Tell me about… Cambridge

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  • Tell me about… Cambridge
  • tang

    I grew up there till age nine, Addenbrookes saved my life once! Great place to be a kid, so if you have some or are planning to they will love it! Some great road rides out of the city.


    I work there – love it!!


    Premier Icon SaxonRider

    I’ve heard there’s a good uni there, but that could just be subjective.

    Other than that, I always found it a bit like York, in the sense that there is a small medieval heart to the city, beyond which everything feels a bit suburban. Nice suburban, mind you, but suburban.


    and too many tourists in the Summer – very much like York.


    Everywhere is within riding distance of Addenbrookes.

    Check out for restaurant/bar/pub reviews and offers.

    If you like pubs, there are plenty (although this map is somewhat out of date):


    King’s College Chapel and Peterhouse Chapel are amazing, the architecture’s mostly lovely all round (some sixties nightmares to be seen), the Botanical Gardens are ace, Devil’s Dyke is a great walk (from Newmarket Racecourse), lots of flowers and birds there, Anglesea Abbey and Wicken Fen (National Trust) are great, Ely’s worth a visit, Saffron Waldon’s nice (plus it has a maze), Audley End’s fab (Jacobean house and a miniature railway).

    Nice place – just been there again and loved it (again)!

    Premier Icon MrGreedy

    And yes, I already know it’s flat!

    I will shortly be moving to a new job so as I’ve got work covered, I’d like your thoughts about where’s good to rest and play. I’m looking to rent within riding distance of Addenbrookes if possible. Recommendations of welcoming bike clubs, good restaurants and pubs also welcome.


    Used to live in Cambridge. Love it, plenty to see & do but quite pricey & can be up it’s own ass.

    Google “Cambridge Accommodation Noticeboard” – a bloke used to run it as a free resource to advertise/search for rooms/flats/houses.
    Not used it for years, so might not be running now.


    The accommodation notice board is still going:

    But these days, I think Gumtree is probably a better resource. Worth checking both TBH.

    Cammtb ride out on Tuesday & Thursday covering the local highways& byways. We have a runs list which specifies the pub for the evening stop-we cover 20-35 miles at a good pace depending on conditions and stop for a couple of jars before heading home-usually quite late!
    We are a good sociable group and ride at Thetford as well on occasions.
    All types welcome-hardtail, full suss, 29 ‘ers, singlespeed, singlespeed 29’ers-you name it.
    Google CAMMTB for our website & forum.
    Welcome to Cambridge (when you get here)-it is flat but we make the most of the few hills we have!
    Loads of good pubs & eateries in Town too-real ale & everything–

    Freezing cold in winter when that bitter wind blows across the fens. Brrrrrrr.

    Big Ted

    I may have moved away from Cambridge in 1994 but I remember it for having some of the best freehouses of anywhere I’ve lived. And 17 years on the memories of some of those remain – The Flying Pig, Cambridge Blue, Live and Let Live, The Empress just to name a few. Plus The Free Press, a non smoking pub – I bet that doesn’t catch on.

    If half those pubs are half as good as I remember Cambridge will still be a blinding place to live.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    im not so sure how many of those pubs are left Big Ted
    actually it has some great pubs,
    i lived there from 98-03 so im not up to date
    but it has a couple of clubs, couple of live venues and those great pubs

    the people can be up their arses though and after a few years it started to get quite claustophobic
    now im older and a bit more settled i often think it would be a nice place to go back to, it is clean and safe but just a little bit dull 😉


    If you like a pretty place to live it’s great. If you like smaller cities its great. If you like a good old pub its great (Mitre and the Pickerel were 2 I drank in a little). If you like an active student scene its great….but many of the clubs won’t be open to non-students.
    It is annoyingly full of tourists and cold in the winter!
    I was there ’92 to ’96 so can’t give current details….suspect it’s a bit expensive and hard to find a place to stay anywhere near the city centre.

    Premier Icon MrGreedy

    Thanks for the helpful replies, lots of useful stuff there. One other thing I forgot to ask – any good bikeshops?


    Rental prices in Cambridge are relatively cheap (certainly compared to buying) and it’s very easy to live right in the City centre; especially if you don’t need to worry about parking a car.

    The best bike shop closed a few years ago (Mikes Bikes), but in terms of service, Station Cycles are good. Ben Heyward and Howes have been helpful in the past. The Light Blue in Chesterton are ok too.


    Plenty of places to rent or buy, especially if you are willing to accept a longer commute (i.e Madingly Road direction out to say Cambourne, or Newmarket Road out toward Stoke Cum Quy).

    Thetford is about an hour away, Chicksands about the same in the other direction, but there are some hills south towards Stanstead that could prove interesting. Not tried them yet, but this summer might change that.

    All in all, it’s a good place to live. Maybe a bit pricey, and full of bloody students, but that does mean decent pubs and some good places to eat. I’d recommend D’Arry’s Cookhouse on Silver Street as one!

    One word of warning… If you have a decent bike, try not to take it into town. The average bike in totally rubbish, mainly because it is the only way to stop the local scrotes from immediately selecting it for theft. I saw a decent bike once (Kona singlespeed) and had a hunch that it would not be locked up for long. Make sure that wherever you work has a locked and camera covered secure bike shed or similar. It might also be worth getting a rat-bike for the commute and leaving the nice bike at home until the weekend.


    Born there, still love (and miss) the place. It’s got a great vibe in the summer when the tourists are around and really they’re not that bad and they do spend a few quid in between posing for photos.. Great restaurants, lovely people and polite too (whoop) riding out can be a little one dimentional though but it’s ok. You’ve got some good forest stuff near Newmarket way so thats about an hour away or Grafham way.. so pretty good on the whole.
    Enjoy it, hope you grow to love it.


    Born there, still love (and miss) the place. It’s got a great vibe in the summer when the tourists are around and really they’re not that bad and they do spend a few quid in between posing for photos.. Great restaurants, lovely people and polite too (whoop) riding out can be a little one dimentional though but it’s ok. You’ve got some good forest stuff near Newmarket way so thats about an hour away or Grafham way.. so pretty good on the whole.
    Enjoy it, hope you grow to love it.

    Premier Icon ac282

    If you thought Mikes was the best bike shop you must have enjoyed surly clueless staff and orders that never arrived.
    Primo is a good roadie shop and the Haywards out at the garden centre in Horningsea has the most MTB stuf in stock.
    Howes can seem miserable but they know what they are talking about.

    The best shop nearby is JT cycles in Ely. Its a bit of a hike but Jerry is a really good mechanic and wheel builder.

    The riding directly from Cambridge isn’t that good. From the eastern side of Cambridge Thetford is 35 minutes away so I end up going there more often than riding from the door.

    If you like to ride on the road there is alot going on with group rides/club TTs every day except friday in summer and loads of relatively quiet roads once you get out of town.


    The best shop nearby is JT cycles in Ely. Its a bit of a hike but Jerry is a really good mechanic and wheel builder

    I have heard this. A fried of mine swears by JT Cycles and won’t take her bike anywhere else.


    Big Ted has listed all of the very best pubs there and luckily all are still open – my brother lives there and I look forward to frequenting them whenever I visit…..


    Jerry at JT is a very good mechanic and he builds a brilliant wheel but he can be a little disorganised at times. I always found it worth the wait although the wait was sometimes a bit frustrating!

    I seldom use him any more as Ely is a 50 minute drive from me (Bury St Eds) and I can use online shops for consumables plus Revel Outdoors are in Newmarket and Bury – well worth a visit.

    the teaboy

    There’s a pub on Hills Road, near the station, which is run by a Thai family. Beer, football and a curry or prawn crackers is amazing.

    I liked Varsity – mediterranean restaurant. Also there’s an amazing Med takeaway in one of the alleys off the marketplace.

    The walk to Granchester is nice and the kayak club plays on the river in the evenings.

    Premier Icon ir_bandito

    I lived in Histon, just to the north, for 5 years. My missus used to cycle to work in Addenbrookes, 10 miles away, it was faster on the bike than either car or bus.
    Nice enough place, if you can put up with clueless tourists and students. Thetford is half an hour awy if you drive fast, there are some local trails, but very little when its wet as its horribly clay-like.

    I can’t believe no-one has mentioned Billys!
    Yes, BMX biased, but good for getting pretty much any mtb-kit, and sensible touring stuff too.
    Ben Hayward is ok, but pricey and the staff aren’t always too friendly…


    Lived in and around Cambridge most of my life. Cycling in the city can be fun with the high number of cyclists, lots of opportunities for commuter racing. Out on the mountain bike is limited, I ride the local bridleways to the north of the city but its just hacking across fields. Thetford and chicksands are the best local trails.

    Best bike shop for me because I’m biased and live in the same village is Bike to Be. Alastair the owner/mechanic who also runs Airnimal from the shop very helpful friendly and excellent with the spanners. Good place for servicing/fixing and advice.


    Make sure you take in Evensong at King’s College Chapel during term-time and the Eagle is a pub with historic interest (WW2 pilots, Watson and Crick on DNA etc etc).


    I have had stuff from Billy’s and tbh they have been fine. They are Surly dealers iirc and generally have important stuff in stock….such as a good selection of sprockets for those SS moments. They also seem to be following the trend for messenger wannabe fixies.


    I was born in here (in Cambs) and currently live here on the flattest part our our wonderful blue planet .Mountain biking in Cambridge ? a bit like kayaking in the bath with no water but dont let that put you off.

    I also live near Addenbrookes, and a student there and theres a lot of nice road riding to be had going around the villages. Some bridal way riding starting near Addenbrookes about a mile or two away that can take you past Linton, but its VERY straight and some other lesser know tracks around (some nice pub stops on the way though)

    Pubs ? Mill Road and the pubs down the side streets are a good bet, cosmopolitan and nice atmosphere in most. I second what someone else has said about bikes and Cambridge….nice bikes never last long here !. I say this experience having had either bikes stolen (whilst being locked up like fort knox) or having front mechs cut off or various other bits taken. Best bet is as Willard says get a ‘pub bike’ which draws no attention to itself.
    This also goes for Addenbrookes Hospital which over the years has been a hotspot for bikes being taken or bits disappearing although they do now have a ‘secure’ bike area, how secure is debatable since collegues have told me how easy it is to gain entry to the secured area.

    All in all a nice enough place to live with easily identifiable sub groups when over hearing pub conversation

    Group One – Overhearing conversations about Cambridge United, usually a local who will reminisce about the days of John Beck

    Group Two – Overhearing conversations about Cambridge City, a true local, balanced by the fact they are supported by only 3 people in Cambridge…………make that the planet

    Group Three – Overhearing conversation about particle physics/D.N.A, Cambridge University lecturer with huge head to house the massive brain they have to carry around

    Group Four – Overhearing conversation about political science, Cambridge University student, usually with rugby shirt, collars turned up and probably called Rupert or Tarquin

    Group Five – Overhearing conversation with strange accents from fellow of a diminutive stature, usually from Newmarket and probably jockeys

    Group Six – Overhearing conversations with strange accents from large gentlemen who look rather rustic, definitely farmers

    Group Seven – Overhearing conversation from group in multiple languages, almost certainly students from Anglia Ruskin University (dead cert if its in CB2, some pubs in town or off Mill Rd). ‘The Other University in Cambs’ which has comically placed a sign at the train station to establish and remind people that there is another Uni in Cambridge.

    Group Eight – No conversation from group until the 5th pint at which point conversation is loud enough to heard from Ely, staff night out from Addenbrookes Hospital

    Group Nine – Computerised voice from group but no discernible source, Stephen Hawking, who can only wish he went to Anglia Ruskin University and not the world famous, ground breaking Cambridge University

    Hope that helps

    Premier Icon tobyToby

    Lots of lovely pubs, decent music venues, lots of culture and architecture. And some bloody lovely chocolate brownies.

    My notable pubs are the Anchor (location, watching drunk students fall off punts into the river), The Bath House (used to have v nice beer) and The Eagle (WW2 Pilots burned their names into the ceiling with lighters)

    Property is expensive if buying (espicially in the centre), but rental is cheapish, maily due to the students.

    Traffic is shocking if you use more than two wheels. If you walk you take your life into your own hands as 99.9% of those cycling ignore any and all rules of the road. +1 to having a rubbish bike, as a decent one will stick out like a sore thumb.

    I grew up living 12 miles south of the city – so much nicer place than anywhere south toward London (Hitchin/Luton/Stevenage blerghhhhhh), but so flat its depressing and at least an hour and half from the sea.

    And get used to to kicking japanese tourists taking photos out the way just to get into Sainsburys…


    It’s a great place to live but shhhh, don’t tell anyone as they will all want to live here.

    Pubs are great – beer fest in a couple of weeks, decent enough music venues and ‘road’ cycling a plenty.

    I moved here 10 years ago, I’m not about to move away 🙂


    Born there, left when I was 19 – got too claustrophobic and weekends were ‘interesting’ in town with us townies, students and RAF/Army all in the mix!!!
    Go back from time to time, some decent pubs around the river for summer evenings. Not much round Addenbrookes, but nowhere’s far in Cambridge! I still love going to Grantchester, but avoid at weekends!
    Another shout for JT – my parents moved to Ely a few years ago and I have bought plenty from him including a great little cheap Massi frame his wife raced on. Knows his stuff, builds great wheels, and will give good discounts once you’ve been in a few times.


    It’s lovely – not too big and mostly sunny. Lots of beautiful places near by too.
    Thetford is probably the nearest for decent riding – fairly flat but great for fitness and techy if ridden fast 😀

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