How to occupy your parents in Cambridge

Solving the unnecessary stress of planning a parents’ visit

Your parents bring all of your worldly possessions to and from Cambridge each term, the least they can get is a fun afternoon out of it. How hard can it be?

It is (finally!!) nearing the end of term, and with more free time comes more responsibility to finally agree to family visiting you for a night or two. And if you manage to avoid that, then you still have to accept that anyone coming to pack up all your stuff might want a a few hours to relax before driving you home.

So, the date is set and family are coming to visit. Now what? You may start to panic, realizing that your entire personality and experience of Cambridge is tied to student life. Your parents don’t need a 3AM stressed trip to the library, last minute walks (or runs) to hand in supervision work, and may not enjoy downing VKs at a student club night. So here are some parent-friendly ideas to occupy the people who raised you for 18 years, for at least a few hours.

1. Finally use the electric scooters!

ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! Don’t forget to wear a helmet 🙂 Image credits: Emily Hewett

It can’t get better than watching your parents’ inner seven year old come out during a race across town on the electric scooters! Super fun and easy(ish) to set up, these scooters are dotted literally everywhere in Cambridge, and yet so many students still haven’t tried them out. Even if it is just so that you can speed up the Cambridge tour and get back to that essay sooner, the electric scooters are a must-try. And if you’re scared of going too fast? Head to King’s parade and enjoy the feeling of the scooter almost throwing you off as it slows down to a maximum speed of approximately 0.001 miles per hour.

To use them, all you have to do is get the app, take a photo of the QR code on the scooter, take a photo of a valid ID and add in someone’s bank details. Once you’ve finished racing down the backs, travelling one-handed eating Jack’s or whatever else you want to do, just remember to take a photo of the scooter in a safe location.

2. Check out some student theatre

Image credits: Emily Hewett

With the variety of shows that Cambridge provides, I’m sure you’ll be able to find the right one for you and your parents. Regardless of the fact that they’re all put together by students from start to finish, the plays here can be really great – we particularly loved Unsoiled last week, and this week’s shows look to be just as good!

So, whether you’re looking to laugh, cry, be in suspense all night or somewhere in-between, I’d really recommend taking your parents to see a great show and support some fellow students while you’re at it. And if that wasn’t enough to persuade you, the ADC bar is not only cheap but also sells ice cream! I mean what more could you really want?

3. Go to that restaurant that’s just a bittttttt out of your price range

Lobster’s looking as dead as we all felt in week 5. (Image credits: Emily Hewett)

Your parents coming to visit almost certainty means free food- well, free for you anyway. Why not take this opportunity to try out that restaurant, pub or bar you have always wanted to go to! After all, your parents miss you right? They supposedly even love you, so how could they possibly say no to a nice meal out?

How about the Tipsy Vegan, a new vegan speakeasy in Cambridge, which has a huge variety of food for you and your family to enjoy, from their sticky tofu and cauliflower bowl to the creamy mushroom ragu. And if you’re interested in something with a little more meat, you’ve got to try the Riverbar Steakhouse and Grill. Don’t feel guilty- get that free food!

4. Museums- that’s what old people like, right?

How my friends and I look after a night out. (Image credits: DeFacto via the Creative Commons)

Cambridge has an amazing array of museums you have to try out! The Fitzwilliam Museum boasts over half a million artefacts and the Museum of Zoology has a 21-meter whale skeleton just hanging out at the entrance.

The vast majority of museums in Cambridge are free, and they’re a great way to spend some time with your parents where they can talk about all the old skeletons instead of focusing on what you’ll do with your life after you finish uni. And it’s indoors, which could be a necessity at this time of year (unless you enjoy being battered by what feels like 30mph winds- thanks Cambridge xo).

5. You can never go wrong with a tour of your college

Image credits: Emily Hewett

You’re here every day for eight-or-so weeks, so it’s incredibly easy to forget that a stroll through the gardens, hall, and the (well, depending on the college!) centuries-old buildings can seem pretty fancy to newcomers. Even the cold and unfriendly library could be beautiful in their eyes- whereas to you it just brings up painful memories of week five.

Whilst this is a fool-proof, no-planning-needed activity for you and your parents, I would make sure to stay out of your friends’ way, in case they decide to share some embarrassing stories that were definitely NOT meant for parental ears.

Hopefully these ideas help you to alleviate the stress of planning a day with your parents in Cam. Now you can get back to stressing about far more important things, like whether hall will run out of the only good option by the time you’re back from your 6pm supo.

Feature Image Credits: Emily Hewett

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