This past weekend I was given the opportunity to visit Cambridge for the weekend and stay at a Travelodge courtesy of their #bloggerlodge campaign.
Of course we jumped at the chance as we have been planning a visit to Cambridge for a while now.
We arrived at nearly 9pm on Friday night which wasn’t a problem at all and we were checked in by very friendly staff and thankfully given a quiet room at the end of a corridor. We weren’t disturbed by any noise even though we were told the lodge was full for the entire weekend.
As you may expect from a Travelodge, the accommodations are basic, no fridge or hairdryer in the room (although you can ask for one from reception), and no phone to call reception. The room was very spacious with a large counter and plenty of space for bags and clothes.
The bed’s mattress was hard but comfortable and we slept very well despite both being used to very soft beds at home.
During our entire stay the staff were very friendly and accommodating, giving us complimentary drinks from the bar when we discovered one of our towels had a very suspect stain on it. The lodge also has a deal with the nearby parking complex and we paid half price for 24 hours of parking once we had our ticket validated at reception.
You are also given a complimentary 30mins of free wifi and then it’s £3 for 24 hours. I decided to give myself a break from the internet for the weekend and just watch TV, something I don’t do at home!
Travelodge Cambridge Central is in fact about a 20 minute walk from Cambridge town centre and an easy bus ride but it is situated within an entertainment complex featuring restaurants, a cinema, gym, bowling alley, Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and a performance venue so you have everything you need at your fingertips while you’re at the Travelodge.
Each morning we had a hot breakfast in the downstairs restaurant that kept us full for a long day of walking and marvelling at the beauty of Cambridge.
Cambridge is too small for traffic so everybody rides bicycles which are parked at every square inch of railing anywhere in the city.
Just in front of King’s College is the market full of delicious foods, flowers and handcrafted gifts.
We had absolutely glorious weather the entire weekend which made for lovely photos (more of which you can find at my Flickr). Above is the enormous, beautiful and famous King’s College.
Unfortunately while we were there, many of the college’s grounds were closed to visitors although you could pay to go inside some of the colleges themselves. The price varied by college.
We headed to the Magdalene College as my mom wanted to visit the Pepys Library. Samuel Pepys kept 10 diaries all written in his own short hand. He studied at Magdalene College in the 1600’s and during his lifetime collected over 3000 books, all of which can be found in his library which has been kept, including his desk, as it was when he was alive some 300 years ago.
There was no photography allowed in the library but I snuck this one on my phone to show you the beautiful bookcases he had specially made to house all of his books. Large books kept at the bottom and then small books kept in front of a row of large books with each bookcase numbered and an inventory kept of which book is where.
The books span all kinds of genre’s and he states in his diaries that a person’s library should contain as many books on as many topics as a person can contain. His books included language, science, maths, nature and travel books among many others.
Everywhere along the river you can find male college students selling punting trips and, unlike street sellers you may encounter in many other countries, these boys were very easy on the eyes, polite and happy to impart their local history knowledge while you surreptitiously eyeball their bulging biceps haha!
Across the river from Magdalene College, if you like your whiskey, is a whiskey and wine tasting shop.
We decided to take a long stroll around the back of the colleges and along the river as it was very busy in town.
This bridge is known as the mathematical bridge.
The creepy Corpus Clock has an interesting story behind it as told to us by a very sexy punting seller college boy. Apparently, it is meant to remind you to be thoughtful about time and appreciate the moments you have.
It was invented, designed and given to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, by Dr John C Taylor.
The face of the clock is plated in pure gold and is made to resemble radiating ripples, as if a stone had dropped into the middle of a pond of liquid metal. It was created by a series of explosions in a vacuum, pounding the hard metal into shape. The ripples allude to the Big Bang, the central impact which formed the universe and the beginning of time. Above the universe and dominating the clock is an extraordinary monster. Dr John C Taylor uses the word ‘Chronophage’ for this beast, meaning ‘time-eater’, for that is what it seems to be doing, devouring each minute as it passes. It evolves out of a grasshopper, a term used by eighteenth-century horologist John Harrison to describe his invention of an escapement which was a strictly functional innovation.
The Corpus Clock has no hands, or digital numbers. Time is shown by concentric orbits of what appear to be flashing blue lights, darting or progressing at different rates around the circumference of the clock face. The Clock shows conventional time as follows. The outer ring represents the seconds; minutes are shown on the middle ring; the innermost ring indicates the hours. On the hour, once an hour, the clock strikes. This happens with a great rush of lights, as bright and fast as a cascade of fireworks. For each stroke of the strike, the lights of the hour ring appear to rush backwards around a full cycle and then forwards again for another cycle.
Whenever I travel anywhere, I like to look for independent restaurants and coffee shops instead of going to chain places. We came across Pint Shop where we enjoyed some awesome sandwiches, craft cider and a great playlist. They are also the first place I’ve come across in England that sells fresh biltong so I of course bought a bag of my favourite, chilli biltong.
All fed and watered, we spent the afternoon lazily strolling through the shops before heading back to the Travelodge to have a nap and later head out to dinner.
We wanted to go to The Flying Pig which is a 5 minute walk from the Travelodge but unfortunately they were closed that weekend so we walked a little further and had dinner at a French restaurant called La Maison du Steak.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to pay a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum (free entry) and the Cambridge Botanic Gardens (£5 entry) so they are on our list for the next time we take a day trip over because we will definitely visit again.
Cambridge is beautiful and full of handsome old buildings, students, bicycles, nice shops and a lovely canal to go punting on. It’s a lovely city break for those of us in the UK who want to get away locally and not spend too much money and with a pick of at least three Travelodge’s within Cambridge city, totally affordable.
Here’s a little video I did of our weekend in Cambridge.