Exploring Cambridge: A Guide for International Students

Cambridge is a city with a name that precedes itself. Famous for its universities and architecture, Cambridge is a top choice for those looking to study in the UK. Aside from the history and university colleges, there is so much more to discover in Cambridge, adding to its reputation of being a vibrant, attractive city.

University of Cambridge

Cambridge University is made up of various colleges, situated around the city. The original school was founded in 1209 and is second oldest English-speaking university. With over 30 colleges, each with its unique architecture and personal history, there is much to explore. 

Find out more about the University Colleges

Cambridge University

Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Museum

Situated on Trumpington Street in the centre of Cambridge, the Fitzwilliam Museum exhibits over half a million objects. The amazing variety of artefacts and art from around the world will capture your imagination for hours. See everything from Egyptian coffins to Impressionist masterpieces; illuminated manuscripts to Renaissance sculpture; rare coins to Asian arts.

The renowned collections are complemented by major exhibitions, events, music, and workshops year-round, and with free admission you can return time after time. 

Explore the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Cambridge University Botanical Garden

A short walk from Fitzwilliam Museum, you will find the Cambridge University Botanical Garden. The garden covers 16 hectares and houses over 8,000 plant species from all over the world to facilitate teaching and research at the university department of Plant Sciences. The Botanical Garden is open every day, with a small entry fee payable. At weekends you can book a free Garden tour with an expert guide to take in the seasonal highlights of the Garden.

Find out more about the University Botanical Garden.

University Botanical Gardens

Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust property in the village of Lode, 5 miles northeast of Cambridge. The property includes a country house, built on the remains of a priory, 125 acres of gardens and landscaped grounds, and a working mill. Entry is free for National Trust members, otherwise visitors pay an entry fee to explore the gardens, house, and Mill. You can’t fail to be amazed by the impressive sculptures scattered around the site. The gardens change significantly with the seasons, meaning that you can visit time and time again and always see something new. 

Explore all that Anglesey Abbey has to offer.

The Backs & Punting on the River Cam

The Backs is the name given to a picturesque area of Cambridge, situated to the east of Queen’s Road in the city centre. Several of the colleges of the University of Cambridge back on to the River Cam, with their grounds covering both banks of the river. You can either enjoy a relaxing walk along the river, taking advantage of the many picnic spots or take a guided Punting tour to enjoy the sights from a different perspective, while taking in the history of Cambridge. 

Those looking for a bit of fun and adventure can hire a punt for a self-guided exploration of the beautiful riverbanks of Cambridge. There are several places to hire a punt, with further information about Scudamores Punting.

Punting on the River Cam

Sedgewick Museum of Earth Sciences

Located on Downing Street, in the centre of Cambridge, The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, is the geology museum of the University of Cambridge. In the University’s oldest museum, you will be taken on a 4.5 billion year journey through time, from the meteoritic building blocks of planets, to the thousands of fossils of animals and plants that illustrate the evolution of life in the oceans, on land and in the air. 

The museum was first established with an exhibition of 10,000 specimens, collected by Dr Jon Woodward over a period of 35 years before the collection was expanded by Adam Sedgewick.

Entry to the museum is free of charge. Find out more about Sedgewick Museum.

Cambridge Museums

n addition to the museums listed above, you will find more than 30 museums to explore across the city of Cambridge. There really is something for everyone. Find further information about the many Cambridge Museums.

Cambridge Museums

Kettle’s Yard

Kettle’s Yard

Kettle’s Yard is a modern and contemporary art gallery maintained by the University of Cambridge. The art exhibitions of Kettle’s Yard are housed in the beautiful former home of the Ede family. Originally displaying the impressive collection amassed by H.S (Jim) Ede, the House was left to the University of Cambridge in 1966. The original House remains largely as the family left it, with works of art in every corner. The exhibits have no labels, to retain the wish that the House remained a collection of works rather than an art gallery or museum. In 1970, the House was extended to include an art gallery and educational centre. 

Kettle’s Yard is free to visit, although a timed ticket may be required. Find out more about Kettle’s Yard.

Church of St. Mary the Great

St Mary the Great is a Church of England parish at the north end of King’s Parade in central Cambridge. It is known locally as Great St Mary’s or simply GSM to distinguish it from “Little St Mary’s”, a smaller Church of England parish in Trumpington. It is one of the Greater Churches and has been the official church of the University of Cambridge since 1209.

The church is open for visitors with tours to the top of the world-famous tower. From the top of the tower, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city of Cambridge. Tickets must be booked in advance. Find out more and book tickets for Church of St. Mary the Great.

Church of St. Mary the Great

Shopping in Cambridge 

Cambridge is a bustling city that is great for shopping. Choose from the high street stores or one of three shopping centres dotted around the city, The Grand Arcade, The Grafton Centre, and Lion Yard. The addition of the main market square and many pop-up retailers means there are plenty of options for a day of retail therapy. Find out more about shopping in Cambridge, https://www.visitcambridge.org/shopping

Other Cambridge attractions to consider:

Escape Rooms

Swimming pool and leisure centre

Outdoor lido


Indoor climbing


The Cambridge Treasure Trail

Find out more here, https://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/things-to-do/east/cambridgeshire/cambridge/teenagers

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