The best walks in Cambridge
Where to go when you’re bored of just walking to Mainsburys, Farawaysburys or Farfarawaysburys.
It’s the start of another Cambridge term, the work will soon begin to pile up and you’ll forget what it ever felt like to relax. But even in the coldest months, it’s possible to get outside and enjoy Cambridge, and there is much more to see than your usual route to and from lectures. (Or to and from your laptop if you’re still stuck with online learning!)
Here are five walks that allow you to explore Cambridge from a different perspective, and may even let you forget about the four deadlines you are somehow behind on… despite it still being week 1.
1. A tour of the Dinky Doors
As beautiful as the city center is, you have most likely walked through it hundreds of times since starting your degree. The view of King’s Parade may not seem quite as unique and breathtaking as it once did. Enter, dinky doors.
Dinky Doors are these tiny pieces of art scattered throughout the city center. They resemble miniature versions of just about everything from grand entrances and portals to other dimensions, to convenience stores selling mysterious items like a googly eye and a discarded bottle cap.
There are currently 11 of these creations you can try to find, and they might just add something new and interesting to your walks, from the Wonder Emporium underneath a staircase in Sussex Street, to Fotodinkymat on the pavement of Mill Road.
If you want to find out more then check out this article that ranks every door in Cam!
2. Grantchester Meadows
If roaming the city center isn’t enough of a distraction from work, then being immersed in nature may do the trick! With the River Cam flowing through and an abundance of trees and wildlife, Grantchester Meadows makes the perfect spot for a quiet walk in nature. And if you’re feeling really brave you can even take a dip in the water (though I take no responsibility for any resulting frostbite you might get at this time of year).
Whilst Grantchester is about 30 minutes away from the city center it is definitely worth the trek, and is much closer for students around the Sidgwick area.
3. Find the River Cam, and just start walking
This route is probably the easiest to follow regardless of what college you are at since you can simply choose the closest part of the river to you and begin to walk, passing the historic city buildings and beautiful parks as you go. My favourite walk of the River Cam is to turn right at the Magdalene bridge and continue down the river.
This stroll can take you past Jesus Green and all the way towards Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows, which are known for their spectacular views and calming atmosphere. This could be a great way to clear your head after a rough supervision whilst also providing some much-needed fresh air.
Even if you don’t make it all the way to the meadows, it’s easy to enjoy the journey downriver where you can see anything from canal boats to the occasional rower crashing into the side.
4. Walk to Girton!
Admittedly this suggestion may not work if you are at Girton… but for the majority of students, it is very easy to go all three years without ever laying eyes on this college, which (if you believe Camfess) is known pretty much exclusively by the fact that it’s far away.
Aside from boasting the largest gardens of any other college and historic Grade II buildings, the 45-minute walk from Sainsbury’s is supplemented by the fun stops you can make along the way. You could start off your trek to Girton with a Bould Brother’s coffee, then take a quick detour up to Castle Hill which is a definite must-see in itself, and regain your energy at the Beefeater Pub just 10 minutes from Girton.
If that isn’t enough to persuade you, then you could take this opportunity to meet up with some of your friends from Girton, I am sure they would appreciate not being the ones to travel to you all of the time!
5. The Cambridge University Botanic Gardens
With entry being completely free for Cambridge students, the Botanic Gardens should definitely be a go-to walk for when you’re feeling stressed. With 8,000 species of plant, you could be there for hours walking around nature, and if you go at dusk you could even see a deer or two!
Not forgetting we are still in the midst of winter; the Botanic Gardens include a series of greenhouses with temperatures that would make you feel as though you’d entered the tropics. These allow you to see a side to nature you definitely couldn’t get on Jesus Green and are a great resource to take advantage of whilst you’re still a student!
The entrance is just a 20-minute walk from the city center and even less from your Downing site lectures.
It is easy to forget how beautiful this city is when you’re hauled up in the library, so why not use the beginning of this term to actually get out and explore Cambridge.
Featured image credits: Vedika Mandapati.