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Living in Cambridge
Students at the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University have the privilege of studying in a town thats most famous feature is its higher education. Intimidating as this might sound, don’t let it put you off. Along with the academics, Cambridge has become a richly varied town, so there’s plenty to do away from your desk too...
All students need to try punting at least once. Don’t argue, just do it. There is so much centred around boating in Cambridge that you should receive a free degree just for being able to keep track of them all, but one worth seeing is the Bumps. Rowing is a big deal here (and blown even more out of proportion by the annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge universities) but since the River Cam is too narrow in places to have races side by side someone invented the Bumps. It’s four days of rowing races, held twice a year, in which all the boats start the race one behind the other with a gap in between, and try to ‘bump’ the boat in front. Even if no one you know is rowing, it’s still a fun spectacle to watch.
For shopping you’re pretty much spoilt for choice, with a huge range of retail areas clustered around different shopping centres. There’s the Grand Arcade, the Grafton Centre and the Beehive Centre to start you off, while Mill Road has your independent shops and cafes, and international food supermarkets. There’s several big cinemas but Cambridge is really famous for it’s theatre and comedy scene so be sure to check that out. Cambridge is primarily a pub city, but there are a few clubs too if you’re willing to look. Ballare (secretly still Cindies) club, Fez, Lola Lo and the Junction all offer different shades of music, and there’s usually a classical or jazz concert happening somewhere too.
Useful hotspots for students include the famous academic bookshop Heffers, where you can find books on almost any subject known to man. Another is Jesus Green. There are quite a few commons and public parks in Cambridge, all of which are great for some summer afternoon revising, but Jesus Green has a decent skatepark and is also where they hold the beer festival!
To do today
- Get some culture: If we started listing all the museums and galleries in Cambridge(many of which are free) we’d quickly run out of room on the internet, but a couple do deserve special mentions. In no particular order; the Fitzwilliam museum (and The Snug pub round the corner), Kettle’s Yard for modern art, Cambridge Museum of Technology, the Museum of Zoology, the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology and the Museum of Classical Archaeology.
- The Fens: It’s tempting never to leave the city centre, but if you do you’ll find yourself in the beautiful vastness of the Fens. It’s a great place to walk, ride, stalk wildlife, or just enjoy the scenery.
- Just wander: As you’d expect, the architecture in Cambridge city centre is amazing, particularly around the college buildings, and the walk along the river is quite nice too. It’s actually possible to stand on some of the bridges and steal poles from punters as they go underneath!
- Car: Not likely. You won’t need it, and there’s nowhere to park it anyway. The bus service is pretty extensive and can get you everywhere important.
- Bike: Obviously! Cambridge may as well by the cycling capital of the world, with 1 in 5 trips being made by pedal power and some roads actually giving priority to cyclists over cars. But for goodness’ sakes BUY SOME LIGHTS, because with so many cyclists around the police are fond of fining you if you don’t have any. If you’re not a cyclist, be aware that bikes are harder to spot than cars, so be extra careful when crossing a road.
- Taxi: Panther Taxis
Read Cambridge Reviews
The cost of living in Cambridge is really expensive - with rents similar to London prices. As a student, the price of your accommodation will depend on how rich your college is. There aren't many places to eat out, most students just eat in their college's hall. Eating out is very expensive if you do it. There are only three clubs in Cambridge and they're all a bit boring/ cheezy, as well as being pretty expensive. Students often attend "bops" run by colleges, which are usually cheaper and more fun. Pretty much everyone cycles everywhere, although there are also plenty of buses to get around. The train station provides easy access to London, and there are also several coach routes, e.g. to Oxford.