Monday Jan 17, 2022

Cambridge Backpacker Travel Guide

Whether you are on a budget or not, if you are thinking of traveling around Cambridge, England any time soon, you may want to read this Cambridge travel guide before you go.

I am living in Cambridge, UK as I write this and have been here for over a year; I’m leaving in a month and a half for my first solo trip. So I thought about making this my first post.

What better place to start than the beautiful city you currently live in?

This guide is more intended for the backpacker than the vacation visitor, but Cambridge isn’t cheap, however if you know where to look and where to go, you can have a great time visiting the museums, botanical gardens, universities and colleges and much more.

How to get to Cambridge

Getting to Cambridge depends on where you come from and your budget.

Stansted airport

If you are traveling by air, Stansted Airport is the closest airport to Cambridge. There is a direct, very easy to find train that runs regularly to Cambridge. Trains take between 30 and 40 minutes and the price ranges from £ 9.50 to £ 12.50 depending on the time of day you go. There is also a bus option that I will explain in the next section.

Bus and coach

There are buses to Cambridge from Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Stansted Airport. You have to decide what is the best form of transportation for you, but using buses will be your cheapest option.

All buses arrive and depart at the Drummer Street and Emmanuel Street bus stops, which are next to each other and located in the very center of the city. For all prices and schedules, the best place to go is the National Express website, which you can find here.

To train

Cambridge has a very good train service and is easy to find. With many connections to London, Stansted Airport and East Anglia, using trains is easily the fastest option if you’re in a rush. There are three main railway lines;

Cross Country – This is a direct link between Stansted Airport and Birmingham, it is the fastest line for anyone traveling from Birmingham or Stansted or anywhere in between.

National Express East Anglia: This train goes to London Liverpool Street. They also have trains heading Ely / Norwich.

First Capital Express: trains to London Kings Cross (can also be spelled London Kings X), also trains to Ely and Kings Lynn. To be honest, I never paid much attention to the railway line I was using and I have used the trains in Cambridge a lot! I tend to use the National Rail website to check times and prices before I go.

Local transportation

If you need to use a bus to get around Cambridge, Stage Coach is your best option. You can get a day pass for £ 3.30 that is valid all day and can be used as many times as you need on all Cambridge Stagecoach buses. Buses run every 10 to 20 minutes.


Staying in Cambridge can be expensive, the cheapest place I know is the YHA, it is a hostel and has very good reviews. Prices are around £ 20 per night. If you want a hotel they can cost at least £ 75 a night up to the £ 400 mark, ouch! So if you’re a backpacker on a budget, staying at the YHA Cambridge Hostel is by far your best option, just a 5-minute walk from the train station and a 15-minute walk from the city center.

Food and drink

There are plenty of places in Cambridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with plenty of places to buy sandwiches, but it’s not cheap, except to pay at least £ 5 for a good meal. Check out this website for a great guide to the cheapest places to eat in Cambridge, England.

Things to do / see

This section could be quite long as there are many things to do, from visiting museums, galleries, universities and colleges to parties at some of the clubs. I have to admit that the nightlife in Cambridge is not the best, but most people visit Cambridge for the attractions rather than the party.


The Fitzwilliam Museum – Free

If art and antiques are your thing, then the Fitz Museum is for you.

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences – Free

This is the Cambridge University Geology Museum.

Cambridge University Museum of Archeology and Anthropology – Free


Whipple Museum – Free

the history of science

County Folk Museum – Free

For folk lovers

Classical Archeology Museum – Free

Another Museum of the CU.

Scott Polar Museum – Free

History of science in Antarctic exploration

Museum of Zoology – Closed until 2016


Kettle Yard – Free

One of the best art galleries in Cambridge.

New Hall Art Collection – Free

Near the Fitz Museum

Pubs and discos

There are many beautiful pubs and a few clubs in Cambridge if you fancy a bit of nightlife.

Fez Club

Probably the most popular club for students, usually between £ 3 and £ 5.

The fountain

This is a pub during the day and turns into a club at night, it is one of the most popular places in Cambridge and depending on what you like this might be the best place to visit. I must say it is my favorite place to go when there is a decent night out.

The King Street Race

My favorite pub, not for everyone, but it has a great atmosphere!

The Regal This is Cambridge’s cheapest place to have a drink, always free entry and located on Regent Street.

For more information on the best pubs and clubs in Cambridge, visit the VisitCambridge website.


Most clearance sites charge around £ 14.00 for adults and £ 7 for children. Here are some of the most popular places to go rowing in Cambridge.

The Cambridge Punting Company – Guided punt tours along the rear of the historic University of Cambridge. Cambridge Chauffeur Punts – See the famous bridges and universities along the River Cam.

Let’s Go Punting – Private and Shared Chauffeured River Tours of Cambridge.

Scudamores Punting – College back bat.

Botanical Gardens

The Cambridge Botanic Gardens, opened in 1846, are home to plants from around the world in 40 acres of gardens and greenhouses. Admission is £ 4.50.

Historical walks

If you are interested in the history of Cambridge and its walks I would recommend this website, it has detailed maps and lots of information!

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