their irresistible sweetness. Directly opposite from this Bridge Street branch is the Cambridge Wine Merchants, which on a sunny day is a wonderful place to sit outside, sip exquisite wine and enjoy a cheese board.

Punting in Cambridge

No Cambridge day trip is truly complete without indulging in a quintessential punting tour. While tickets are available from street vendors, be prepared for bustling crowds as this activity is one of the city’s most loved attractions. Consider pre-booking this 50-minute shared punting tour with a knowledgeable guide. Highlights include gliding beneath the iconic stone-covered Bridge of Sighs, admiring the sublime King’s College Chapel from the tranquil waters, and passing by the historic (1640) Clare College Bridge. Cruise past renowned landmarks such as Trinity College, Queens’ College, and St John’s College while gaining fascinating insights into the evolution of Cambridge into a world-class centre for education. Punting in Cambridge from £30pp

Powered by GetYourGuide

Jesus Green

Unwind in Jesus Green, an exquisite park conveniently located just moments away from Cambridge city center. Within its tranquil confines, you’ll discover the Jesus Green Lido, offering a refreshing retreat on warm days, alongside the city’s sole public grass tennis courts. Additionally, the park features a delightful children’s play area, a thrilling skate park, and complimentary table tennis facilities for all to enjoy.

Walking Tours in Cambridge

If you’d like to delve deeper into the rich history of the University of Cambridge, why not embark on a guided tour? Here’s my two recommended options;

Set off your exploration from the vibrant city centre, where you’ll be treated to a captivating narrative highlighting the quirks and wonders that have placed Cambridge on the global map. Take in iconic sights such as the renowned Mathematical Bridge at Queens’ College and the grandeur of the Senate House. Marvel at the majestic stained glass windows of King’s College Chapel as you immerse yourself in the rich history of this esteemed city. Cambridge Walking tour from £19.99 per person.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Led by a knowledgeable student or graduate, this 1.5 hour tour offers an immersive journey through the university’s prestigious campuses and iconic landmarks. Beginning at King’s College on King’s Parade, you’ll pass renowned colleges such as Corpus Christi College, Queens’ College, Trinity Hall, and Trinity College. Along the way, discover fascinating insights into the lives of notable alumni like King Charles III, Sir Isaac Newton, and Stephen Hawking. Cambridge Walking Tour From £25pp.

Tivoli Cambridge

Explore the vibrant Tivoli Cambridge, spanning across three floors and offering a picturesque rooftop terrace with scenic views of the river and park. Enjoy entertaining activities like shuffleboard and quirky crazy golf. Discover more about this lively hotspot in my blog ‘Tivoli Cambridge‘. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in their delightful Lemoncello spritz cocktails and mouthwatering pizzas!

La Raza Tapas

If you’ve been exploring Cambridge all day and your tired legs need a break from street food, head to La Raza, tucked away in a charming cobblestone alleyway just off the market square. With its outdoor seating, it’s the perfect spot to unwind, especially in the summer months. We indulged in cocktails and soaked in the vibrant charm of Cambridge while enjoying our delicious lunch. Choosing from their enticing selection was tough, but I couldn’t resist their Croquetas and Patatas Bravas. The sauces were simply irresistible!

Town and Gown, Pub & Theatre

Looking for a unique date night experience in Cambridge? Look no further than the Town and Gown, a quirky bar with its own theatre! Be sure to check out their events page to see what’s on during your visit to Cambridge. With shuffleboard, cosy wooden seating pods, a small but charming terrace, and theatrical-style dining options, it’s the perfect spot for some pre-show fun before catching a performance.

Kibou Cambridge

Indulge in an unforgettable culinary experience at Kibou Cambridge, where every bite is a testament to Japanese culinary mastery. Nestled in the heart of Cambridge, it’s the perfect stop to savour exquisite sushi amidst the city’s historic charm. Read my review of Kibou Cambridge.

Extend Your Stay: Unlocking More of Cambridge’s Charms

If a Cambridge day trip just isn’t long enough and your lucky enough to be you’re extending your stay, dive deeper into the city’s offerings with my guides on the Newmarket races, Cambridge date ideas for a memorable night out, and indulgent afternoon tea experiences. As for accommodations, consider the luxurious Varsity with its central location and rooftop cocktail bar for a lavish experience, or opt for the budget-friendly Travelodge, just a quick 10-minute taxi ride from the city centre.

Looking for outfits you can dress easily from day to night? Check out my 15 ways to wear faux leather leggings, spring outfits guide and casual date night outfits.


How to get to Cambridge

Getting to Cambridge is easy, but keep in mind that parking in the city centre can be limited and expensive.

By Car

To reach Cambridge by car, take the M11 motorway if traveling from London or the A14 if coming from the Midlands or East Anglia. From London, the journey typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours depending on traffic.

Cambridge Parking

City centre car parks in the day are from £23 for up to 5 hours and more during peak times. Evening parking from 6pm can be found for free. There are 5 Cambridge park and ride spots dotted around the city, each free to park at for up to 18 hours. Buses to the city centre depart every 10 minutes and cost £2 for a single or £3.50 for an adult return ticket.

Cambridge E-Scooters

Looking for a fun and convenient way to get around Cambridge on your day trip? Consider renting an E-scooter from Voi. My best friend and I tried out the scooters from the Trumpington Park & Ride and had a blast exploring the city. The app provides drop-off locations to help you find a spot to leave your scooter when you’re done. Remember, safety first, be mindful of traffic and pedestrians while riding. We paid £10 each for a 45-minute rental.

Top Tip: Download the Voi app before you travel as you’ll need to verify your driving license and complete a quick quiz to ensure you’re roadworthy.

Trains; London to Cambridge

For those traveling by train, Cambridge is well-connected to London King’s Cross Station, with regular services operated by Great Northern and Thameslink. The journey from London to Cambridge typically takes around 1 hour, making it a convenient option for day trips or longer stays. Upon arrival at Cambridge Railway Station, the city centre is roughly a ten minutes walk.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial