Lili's Travel Diary #20: Cambridge

On March 12, I took a day trip up to Cambridge through my university. They offered us this thing called a social program where we can sign up for as many opportunities as we wanted to. I chose to sign up for this trip because I'd regret not exploring one of the premiere uni towns in England. I was doing so much exploring outside of England that I forgot that it's important to explore within it as well.

As we took off in the bus, I crossed my fingers that this trip would turn out better than Wales--the only other social program trip I signed up for. Boy, was that a doozy of an experience. Thankfully this trip was so much better. A calmer day trip, but amazing all the same.

Firstly, we had a tour guide that actually gave us a tour! Absolutely amazing! He took us on an hour walking tour of the city, pointing out all the famous branches of Cambridge University and giving us a bit of background to the famous university.

I really liked learning about King's College. Remember, college is different from university here. It's like our last 2 years of high school in America where you go to a special school to do your A levels in order to go to uni. King's College is a constituent of Cambridge University that is very hard to get into because if you pass your A levels, you just move right on to Cambridge. I can only imagine how crazily competitive it is. I can, however, tell you that it is absolutely beautiful. See the pictures below for some of the views of its magnificent structure. Unfortunately, our tour ended around 11am and viewing for the university closed at noon this day, so I wasn't able to go inside like I initially wanted, but c'est la view. I still had an awesome time.

After King's College, the other college that feeds into Cambridge University that I thought was most interesting was Trinity College. Again, it was closed to the public on this Saturday. Oh well. Again, it had beautiful architecture and I am forever wishing buildings in America can look this nice. As you can see in the picture below, there is a statue of Henry VIII welcoming you to the university because he founded it in 1546. This statue is the center of many epic pranks. In his hand he holds a small sword that is actually a chair leg because students climbed up there as a prank many years ago. Sometime in the 1980s, students climbed up again and replaced the chair leg that he is holding with a bicycle pump. College officials were not having it and then replaced the bicycle pump with a new chair leg that remains today instead of a sword because they had grown accustomed to it. I think this is absolutely hilarious!

After completing our tour, our guide gave us a few hours to wander on our own and do what we pleased before indulging in a local tradition later. We were to meet at the famous round church when the clock struck 3:30. I went and grabbed a cheap lunch at Subway, and frantically started texting Ashley because I was a bit bored and not content with simply wandering around for four hours on a day where uni's weren't receiving visitors. Luckily, she was able to swing around her schedule to hang out for a few hours and I got to see a part of Cambridge most of the comrades on the trip did not venture to. Epic round trip is visible in the picture to the left.

We walked Cambridge's Midsummer Common and enjoyed the beautiful views. She told me that when it is nice out, this green is often filled with people picnicking and sunbathing, perhaps reading a good book. And also cows. Since it's an open square of grass meant for the larger public, people bring out the cows and let them graze here for the day while they hang out. This made a lot of sense because there were a lot of grates in the sidewalks, making it difficult to walk at times, but they were obviously to keep the cows in the commons and not letting them get away! haha

We ended up walking down the River Cam for hours, just talking about, blogging, life, books. It was so nice to just catch up with a blogger friend. I am seeing so many on this trip by mere coincidence, and I love it so much. I am forever jealous that she lives in this city because the River Cam is just so so beautiful. I do not ever want to live in a houseboat, but walking this river made my heart twinge with yearning for the briefest of moments.

Eventually, we had to say our goodbyes. Ashley has a life in Cambridge while it is just a small vacation for me, and I had a little bit of exploring to do in my last hour of free time. I headed back into the heart of the city where I explored a few back alley's before stumbling onto the grounds of Clare College, free admission to visitors and surprisingly open despite being right next to King's.

It is on these grounds that I explored Cambridge by crossing over a bridge and getting another gorgeous view of the River Cam.

I will admit that this is one of my favorite pictures of me, ever, taken by a very kind Australian tourist who also took, like, 40 selfies of himself on my phone. haha

Eventually, I wandered out into the back of the college, and found a footpath through Cambridge that gave me this most beautiful view of King's College. Look at the chapel next to one of their regular buildings. I bet living here and learning here is such an experience because everything is so beautiful. What an awesome privilege. 

At this point it was time to head back to the round church because we had one last thing on our agenda: punting! Punting is done on the River Cam and if you visit you can grab a boat with a guide or you can rent out your own boat completely and punt yourself. We saw several people fall in the water attempting to do this, so I'd recommend going with a guide. They use a large stick that they force into the water to push you along the river for 45 minutes - an hour. It's funny when you watch them duck beneath bridges, and it helps if your guide is really cute like ours was. Photo credit of what punts look like to the left goes to my friend Monica, whose Instagram I took this off of because I was a bit of an idiot and forgot to even take a picture of a punt. Oops.

Anyway, this punting trip was beautiful and relaxing, but most of my pictures didn't turn out that well because we had a twelve person punt, so there are random people in nearly all of them. With that in mind, this is an experience I really enjoyed and it is a beautiful way to see the city. If you ever end up there, I highly recommend taking advantage of this touristy opportunity because it is so awesome and you can learn a lot from the guide if you haven't already taken a walking tour.

The best part about Cambridge for me was hanging out with Ashley. Though she was born in America, she has transplanted to England so it is very hard to see her. To be able to have some stolen time with her was awesome, and I am so thankful I wandered off on my own to do so instead of staying with this pack. Cambridge was good to me, but I do not think I could spend anything more than a weekend there, at most.

Ashley of NoseGraze fame and myself <3


  1. It was so lovely hanging out with you! ♥

  2. Cambridge looks beautiful! I can't wait to visit it for myself someday <3

    1. Go in the summer so you can enjoy the commons properly!