Home to one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, Cambridge is a small but perfectly formed city steeped in history. It is very much a university town, with the history and fortune of the city and those of the educational institution within it inextricably interlinked. On summer days, the sight of students punting on the river Cam or heading to a May Ball is a common one, and Cambridge’s nightlife and cultural scenes both benefit from the flow of young people and fresh ideas into the city.
With luminaries such as the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, John Milton, Lord Byron, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell among their alumni, the colleges of splendid Cambridge University contain enough sightseeing opportunities for anyone. Most are open to visitors (apart from during exam periods) and embody a rich cornucopia of architectural styles dating back as far as the early 13th century.
Cambridge is a charming, historic and welcoming destination, with more than three and a half million visitors annually and a wealth of attractions. Book flights to Cambridge and you’ll experience a quintessential English city that looks to the future but embodies a strong sense of tradition.
One of England’s driest cities, Cambridge is nonetheless subject to rain at all times of year although its relatively low elevation means that snow is less common than in other areas. July and August are typically the warmest months and January and February the coolest.
The first week of June, known as May Week, comes after exam time, when students are unwinding and university social life peaks, and the city is busiest from then until the end of summer, although the wider tourist season extends from April to September.
During May and early June, students are taking their exams and many colleges may be subject to restricted entry or will be closed to visitors altogether, which should be considered if you wish to tour the University of Cambridge. The winter months are the city’s quietest period for tourism, which is reflected in lower travel and accommodation prices and higher availability.
Cambridge is a very compact city and ideal for pedestrians and cyclists (should you wish to hire a bike), with most of its major sites within easy walking distance of each other.
Sightseeing buses are also available, and the city’s relatively cheap public bus service allows access to the far reaches of town should you wish to go there. Hiring a car is neither necessary nor particularly practical here, as much of the town centre is pedestrianised and parking may be difficult.