Hidden Gems of Cambridge
Think you know Cambridge? Think again. ADRIAN GRAY has been places you’ve never even dreamed of…
After just two terms in Cambridge, I felt like I’d seen it all when it came to the city’s most exciting attractions. The Fitzwilliam Museum, King’s Chapel, the busker that repeatedly hits a saw while singing out of tune. Everything. You name it, I’d walked past it.
Or so I thought.
You see I recently began cycling as an excuse not to revise, and, as you may know, cycling through central Cambridge is a lot like tackling the Total Wipeout course, only with double-deckers and a sprawling mass of oblivious tourists where you’d usually find some blue foam and Amanda Byram. Consequently, most of my routes have taken me away from the centre and towards parts of the city I’m less familiar with. It’s here I’ve stumbled upon attractions I didn’t know existed…until now.
On my first trip of term, for instance, I found an Aldi, which was ideal, because I needed a cheap crate of eastern European biscuits. On my second trip, I discovered a lovely little village called Girton. I was sold. Cambridge had more to offer than I’d realised and I was determined to seek out its remaining hidden gems. The following are what I’ve deemed, after literally some research, the best, lesser-known attractions in Cambridge.
The Beaver Inn
If you’re tired of The Fountain and The Maypole, The Beaver Inn provides a refreshing alternative to more conventional Cambridge pubs, with a beaver twist. Located on Chesterton road, the pub is often quiet but always welcoming.
Highlights: Upon entrance you’re bound to be blown away the sheer scale of the beaver-based décor. Keep an eye out for the ‘beavers through the years’ display.
Lowlights: Beaver theme can grate after a while.
Lights! Camera! Pasta!
Don’t be put off by the pretentious name: Lights! Camera! Pasta! is a truly unique experience. Combining a traditional Italian menu with an hour long course in the production of short films, this restaurant/studio hybrid is the pinnacle of diverse Cambridge entertainment.
Highlights: Watching footage of you and your friends enjoying a meal only seconds after it’s finished is nothing but a treat – and you’ll be taught how to edit the footage by industry professionals for no additional cost.
Lowlights: Some meals show up more effectively on camera than others, so make sure you pick wisely to avoid compromising your viewing experience. The restaurant can also get busy, especially at weekends.
Despite being a Christ’s student, I didn’t learn of the Christ’s Dungeons until early this term. Now I’ve become a regular visitor to these beautiful and historic chambers.
The Christ’s dungeons were originally a museum, before being converted into a sewer in the late 80s; they’ve since been re-opened to the public and are free to visit on a number of many ‘sewer-free days’ throughout the year.
Highlights: The porters offer a guided tour of the dungeons most weekends, and this is ideal if you don’t fancy thinking for yourself. A brief glimpse of the sadly uncompleted Homerton-Girton tunnel is another high point you’ll be sorry to miss.
Lowlights: The smell of the dungeons is hard to avoid, so make sure to retrieve your free face mask from the porters when you collect the key. Likewise, at three and a half hours in length, the guided tours can drag slightly, so bring a packed lunch.
The Buzz Aldrin Museum
Tucked away towards the bottom of Haymarket Road, The Buzz Aldrin Museum provides a fascinating and affordable insight into the life and death of one of Cambridge’s most distinguished alumni.
Highlights: The museum boasts a life-size replica of Buzz’s helmet – an exhibit made all the more exciting as it’s free to touch! Combine this with over forty drawings of the man himself, and one could easily spend twenty minutes inside.
Lowlights: Visitcambridge.org describes the gift-shop as “reprehensible”, and taking a quick peek inside, it’s not hard to see why. It’s also important to note that the museum has sadly shut down.