Best Day Trips from Cambridge
Cambridge is a historic city located in Cambridgeshire, England, and has been made popular because of its personality and beauty as well as Cambridge University. The pretty city streets are complemented by its close proximity to the River Cam ( (try punting on the river) which adds an attractive quality to the local landscape.
Additionally, the city offers wonderful activities like biking around the city and meandering through Market Square for delicious local food. Aside from the impressive architecture and design of the city, it is also home to relaxing greenspaces and parks where locals go to appreciate the nature and atmosphere of the area. The best museums in Cambridge allow for excellent investigating too.
No matter where you go in Cambridge there is no doubt that it is a beautiful place. However, there might come a time when you want to have a change of scenery or you just want to go on an adventure outside of town to see what there is beyond the city walls. This is when you can consider taking a day trip from Cambridge, and there are quite a few lovely places that you can explore. Once you stow your bags with Bounce in Cambridge, venture out to see the fabulous sights nearby.
How to get out of Cambridge
A benefit of staying in Cambridge is that there is so much to do nearby, and most of the city's main tourist attractions are within walking distance. Biking is also a viable option when getting around within the city center, and there are buses and taxis available when needed as well. Our guide on How to Get Around Cambridge will tell you more.
Most people warn to not drive around Cambridge as it is complicated to navigate, hard to find parking, and has lots of pedestrian-only areas. However, if you are taking a trip outside of the city then having your own car can be a good way to travel. A more affordable and stress-free option is to take the railway from the Cambridge train station which can bring you to other cities in East Anglia and London.
From Cambridge to Stamford
Stamford is a small town situated not too far from Cambridge and it is one of the best day trips in the area. The city is known for its beautiful buildings that were made in the 18th century using locally sourced limestone. They have passed the test of time and leave Stamford as one of the most well preserved cities in the country. You can still enjoy the old-town charm the streets and buildings possess which not only makes it an attractive place to visit but also a popular filming location (you will recognize some parts of the city from Pride and Prejudice!).
Stamford stands as its own attraction and just strolling around the city can be enough to keep you occupied for the day. However, the city also boasts lots of landmarks to check out. Before sightseeing why not take part in some of the local customs, like going out for afternoon tea? Afterward, take a bit of time to stroll along the river that runs through the town, and finally make your way to the Burghley House. This grand estate is one of the top landmarks in the city and is very impressive to see in person.
How to get to Stamford
Ready to head out to Stamford? The city can be reached either by train or by car from Cambridge and takes about the same amount of time to get to either way. Overall, be prepared for an hour long journey and get ready to explore the quaint city of Stamford.
From Cambridge to Ely
Although it is one of England's smallest cities, Ely has quite a lot to offer for anyone looking for an exciting day trip while visiting Cambridge. The city is home to many landmarks, traditions, and attractions that you will love discovering. Fun fact; the city was given its name because it used to be surrounded by marshlands and water, and back then it was known as the City of Eels. These creatures are still a big part of the local culture today, and many people like to eat smoked eels caught right from the River Great Ouse. Maybe you will treat yourself to the delicacy while you are here, too!
One of the main highlights of Ely is the stunning Ely Cathedral which is one of the oldest and largest in England. With its dreaming spires (made famous from the 1866 poem 'Thyrsis') and octagonal tower, it is quite a sight to behold. Those who visit Ely Cathedral and have watched the series The Crown will recognize it right away since it was used to represent Westminster Abbey in some scenes. You can even visit the cathedral for free if you stop by on Sundays and there is a Stained Glass Museum inside. Other things to do in Ely include taking a nice stroll through the Jubilee Gardens, checking out Oliver Cromwell's House, and stopping by the Ely Museum which is situated in the city's former jail.
How to get to Ely
Ely is a simple place to get to from Cambridge and it can be reached either by car or by train. The drive will take less than an hour but if you want to get there even faster, the trains are the more efficient option. Once you leave the train stations it will take only about 20 minutes to get between the two cities.
From Cambridge to Colchester
When you are planning your next trip to Cambridge consider taking a day to explore Colchester. As the oldest recorded town and Britain's very first Roman capital city, it is full of historical attractions that we are sure you will love to see. The city isn't all old, however, and there are lots of fantastic modern activities for you to enjoy as well! While you are in Colchester there are a couple of places that you just have to stop by.
One of the most significant landmarks in the town centre is the Colchester Castle Museum which is housed in an old Norman royal palace. Aside from the fact that the fortress is ancient and impressive, the exhibits and displays in the museum are sure to keep you intrigued, too. Other nearby attractions include Castle Park and the Firstsite Art Gallery. Are you traveling with any kids or animal enthusiasts? The Colchester Zoo will be one of your favorite activities.
How to get to Colchester
Unfortunately, no direct trains run between Cambridge and Colchester. Still, it is a very easy day trip if you have access to your own car, and the drive should only take about an hour and a half.
From Cambridge to London
We probably don't have to tell you much about London since, as the capital of England, it basically speaks for itself. It is one of those cities that everyone should visit once in their lifetime, and while you are already in Cambridge it will be an easy day trip to add to your itinerary. From art and history to entertainment and a fantastic dining scene, this city really has it all! While you are here we definitely recommend going museum hopping; the Natural History Museum and British Museum are great places to start.
As for other types of entertainment in London, you will have the chance to take a tour of Buckingham Palace if you visit during the summertime. The Tower of London is another must-see, and the Greenwich Observatory is a pretty cool landmark as well since it is located on the Prime Meridian. If you are traveling with any Harry Potter fans they should absolutely go on a guided tour, since many of the scenes from the film franchise were shot in this city. There are so many things to do here that your real struggle will be finding time to do them all in a day!
How to get to London
Not only is London a nice place to visit but it is also very easy to get to from Cambridge. It will only take an hour to get between the cities by train and you can hop off at either the Liverpool Street Station or King's Cross Station.
From Cambridge to Norfolk Coast
When you are searching for day trips from Cambridge, the Norfolk Coast is a beautiful place to go. This 90 mile area is home to stunning beaches, imposing cliffsides, intriguing salt marches, and lovely towns that are both inviting and peaceful. It is a great way to see a new side of the country and there are a few villages located close to each other that you can stop by. Some that we recommend include Cley-Next-the-Sea and Wells-Next-the-Sea. Hunstanton is also a great place to check out and is a bit bigger than the other towns mentioned.
If you feel like spending the day at the beach you will have a couple to choose from including Heacham Beach and Caister Beach. You will be surrounded by wonderful natural landscapes on the Norfolk Coast so keep your eye out for wildlife. Those who enjoy birdwatching will want to check out the Blakeney National Nature Reserve! You can also go on a seal-spotting tour by boat, or just admire the scenery by cycling on the bike paths by the coast.
How to get to Norfolk Coast
To get to Norfolk you will definitely want to take a car. The drive is not too challenging and you should be able to get there in about an hour and a half to two hours.
From Cambridge to Norwich
Once one of the most powerful cities in medieval England, Norwich still stands as a significant and historic city today. It holds fast to its roots from the middle ages and is actually one of the UK's most complete medieval cities! Norwich's cobbled streets are home to countless monuments, rare timepieces, and ancient landmarks that make it one of the best day trips from Cambridge.
While you are here why not take a stroll down Elm Hill, which is definitely one of the prettiest streets in the whole town. You will notice that the old town walls have survived the centuries and are actually still intact! The Norwich Cathedral is one of the most impressive landmarks in Norwich as it is known to be one of Europe's finest Romanesque buildings. Of course, no trip to Norwich would be complete without a visit to Norwich Castle. Although no longer a royal residence, the castle was previously used as a prison and now houses a museum with all sorts of artifacts from art to Egyptian antiquities. Norwich is also a market town where you can find one of the oldest and biggest open-air markets in England.
How to get to Norwich
Norwich is easily accessible from Cambridge by car and by train. The whole trip will only take about one hour each way.
Taking a Trip Outside of Cambridge
There are so many fantastic places to go on day trips when you visit Cambridge. Many of them are only a short drive or train ride away making them a great option for when you want to have a new experience in England. There are even more cities and towns throughout the Essex countryside that you can visit, like the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmond's. These beautiful gardens once held the title of one of the most powerful Benedictine monasteries in the country and are sure to be a highlight of your vacation.
There is also the Imperial War Museum in Duxford that is worth visiting, or you can explore the maritime town of King's Lynn. Another truly amazing place to visit is Oxford, which is another famous university town and home to one of Europe's oldest libraries. When the busy city life gets to be too much a day out in nature can be just what you need. The gorgeous Thetford Forest is a paradise for nature lovers and is home to a drive-in safari, plus miles of trails that you can explore by foot, bike, or even on horseback. No matter where you decide to go you are sure to have a blast on your day trip from Cambridge!