Three exploratory walks through beautiful Cambridge
Cambridge is a stunning walkable city, full of green spaces and the gently flowing River Cam which connects its beautiful squares, historic streets and colleges, offering visitors a choice of scenic walks to immerse themselves in the city’s fascinating history and idyllic natural environments.
Meander along the River Cam from Magdalene Bridge to Stourbridge Common
A lovely walk which visitors can enjoy along the riverbank takes approximately 40 minutes to complete and passes through Cambridge’s most beautiful spots. Visitors can stop for an artisan coffee at Foy, an independent riverside café bar, before starting the walk from the iconic Magdalene Bridge.
The pathway traces the River Cam through Quayside towards Jesus Green, one of the largest college parks where students and locals enjoy picnics on the riverfront on warmer days. When hunger strikes, stop at No. 30, a local café located on Chesterton Road which has become a hub for trendy eateries and bars. The café’s excellent brunch menu followed by a delicious fresh cake or brownie are a must.
Alternatively, sample the skilfully shaped menu at Michelin-starred Midsummer House, where the finest seasonal produce is on offer (booking essential). The route then leads onto Midsummer Common where the university boat houses sit on the opposite side of the riverbank, meaning walkers might even catch the rowers practising up and down the river.
Approaching Stourbridge Common, walkers should look out for the cows which can sometimes be seen grazing on the meadow, whilst scenes depicted inside the Stourbridge Fair Tunnel portray the large medieval fair that used to take place there. The paved walking path then leads out into the open countryside, so those preferring a shorter loop can head back into the city centre.
Take a slow stroll from Cambridge to the riverside village of Grantchester
This river walk takes visitors from the heart of Cambridge to the nearby village of Grantchester in about 45 minutes. Beforehand, stop for a quick snack at Aromi to fuel up, where this much-loved independent café on the corner of Bene’t Street and Peas Hill serves up authentic food, from delicious sourdough pizza to fantastic focaccia.
Alternatively, if the sun is shining, ice cream and sorbet lovers can wander a few doors down to Jack’s Gelato and test out the extensive array of flavours made from fresh ingredients. Starting in the city centre at the iconic King’s Parade, the path winds through the famous ‘Backs’ where walkers can enjoy spectacular views across to the University colleges.
The walk continues south through Sheep’s Green and Coe Fen Nature Reserve, where visitors will discover delightful pastoral scenes of cows and sheep grazing by the water’s edge. Tracing the River Cam, the route then meanders through the countryside, emerging at the peaceful woodland trails of Paradise Nature Reserve. After which, walkers will eventually end up at Grantchester Meadows, a beautiful stretch of land that inspired the 1969 Pink Floyd song of the same name.
The path to this picturesque village is perfect for those accompanied by a furry friend too. For a little break, walkers can head to the dog-friendly Orchard Tea Garden for traditional tea and scones set amongst the fruit trees of an idyllic orchard dating back to 1868. Alternatively, back in the city walkers can stop by the recently opened Garden House, located in the heart of the Graduate Cambridge hotel overlooking the River Cam. Here, diners can share a few dishes from the thoughtfully designed menu featuring an array of carefully curated dishes which range from game to locally sourced vegetables.
Explore the hidden gems of Cambridge on a city trail
Along this trail, visitors can take in many of the famous sights and settings which make this picture-perfect city a walker’s paradise. This wonderful walk begins at the Bridge of Sighs, the grade I listed building, part of the coveted Saint John’s College.
On route, visitors can check out the Round Church to explore one of Cambridge’s most treasured historic landmarks, taking the opportunity to discover the story of Cambridge through film and exhibition. This trail also explores famed tourist attractions such as Trinity Lane, beside Trinity College, where the narrow alley features some breath-taking architecture. Walkers can stop for a coffee and Chelsea bun at Fitzbillies, a charming old school bakery before exploring King’s College Chapel, which is home to the world’s largest fan vaulted ceiling and the famous King’s College Choir.
Across the road is Great St Mary’s Church, which has been at the heart of the University for over 800 years. Here, visitors can climb the tower to take in the far-reaching views. Close by is the famed Corpus Clock, unveiled in 2008 by world-renowned physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking, which mesmerises visitors and locals alike.
The final stop of this walk, the Mathematical Bridge, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Cambridge, located northwest of Silver Street Bridge, connecting two parts of the iconic Queen’s College over the River Cam. When hunger strikes head to The Mill, a traditional riverside pub and the final stop of this walk, here visitors can take in the serenity of the River Cam, cask ale in hand with some hearty food.