Although it's only about a couple of hours drive away, I'd not visited Cambridge until Sunday. I couldn't believe I'd never been before - it's beautiful. It reminds me a lot of Oxford (unsurprisingly!), but it definitely has it's own personality. My dad dropped my mom and me in the outskirts of the city centre and we found our way to the hustle and bustle of the core. It was very busy considering it was a Sunday, but the hoards of tourists emphasised the upbeat, holiday vibe in my opinion :) There's an infinite amount of gorgeous old buildings in Cambridge, it's a very attractive town. A great deal of people cycle in Cambridge, as they do in Oxford, and I admired several brightly coloured bikes with old fashioned wicker baskets. I'd love one, but Birmingham unfortunately isn't particularly bike friendly!
When it comes to shopping there's all the usual highstreet stores, in addition to an endless John Lewis, plenty of adorable independent shops selling antiques and tiny glass bottles with stripy paper straws, and a wonderful market - you're spoilt for choice! My mom and I spent about half an hour ooing and arring at all the gorgeous things in John Lewis. The stationary section was so brilliant that I was literally overwhelmed and on the verge of tears... sad I know, but what can I say!? I like stationery!
There was a band playing in a little space by a church (fab description there Jane!), and they sounded good! I don't exactly understand how an outdoor place can have superior acoustics, but it did seem to be an ideal place to perform. Plenty of other people must've agreed, they had a pretty decent crowd!
The colleges of Cambridge University seem to be lurking around every corner. They're beautiful - such lovely places to live! We didn't go on a tour, but we had a few sneaky looks through the ancient doors. My great uncle went to Cambridge University in 1951 (ish). He was in Corpus Christi College, so we made sure to have a look at that one! He said that we he went all those years ago, there was a roaring fire in the college - sounds cosy!
We had a little picnic by the river, on a patch of grass occupied by several cheery other picnicers. The river seemed very full to me (it's probably supposed to be!), the punters were fairly level with everyone sitting on the ground! Going for a punt looked very pleasant, but I don't fancy being the punter... I can just see myself pushing off from the bank and toppling straight into the water! The river is a pretty scene, the water bordered with greenery, and the punts carrying colourful visitors, navigating through other boats and squeezing under tiny bridges that look as if they should be in a watercolour painting.
One of the last shops I explored was Waterstones, not special exactly because they're everywhere, but it was a very good one! I was on the look out for history books, and had to climb all the way to the top to find them. I couldn't believe how tall it was - five floors I think it was! In the end, the book I wanted (about Brunel) was in the biography section on a different floor anyway! Typical!
On our way back to our picking up spot, my mom and I wondered down one or two side streets that were absolutely gorgeous. The houses had huge looking basements, and were grand but homely. There were little discrete side alleyways with more lovely homes and railings home to glossy bicycles. What a fabulous place to live!
I was thoroughly impressed by Cambridge and I'd love to go back soon! It was bigger than I envisioned, with a maze of beautiful architecture and streets packed with vibrant people - I adored it :)
Follow me on Twitter! @JanesJumbles