Tour de Angleterre: cycling in Cambridge

by Chris Moore

Category: The great outdoors
July 3 2014

Stage 3 of Le Tour spins through Cambridgeshire; a county boasting the highest take up of cycling in the country where one in four people choose to cycle to work, and that’s not just students from the famous University peddling between lectures either. Along with a bustling market at the centre of the city and many thriving shops, bookshops, pubs, cafes and restaurants, the river Cam gently flows along the backs of the historic colleges and out into an picturesque green landscape sprawling out under endless skies, making it one of the most cycle-friendly destinations in the country. 

Get to know Cambridge

Cycling along the elegant cobbled streets, charming crescents and greens will reveal a treasure trove of boutique and independent shops, all tucked away among the celebrated educational institutions. Many of the 31 colleges are architectural marvels with centuries of history, culture and enormously famous former students. Trinity College is perhaps the most famous, and counts Lord Byron, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell among its alumni. 

Stop for a traditional pub lunch at The Eagle, famous as the place where biologists Francis Crick and James Watson announced they had discovered the structure of DNA, but also for great real ales and English food. You’ll find touching mementos from World War II in the RAF bar at the back, in the form of messages written on the ceiling by RAF pilots stationed in Cambridge.

Stop for punting

Make sure you take the time to go punting, that is, guiding long flat bottomed-boats, or punts, along the river using only a pole. You’ll see the river full of people doing the same, either with tour guides, or poling their own boats. Punts can be hired from several points along the river and taken on little expeditions out of the city and into the Cambridgeshire countryside. Grantchester is a popular destination, a little way down the river, and you can treat yourself to an excellent cream tea at the Orchard Tea Garden en route. 

Beyond the city

With a largely flat landscape, the whole county of Cambridgeshire is ideal for a family cycling holiday. There are many routes to choose from, including the Grafham Water Circular Ride, which spins you through softly gladded woodland, along a lake, and through a nature reserve and the quaint villages of Grafton and West Perry.

Find more Tour de France-inspired holidays in England.

Chris Moore

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