Why you should visit Cambridge this autumn

Beautiful walks, cosy pubs and cute cafes, autumn is the perfect time to visit the city of Cambridge. 

Cambridge is one of those places where you can visit any time of year or during any season, but during autumn it glows with beauty. There is always something to see and do, whether it’s out in the open spaces of the River Cam or nestled away in a quaint bookshop or café.

Head up river and you can either hire a punt yourself or hop on a guided tour along the River Cam which weaves around the city. The punts operate according to weather conditions all year round. If you book on a tour your guide will navigate you through the historic sights of Cambridge including, the Mathematical Bridge, Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge University, seven colleges and the city’s eight bridges.

If you prefer keeping your feet dry, head to the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens, a 15 minute walk from the city centre, with entrances on Trumpington Road and Hills Road. The gardens are open all year round and every season brings its own display of colourful delights, horticultural collections and wildlife. From tulips to trees, from chrysanthemums to cactus, this botanic beauty awaits.

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Fancy a bit of history? The Fitzwilliam Museum should be on your list. Again, open all year round, perfect for escaping cold during autumn and winter, and staying cool during the hotter months, the museum is a haven of historical treasures. Displays and collections change with the seasons, so it’s always useful to check on their website to see what is currently on. Recent displays have included urban landscapes and miniaturist art. Admission is free.

Of course, you may be the type of person who enjoys a slower paced day out, and don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about you – we’ve handpicked a few places that will tick your boxes. On Jesus Lane, in a building basement originally a Victorian era Roman Bath, is the Hidden Rooms Cocktail Lounge. Offering an extensive cocktail menu in a modern and chic setting, perfect for day or night-time drinks, this hidden gem is ideal for autumn lazy days or cosy winter afternoons.

If it’s a lazy long afternoon you’re after then there is only one place to go, Fitzbillies on Trumpington Street. It’s best to book as its very popular with locals and visitors alike – good job that its sister café can be found on Bridge Street. Heading down to the river? Fitzbillies will also pack you up an afternoon tea style picnic, packaged in a beautiful wicker basket or disposable packaging. You just need to order 24 hours in advance.

Heading to Cambridge for a special occasion? Midsummer House provides the perfect location for spoiling a family member or loved one. The two-star Michelin restaurant offers a fine dining experience on crisp white linen laid table cloths, set inside a Victorian Villa on Midsummer Common. Chef Patron, Daniel Clifford, known for his appearances on BBC’s annual Great British Menu competition, makes French and British classics the main feature on the menu with an impressive wine list to complement each course and more.

Cambridge is well-known for its literature and we couldn’t leave this magnificent city without popping into a local quirky lesser-known bookshop – it was the name that attracted us – we had to pop in. Located on St Edward’s Passage you’ll come across The Haunted Bookshopso named because of two ghosts that are rumoured to walk the isles of books.

The bookshop is only a tiny little alcove set back from the street – blink and you’ll miss it, but it’s home to hundreds of beautiful illustrated antique children’s stories and antiquarian books suitable for all ages. Even if you are not a literature fan, you’ll appreciate the beauty of these pages of history cocooned in their protective colourfully adorned and worn covers. Call in, if you dare.

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