Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire boasts a wealth of attractions for visitors to enjoy, from city centre architecture and museums, aviation and train collections to nature reserves in the rolling countryside. Stately homes, glorious gardens and a wide range of festivals and shows make for an enjoyable visit.

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Cambridgeshire Overview

Welcome to Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire is a landlocked East Anglian county bordered by Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, and Northamptonshire.

Cambridgeshire has a population of around 850,000 people, the county town being the city of Cambridge with other significant other towns at Ely, Peterborough, St. Neots, Wisbech and March.

Outside the city of Cambridgeshire, the county is largely rural covering significant amounts of fenland and Holme Fen has the distinction of being the lowest point in the UK. The River Cam and the River Great Ouse flow through the county with punting on the River Cam a popular summer pastime.

Want to find out more? Click here to read our guide on things to do in Cambridgeshire.


History

Cambridge has a significant archaeological importance with finds from the Neolithic period, Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron being found in the county.

Cambridge has a strong military past with both the UK and American armed forces being based in the county with many WW2 missions flown from Cambridgeshire airfields.

The county is famous worldwide for its contribution to education, whilst the Silicon Fen is a reflection of the scientific community and businesses around the county.


Places to Visit in Cambridgeshire

Cambridge dates from 1209 and is located on the River Cam, a picturesque feature of this famous city, world renown for Cambridge University. The university college buildings make walks around the city a must – take in the stunning architecture. Evocative names such as Kings College with its famous Gothic chapel, St. John’s with its 16th century Great Gate and Trinity College. For those looking to shop the new Grand Arcade holds a number of retail outlets whilst others may enjoy The Grafton or Lion Yard Shopping Centre. Elsewhere the cobbled streets contain individual shops, boutiques and open air markets. There are a range of cafes, eateries and cosmopolitan atmosphere in the university city. Enjoy the college greens, river bank and my be take a punt down the river.

Cambridgeshire has a large number of stately homes for visitors to enjoy; Anglesey Abbey Gardens & Lode Mill a luxurious home with collections of furniture, clocks and silver – outside there are over 100 acres of gardens to explore – which helps build up an appetite for visiting the café / restaurant! Wimpole Estate is a huge mansion set in 2,500 acres near Royston where you can explore the rooms of the house and then take to the various gardens, livestock and architecture outside – a truly stunning location. Tucked away in an urban setting, Peckover House near Wisbech is hidden gem of a Georgian Merchant’s House where you can explore the bank exhibition, reflecting the property’s Quaker past before enjoying the rose collection in the gardens. Further afield nature lovers will find a choice of reserves such as Grafham Water Nature Reserve, Fowlmere Nature Reserve, RSPN Nene Washes and Wicken Fen.

Cambridgeshire is home to many fabulous gardens to explore. Cambridge University Botanic Garden covers 40 acres of glasshouses and gardens where you will find over 8,000 species of plants – which attract huge amounts of insect and birdlife. Elton Hall and Garden near Peterborough is a 15th century house with an Edwardian style layout, including a rose garden, Mediterranean Garden and orangery built at the turn of the century. If you’re lucky enough to visit on one of their limited public open days, Chippenham Park Gardens has a lot to offer, including canals, formal gardens and sweeping displays. The Manor Garden near Huntingdon is home to a moated house surrounded by an impressive collection of roses and irises.

Cambridgeshire has a great range of family days out including Ely Cathedral which visitors may recognise from the screen plays of The King’s Speech, Macbeth and The Crown. At Ely Cathedral you will also find the Stained Glass Museum with a collection of stained glass spanning the 13th – 21st centuries. The Cambridge Science Centre is great for aspiring scientists with interactive exhibitions, displays and workshops. The Fitzwilliam Museum contains collections comprising over 500,000 artefacts including Egyptian coffins, sculptures and coins. Nene Valley Railway is a must for train enthusiasts where you can explore steam and diesel engines, enjoy historic coaches and take a journey through the countryside. Imperial War Museum Duxford, about 10 miles south of Cambridge, is a great day out for those interested in aviation. The site of the first Spitfire flights, the hangars are filled with flying machines from the past 100 years. Get up close to the Tiger Moth, Spitfire, Concorde and the RAF’s modern day fighter jet, the Typhoon. There is also an American Museum that houses the B52 bomber. As well as the permanent exhibition the site hosts an annual family friendly air show with plenty of overhead action.

Cambridgeshire’s famous names include director and producer Richard Attenborough, Oliver Cromwell, British Winter Olympian gold medallist Amy Williams and England’s World Cup winning rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward.

Cambridgeshire has a large range of annual events including the Cambridge Beer Festival – the country’s longest running beer festival in the UK, E-Luminate a festival of light, Cherry Hinton Hall’s Folk Festival, Strawberry Fair – an arts and music festival, Strawberries and Cream and the historic Midsummer Fair that has taken place for over 800 years. Given Cambridgeshire’s rural nature and importance of agriculture, there ae also a number of food and drink festivals throughout the county. The county is famous for the blue veined Stilton Cheese – from the village of Stilton.


Getting There

Cambridgeshire’s location means it is easily accessible from the road network with the A14, A11, A1, A1(M) and M11 running through the county, whilst the A428 links to the A421 and M1, including routes from the A303, A4 and the M4 making it easy to get to from London.

There are direct rail links from London, King’s Cross in just over an hour, whilst Stansted Airport can be reached in around half an hour.



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