Popping the Bubble: Day Trips from Cambridge

Cambridge is great and all, but there’s so much more to see!

As much as we all love the wonderful city we call home, it’s no secret that it can feel a bit insular at times, so much so that it’s even got its own name – “The Cambridge Bubble.” Sometimes it’s good to have a quick escape by exploring some of the exciting locations we have around us (believe it or not, Cambridgeshire has more in it than just Cambridge), especially for those of us who stay here during the holidays. Here’s a list of some of the best destinations for trips around Cambridge, just in time for Christmas!


In my opinion, this historic city is the prettiest place to visit while you’re a student at Cambridge, and is only a short train ride away, meaning you can be there within 20 minutes having only lost £2.90! The main attraction of Ely is the gorgeous cathedral that defines the skyline. It’s perfect if you’re into photography or you just like looking at stunning architecture. There are plenty of scenic walks to be taken along the river that runs through the city, ideal for a New Year’s stroll. Ely is also home to Oliver Cromwell’s house, which now has an exhibition about him and the English Civil War, perfect for all you history lovers! (Old Ollie wasn’t jolly, he was glum and he was proud…)

Ely Cathedral (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons License)

St. Ives

Before you panic, I’m not telling you to go all the way down to Cornwall! We actually have our own St. Ives here in Cambridgeshire, which is a scenic town situated on the River Great Ouse. Like Ely, it is associated with Civil War, and even has one of only four statues erected to Oliver Cromwell in the country.  It also has a lovely nature reserve known as ‘Holt Island,’ which is home to voles, shrews, deer, badgers, bats, foxes and swans. In the summer months, there are also boat trips along the river, which I can say from personal experience are really worth doing!


This one probably won’t come as too much of a surprise to you (if you haven’t heard of London before now, then you have bigger problems to worry about!), and is only an hour-long train ride away. Where else is better to spend the holidays than a place filled with Christmas lights, markets and theatre? The Westend is even showing Elf The Musical! (Living out your own Love Actually fantasy with Hugh Grant is not guaranteed)

The Natural History Museum Ice Rink (Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons License)

Not only is London a great place to get in the Christmas spirit, but it’s also a great pitstop on your way to other destinations that aren’t directly accessible from Cambridge, including Brighton, Bournemouth and Oxford (forgive me Santa, for I have sinned).

Granchester Meadows

This one is a bit closer to home, and doesn’t even need you to get on a train! For those who’ve never been, Granchester is a town just South of Cambridge, which is locally famous for the pretty meadows you have to walk through to get there. This path also runs right next to the river, making it a popular spot for swimming after summer exams. Once you’ve arrived in Granchester, an idyllic tea room awaits to reward you for your efforts.

The Norfolk Coast

If you’re a sea-lover like me, then you might start to feel a bit land-locked after eight weeks in Cambridge. Luckily, the Norfolk Coast is surprisingly close by, with some lovely spots including Cromer Pier, Wells-next-the-Sea, and Horsey Beach, where you can go seal-spotting! The train to King’s Lynn is only 48 minutes long, so why not take a quick trip?

A Horsey Beach seal, aka, your new best friend! (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons License)

Have a wonderful time on your travels around Cambridge this holiday, wherever you go!

Feature image credits: Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons License (map), Keira Quirk (photo)

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