The seven best things to do in Cambridge on a rainy day

Fun ways to enjoy the city without letting the elements destroy your college puffer


Michaelmas term: an eight-week turmoil of stressful work and steadily worsening weather. After taking the time to get used to endless deadlines and reading lists, sometimes you just need a day to relax and refresh. You look out your window, ready to take a stupid walk for your stupid mental health, and you see the worst – rain.

And on those days when you can’t go for a picnic on Jesus Green, or your rowing outing gets cancelled because of torrential weather, it can be hard to know what to do to chase away the academic-rigour blues. But never fear, we’ve collected a list of the seven best things to do on rainy days as a Cambridge student.

1) Play a board game at The Box Room

A little-known gem in town is The Box Room, a board game café next to Parker’s Piece, and the only one in Cambridge. For those who haven’t been to one before, a board game café sells the usual range of coffee and cakes but also gives you the option of playing the many games they have at their disposal. The Box Room boasts over 500 games, which you can access for only £2 per person per hour. It can be a super fun way to catch up with friends and discover new board games while staying warm and dry.

2) Watch a student play

Dozens of shows are put on by Cambridge students every week, whether it be a Christmas pantomime held in your college, an opera your flatmate is playing the clarinet in, or a musical at the ADC. Whatever you’re interested in, there will be a play here that caters to you. Maybe you’ll even end up in one of them yourself!

Image credit: N. Chadwick via Creative Commons License

3) Discover a cosy café

Nothing beats a hot cup of tea or coffee to warm you up after a walk through winter rain, and there’s no shortage of spots to grab a cuppa in town. So take an hour out at The Locker or Espresso Library to read through this week’s most scandalous Camfesses, listen to the new Taylor Swift album, and eat unreasonable amounts of avocado toast.

(Tip for freshers: a disproportionate amount of Crushbridges are aimed at students seen in Pret or Waterstones Café)

4) Explore one of the university’s many museums

One of the things that nearly everyone wants to do before they graduate is visit The Fitzwilliam Museum, a stunning piece of architecture which hosts half a million artefacts and pieces of art from around the world. Why not tick it off the bucket list on a rainy day?

Even if history and art aren’t your vibe, Cambridge will have the museum for you, with options ranging from rocks and fossils to anthropology. Check out the full list of options here.

Image credits: Vedika Mandapati

5) Window shop in the Grand Arcade

In a world ravaged by rain, our only solace is fairy lights and pretty colours, so why not take a trip to the Grand Arcade and browse for items to brighten your room? Take a friend and play ‘who can find the whackiest item from Flying Tiger?’ Visit New Look to finally achieve your dreams of being the ‘best-dressed’ at the Sidgwick site, or do a photo shoot in the Ted Baker changing rooms, trying on clothes you can’t afford.

6) Visit a new library

Few people ever manage to visit every library in Cambridge, but a rainy day can be the perfect time to start trying. Whether you plan on working, reading, or watching Netflix on your laptop, going with a friend to their department library lets you explore new parts of town and discover the perfect study spot. Just make sure you choose one with a radiator that you can cuddle up to while you watch the rain come down!

Image credits: Vedika Mandapati

7) Waterproofs exist!

If you don’t mind getting a bit damp, the rain can be incredibly atmospheric, especially against the backdrop of the stunning college buildings. Go put on a waterproof (not the puffer, do not ruin the puffer) and have your main character/”I’m in a music video” moment walking through Cambridge in search of cows, dinky doors and cute photo spots to elevate your *edgy* Instagram.

Feature image credit: Rosie Smart-Knight

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