A guide to the underrated and undiscovered of Cambridge
Much like green VKs, a lot of Cambridge goes untouched by students. However, unlike green VKs, there is no reason for this.
Cantabs have the bizarre habit of simultaneously complaining that Cambridge is too small and claiming that somewhere more than a 5 minute cycle away is ‘far out’. Here are some ways to avoid this trap.
Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium
A great way to get out of the city quickly and be part of something other than the university for 90 minutes. Go with friends to enjoy the atmosphere, a few drinks and perhaps even the football. Recent FA cup clashes include Leeds, Man United and my hometown club, Dover Athletic. A ticket to see the U’s costs roughly the same as most formals, although you should probably sit with the away fans if you want to keep your gown on.
Charity shopping on Mill Road
Mill Road and most of CB1 feels like a different town to CB2. No tourists or Cambridge colleges, but instead a beautiful selection of international cuisine and a handful of excellent charity shops. Add to your collection of wavy garmz (which probably consists of your mum’s jacket from the 70s and old stash from school), and even if you regret your purchases you’ve at least given to charity.
Relevant Records Café
There are a lot of good places to eat on Mill Road, but Relevant Records offers more. I only discovered that their basement was a record store (the best in Cambridge) when there was no seating upstairs. You can even eat their red velvet cake and listen to The Velvet Underground, whilst sitting on a velvet sofa underground.
…And their disco nights
Smoothie bar by day, cocktail bar by night, Relevant Records offers a stiff antidote to Cindies. Great music courtesy of their resident DJs, intimate rather than suffocating, and free from people you know but rather wouldn’t see. The venue also hosts acoustic and comedy nights.
The Blue Moon Pub
Like Relevant Records, the Blue Moon becomes a cosy live music venue, usually hosting a few gigs a week, as well as talks and poetry sessions. Just across Parker’s piece, and frequent tap takeovers, a change of scene is guaranteed.
Just next door to The Eagle, Jack’s combines a subtle shop front with bold flavours, and has become a staple of many may balls. Feel free to enjoy the free tasters (as long as you buy eventually): personal favourites include olive oil, damson, and honeycomb.
Seven Days Restaurant
On Regent Street just opposite Parker’s Piece, the unassuming Seven Days offers some of the best Chinese Cuisine in Cambridge. Try their soft shell crab and you can’t go wrong.
Board Games at 2648 Cocktail Bar
Tucked away on Trinity Street is a subterranean cocktail bar and burger joint. The cocktails are pretty standard, but the good news is that happy hour is 4 hours long, from 5 to 9 pm. Even better, all food, wine and beer is half price on Sunday. They have a massive selection of board games, and since 90% of Cantabs are vilely competitive this promises to liven up a date. Just don’t play Risk if you want a second.
The Botanical Gardens
A strong contender for the “place most cantabs have been meaning to visit but have never got round to visiting” prize, which is a shame. Entry is free if you bring your CamCard, and quite simply, it’s a beautiful space. Simultaneously peaceful and fascinating, the gardens are a good one if you’ve had enough of people, or want a quiet date.
The one and only hill in Cambridge, Castle Mound lies just between Magdalene and the hill colleges. It offers one of the best views of Cambridge’s skyline and a safe way to enjoy the UL. Go after a night out in summer term to watch the dawn.
Inner Space meditation centre
Tucked away on King’s Parade is this little gem, running free meditation and self-help workshops. You’ll almost certainly need it after navigating the tourists on your way there. The one league table Cambridge seems unbothered by is perhaps the most important: student welfare. Without a doubt, the institution must improve, but in the meantime there are still ways to look after ourselves.
Your DoS will tell you it’s possible to work the 9 to 5, but this hardly ever happens. Work invades any and every day, and it’s easy to feel preoccupied when you try taking a break. Fortunately, a weekend is a weekend in London, and with tickets to Liverpool Street for as little as £5, there’s no reason not to take time away.