Tab Top Ten: Date Spots
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we bring you Cambridge’s bestest hangouts for the perfect romantic date.
Cambridge, for all it’s traditional charm and fairytale scenery, isn’t the biggest of university towns.
Ask any student about university life here and the phrase “the Cambridge bubble” will almost certainly pop up (excuse the pun lol); yes it’s pretty, yes it’s quaint, but it does seem as if every half decent place to socialise in is used up by week three.
This leaves young student lovers, desperate to impress, at a loss: do I really have to take her to Revs for the third time? Will he really be interested in another Fudge-making course? Fear not, supple sweethearts, we have come to the rescue. The following are ten places in Cambridge where your other half will actually want to go, and (unless you get an upset stomach, eat with your mouth full or encounter an ex) should actually enjoy. So, in no particular order:
The Varsity Hotel Roof
Your date will be blown away by this simultaneously scenic and suave rooftop bar. The closest thing you can get to one of London’s skyscraper haunts, enjoy switching from gazing into your lover’s eyes to taking in the breath-taking scenery Cambridge and beyond has to offer.
Best time to visit: Spring. Hot enough to not have to talk about Storm Imogen every time the convo gets awkward, but not heaving with sweaty May Week fun-seekers.
We know this is massively clichéd and that most of you will recoil at the thought of asking your better half onto a wooden boat while a guy who thinks he is jokes and has a suspiciously proficient use of his left arm ogles at you every time you hold hands. But punting really is funting – you get to see into loads of colleges you probably haven’t been arsed to visit, you get to snuggle, and you do feel ‘so Cambridge.’
Best time to visit: Weekdays, you don’t want to partake in the battle of Trafalgar with 800 other tourist couples trying to go on a niche Cambridge date. Also, try night times – you’ll have to punt yourselves, but it is pretty awesome/more private teehee.
Bread and Meat
The most ‘shoreditch’ of the Meat Street restaurants, Bread and Meat does what it says on the tin. Serving a selection of 4 delicious sandwiches, or salads, it is a simple and low-key spot which will make your date think you’re from North London. If a bit pricey, you can still eat for less than a tenner – so you can pay if you’re feeling generous.
Best time to visit: Lunchtime – it usually closes quite early, and it will also be quieter.
Even if you’re single, this is the perfect place to eat your feelings.
Cambridge Botanical Gardens
Spend hours frolicking in the luscious, flower-laden meadows of the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens. Channel your inner Keats and be at one with nature – who knows, you could even swipe a cheeky daffodil to the delight of your date. Unwind post-excursion at the charmingly quaint on-sight cafè.
Best time to visit: When the weather’s not shit. Obviously.
Go when it looks pretty, like this.
The Red Lion
Though not strictly in Cambridge, we feel as if allowances can be made for Grantchester’s finest gastro-pub. What better way to spend a day than taking a long stroll through the Cambridgeshire countryside, building up an appetite which will undoubtedly be filled by the Lion’s delicious pub food.
Best time to visit: Sundays – the roast is amazing and you are unlikely to want to walk anywhere after Wednesday Cindies, Thursday Fez or Sunday Life. Plus no lectures yay.
Indulge your sweet tooth by going on a fudge-making course. A fun, original and hands-on date, they will love it when you cutely get fudge stuck on your nose or drop your iPhone in the mixture. Sticky fingers you may get (oh stop it), but its building up your adorableness will make it all worthwhile.
Best time to visit: Again, weekdays. King’s parade looks like the fucking marathon on weekends.
Seductively stir fudge in front of your partner.
Perfect if your date is a foodie/has Instagram, foodPark is Cambridge’s first ever collective of street food traders. Here to brighten up your daily dining with their lunchtime street food markets and pop-up events, they pride themselves on serving “good food not fast food”. A great place to go out to eat without spending much, and avoiding the potentially awkward and daunting task of having to sit facing each other for an hour.
Best time to visit: Fridays (as this is the day they generally occur). Keep an eye on the website though.
Zhonghua Traditional Snacks
Don’t be fooled by the bare, Stazi-esque interior: the dumplings here are BANGING. Really cheap and not too far away, this hidden gem is one of Cambridge’s lesser known secrets. If you like dumplings, and kind of want to feel like you live in New York, go here. You won’t regret it.
Best time to visit: Evenings – the minimalistic charm and harsh lighting is slightly lost when you can see the bloke in the house across having a shower.
You’ve kissed in Lola’s. You’ve put in the groundwork. You’re solidly on 4 ‘x’s. How better than to secure the chirpse than to invite him/her to Cambridge’s best Italian restaurant? They’ll think they’re in Rome or Milan as they embark on the Italo-Cambridge odyssey of food, and you can both chuckle sheepishly at your mutual food-babies that will have inevitably developed by the end of the meal.
Best time to visit: Anytime. Italian food is good 24/7.
Vue Cinema Lounge
In their own words: “Business class. Standard price. We’ve replaced every single seat in Cambridge with our new Recliner seat. The ultimate viewing experience, at our standard price.” Enjoy the latest blockbusters with your feet up, at a student-friendly price. Yes, it’s in the Grafton Centre, and yes, that is miles away, but what a great way to familiarise your other half with the notion of lying next to each other, while being allowed to eat M&Ms.
Best time to visit: The evening – matinees aren’t very romantic, and walking to the Grafton Centre in the light just reminds you as to the extent of the voyage you have embarked upon.
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and may the force be with you xoxo