Moving to Cambridge area.

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  • Moving to Cambridge area.
  • Hi All,

    Wife has landed a job in Cambridge (Hurrah!), so we’re moving over end of January. Although we own a flat in Edinburgh, we’re not going to be able to sell it anytime soon, so looking to rent in a place that’s commutable to the centre, without blowing the budget.

    We’ve been looking at places within the city, and Waterbeach, Ely, Shelford etc. – basically, places a short train ride away. Is it feasible to commute by bus from the other outlying areas (away from the trainlines)? We both drive, but don’t want to commit to driving into Cambridge.

    Not gripped by living in the city – we much prefer a bit of space, and aren’t too bothered about nightlife. An ideal would be a small town or large village, (and no need to worry about schools.)

    Any places to look out for? Good or bad.

    Thanks for any advice anyone can offer.


    North of Cambridge is cheaper, south is more exclusive.

    Don’t be afraid to look at villages along the new guided busway, west of Cambridge, and bear in mind that should you want to drive to Cambridge to work, there are lots of Park and Rides.

    Oh, and there are cycle routes into town from miles out, in pretty much all directions.

    It’s a nice place, but there’s not much in the way of singletrack.


    There is a new guided busway that goes from St Ives/Huntingdon way into the centre of Cambridge.

    Living in the centre of Cambridge can be pretty pricey.

    Ely is not too far by train and seems nice place to live.

    I am more familiar with the villages to the North of Cambridge. It would be worth looking at Milton, Histon, Cottenham, Girton.
    I used to live in Cottenham and was quite familiar with the other places mentioned. Cottenham was a great village, until the whole Fen traveller site thing kicked off and it became a bit of a no-go zone. I think that it has all calmed down now, but it would be worth investigating further. I loved living in Cottenham, there were some great pubs there!

    Grizla, Stumpy – that’s the local knowledge I’m after! Thanks!

    Had been looking at the park and rides, but will investigate the busway.

    Singletrack. Yeah, I figured it’s not going to be great riding wise, but it’s a job offer we couldn’t refuse. Accepted I’m going to have to rely on driving a distance to go ‘mountain’ biking.


    Riding isn’t great, but Thetford is only a 40 min drive up the road and has plenty of fun, swoopy singletrack if not much in the way of elevation.

    Premier Icon footflaps

    Living in the centre has its advantages – you don’t need a car, can cycle everywhere….

    Villages just North of the A14 would be an easy cycle commute eg Histon, Impington, Milton.

    Whereabouts will your wife be working?

    Lots of active cycle clubs – both MTB and road – although the local off-road riding is pretty pants…


    The station isn’t that close to the centre of town so bear that in mind. I used to cycle everywhere as there really aren’t any hills south of the city where I lived (the bridges over the rail lines were about it!). If you don’t need to go to London often then avoid towns on the London lines as they will cost more to live in.

    General question for anyone living there though how is the guided busway? Last I saw it looked like a new canal!

    Whereabouts will your wife be working?

    [quote]The station isn’t that close to the centre of town[/quote]She’s going to be working at the top of Hills Road, about a half mile from the station. I might be able to persuade her to take up cycling again, as she hates hills, so should be fine in Cambridge!

    avoid towns on the London lines

    Is that both to the north (i.e. Waterbeach, Ely) or just to the south (Shelford)?

    Lots of active cycle clubs – both MTB and road


    Premier Icon ir_bandito

    I lived in Histon for 5 years. ’twas lovely.
    Lots of pubs, out of town, but not too far.

    Premier Icon footflaps

    If your wife’s not into cycling, you’d be looking at somewhere with a rail station – you don’t want to be driving into Cambridge during rush hour – horrendous and parking is a nightmare (unless her work has private spaces).

    Thanks all.

    I’ll add Histon and Impington onto the list of places to consider, although the train option is still looking like a good bet.


    The guided busway is now running fine although the bloody traffic lights add to my congestion!! Also the bus driver did try and squash a cyclist. There is a cycle lane along the side of the busway all the way into Cambs. When the A14 is running it is possibly slower than the bus beforehand but the A14 does clog up often.

    Histon/Cottenham get you a lot closer to cambs then say St.Ives or Swavesey. Also look at Papworth, Cambourne even Bar Hill 😕

    Ely has a trainline I think Waterbeach also, although check out the prices beforehand as it can add up.

    In Cambs I think Newmarket Road?Coldhams Lane are cheaper areas although I may be corrected.

    Bike shops, I’ve never really liked any of them although Ben Hayward are better tooled than the rest.


    oh and the busway I think runs to Addenbrookes hospital which is conveniently at the end of Hills Road.

    check out the prices beforehand as it can add up

    £3 return from Waterbeach, 6-10 mins, £6 from Ely, 16-25 mins. I’ve been doing homework 😀

    If you fancy joining a group then CAMMTB have rides every Tuesday & Thursday starting from near the town centre. Rides are 25-35 milers at a good pace with a pub stop thrown in-late night obligatory 🙂
    As for hills, don’t believe the myths, we can get 1100ft of climbing easy if we link all the hills together!!
    Cambridge is a pretty good place to live, the Town Centre is a pretty lively place if you want it to be with lots of good pubs & eateries.

    Premier Icon Sandwich

    North of Cambridge are the Fens, be afraid….

    reluctantwrinkly – thanks for that, I’ve had a wee look at them online. Biking and Pub – sounds like my kind of group! Is it a separate entity to the Mutts Nutts?

    Currently I live in Delaware, USA, it’s “flat” but there is enough grade to make for some good riding.

    lots of good pubs & eateries

    In the short term, it’s going to be all about saving pennies, until I can get a job (easier said than done these days…)


    What’s your current job Militant biker?

    What’s your current job Militant biker?

    I used to be an in-house graphic designer. In the US I’ve been volunteering as a graphic designer and trailbuilder due to visa restrictions. Looking for graphic design and artworker type of jobs.


    Actually have a look on Cambridge University jobs site, I’m 99% sure I saw a graphic designer job on there, which may come with huge university holiday entitlement!

    Thanks tails, been on a few job sites, but that one looks good. Unis, yep – I’ve already been searching them, and Anglia Ruskin. My BIL works for a uni as an accountant, but gets the long uni holidays. It appeals!


    Hi MB,
    I’ve got a place in Cherry Hinton (just south of town)available to rent from mid Jan.
    2 bed end of terrace with big secure bike space, Garden close to lots of facilities and a short bike ride to town.
    contact me if interested stuartgossAThotmailDOTcom

    Premier Icon Ogg

    I’m not a great fan of the north of Cambs but Histon, Milton etc are OK.
    I lived in Ely for a few years I wouldn’t recommend it.
    Shelford/Sawston are good with plenty of shops,restaurants etc on your doorstop plus easy access to M11+A11 for when you want to get anywhere else in the country. Shelford is a 3 mile ride into Cambridge with reasonable cycle lanes or paths available – commuting by car into Cambridge is often slower than riding.

    Premier Icon footflaps

    Cambridge is almost recession proof – so no shortage of jobs, so I’m sure you’ll find something (but also, not much in the way of cheap accommodation). Cherry Hinton to Hills road is an easy bike commute, although every so slightly up hill!

    Stugus – thanks, YGM.

    I lived in Ely for a few years I wouldn’t recommend it.

    For which reasons Ogg?


    If I had to move back I’d personally consider
    Cherry hinton
    little shelford/shelford/stapleford
    Whittlesford and possibly Duxford.

    I’d rule out sawston, ely and milton on the grounds of them being poo.


    I live in Longstanton north of Cambridge on the guided bus route. Its a very quiet village but, cheap housing compared to the city and decent access to Cambridge via guided bus, car and bike. The Guided bus also has a cycle route alongside, smooth flat tarmac makes for a fast commuter route.

    As mentioned by other peps theres also a ring of park and rides around the city on all major routes.

    Parking prices in the city are steep so bus or bike for me are the best options.

    Yes, CAMMTB are a separate group to the Mutts.I live in Cherryhinton which is easily bikeable to town. Have to confirm that it is often quicker by bike than car for a commute.


    Bar Hill.

    NO. Just NO. Abandon hope, all ye who enter! Although houses are cheap.

    Bike Shops. Ben Hayward’s completely wrecked a set of Magura Julie’s of mine trying to bleed them, rather than just admit he didn’t know what he was doing. Ended up having to send them back to Magura.

    JT Cycles in Ely is supposed to be the best place around; although not exactly local.

    Again – thanks to all for the valuable info.

    reluctantwrinkly – what’s Cherry Hinton like as a place to live? Is it mainly a dormitory for the city, or does it have a life of it’s own?


    I lived in Cambridge for nearly 25 years (now living in Fineshade near Stamford).

    Great place, lots of culture, good shopping, good nightlife, decent-ish restaurants.

    I’d personally stay away from Barhill, Arbury, Fen Ditton, Haverhill etc…

    The surrounding villages ( around 8 mile radius) are much nicer!


    Premier Icon richmars

    Well I like Ely. Not as big as Cambridge, but most of what you need, plus on the railway to Cambridge. I live about 6 miles from Ely, so about 12 to Cambridge. Can be a bit flat but I like it, huge skies.


    I done plenty of work in Cambridge and outside
    Don’t like the outer parts pretty boring and crap

    Centre of Cambridge only part il move too.

    Would agree that north of cambridge or along the guided bus route is preferable. (Sadly I am going to end up south due to the commute distance for the OH).

    Mutts Nuts is just a small group now, mainly a few of us organise stuff and do it. There has been less happening with them for a while.


    I work in Ely, but cover from Shelford to King’s Lynn. Ely has agood train service, like others said anywhere on the miss-guided bus would good. Don’t go to Cottenham, fen capital of the travelers. There is a footpath on the river bank from Ely to Cambridge.

    Cherryhinton is more of a suburb although it is often referred to as a village. It does have it’s own shops though & a couple of decent pubs. also has a good park which hosts the Cambridge Folk Festival every year(actually a world music festival rather than pure wooly-jumper type folk).Very close to the hospital & Hill’s road too if that’s of interest.Centre of Cambridge is a great place to live but rather spendy!.I’ve been in Cherryhinton for 23 years now so must like it!

    Premier Icon tommid

    Come out to Downham Market in Norfolk where I live. 30 minutes on the train, or 45 minute drive/ an hour during rush hour and 40% cheaper than Cambridge. I grew up in cambridge and I love it, but I love being out here, closer to the coast and Thetford.

    Downham Market does have decent prices, but we’d lose a fair chunk of that on extra commuting costs I reckon. Wouldn’t rule it out for somewhere to move to in time though.



    Oi! Stop being rude about Ely… You’re missing the best bit of it… It is CHEAP… honest to god my house here is £100k less than it would cost in Cambridge…

    I’ve lived round here for 10 years since uni, and while I would love to live in town with all its commute-by-bike possibilities (which is the biggest thing I miss since moving out to Ely), if cost of living is an issue – think outside the city.

    Agree with what has been said about Bar Hill tho – avoid like plague, otherwise, anywhere north is cheaper than anywhere south because of London commute, but you really will struggle to go wrong. Not many horrible places to live round here.

    Having said that… Traffic on the A14 is Satan’s idea of fun, so avoid that as your commute and you won’t do too bad.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    too much sky and not enough depth in the gene pool

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