What better way to relax? Cambridge by train and punting
I have often taken East Anglia for granted. I grew up in Suffolk, Ipswich to be precise. When I was a teen, days out would usually involve shopping in Norwich or going a bit further afield to London. I never really thought about days out anywhere else in the East of England. As I've grown older, I've started to appreciate and respect my small part of the country and the variety of things there are to see and do here. Acres and acres of countryside and coasts fill the East of England with some truly stunning cities and market towns nestled inbetween. Alongside this, we have some of the oldest recorded towns in the country and some beautiful architecture that reflects this.
I was recently given the opportunity to travel with Greater Anglia Trains to the beautiful city of Cambridge and Punting for 2 with Visit Cambridge.
Our train journey started at our closest train station, Sudbury. We set off early as total travel time was 2 hours, 20 minutes and we wanted a full day to explore the city. Our train arrived on time and wasn't overly busy which was a bonus. We really couldn't have picked a better day weather wise, the sun was out and it was quickly starting to warm up outside. My worst nightmare is travelling on public transport with no air conditioning on a hot day and I was so relieved that every train we used had air conditioning. Once we were on our last change of the journey, we sat back, relaxed and took in the stunning views of the countryside. For me, travelling by train adds to the adventure and you get to see so much more than you would when driving, and without the added stress.
This wasn't my first time to Cambridge but nonetheless, I was really excited for the day ahead. There's something truly magical about the city; streets lined with boutique coffee shops, cobbled streets, and bicycles are the way to travel. You're never too far away from beautiful architecture so you can see why this is a very popular tourist destination. It's said that J.K Rowling was inspired by the famous Cambridge University and it's grand dining halls which, have said to have inspired the Great Hall of Hogwarts.
Once we arrived in Cambridge, it was a short walk into the centre and to our boarding location for our punting tour. I've been wanting to go punting ever since I discovered it was a big thing in Cambridge. There are various punting companies to choose from along the river and you have the choice of going on a guided tour or giving a go yourself. We took the 45 minute guided college tour with Scudamore's which took us along the river past the famous Trinity College. As it was half-term and the first hot, sunny day in a while, it was really busy and we had to wait an hour for the next tour. I would advise getting your tickets as soon as you arrive so you don't have to wait too long. This wasn't a problem for us as it gave us the opportunity to see the hustle and bustle of the city.
The punting tour itself was so informative and such good fun. Our guide was clearly spoken and gave us an insight into the life of a Cambridge University student and the history of the colleges. The highlight for me were the beautiful bridges we travelled under including the St John's College Bridge of Sighs. The river itself was incredibly busy and there were a few near misses, mostly from people doing it themselves. Our guide said people often fall in but we didn't see that happen, luckily! The boats themselves have umbrellas and blankets for rainier, colder days so they really do operate all year round. I'd like to go back in Autumn to see the leaves changing and when it's less busy.
After the tour, we headed back into the centre and grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading back on the train to embark on our journey home.
I'd recommend Cambridge to anybody looking for a day out destination, as there's so much to see and do and it's so easy to get to by train. Punting was an amazing experience and I'm so glad I've finally done it! I think next time we head to Cambridge, we'll give punting a go ourselves (If I can pluck up the courage to trust the boyfriend).
If you're heading up from London, you can catch the train from Liverpool Street Station and the journey takes around an hour and 20 minutes. You'll be sure to catch the stunning East Anglia countryside along the way.
There are so many great destinations to visit in East Anglia and summer is the perfect time for it. Whether it's visiting the coast, shopping, museums or admiring the countryside, you'll never be stuck for something to do.
Greater Anglia offers great value off peak fares with 2FOR1 on top London attractions and if you book in advance, tickets from Norwich to London are available at just £10, Cambridge – London at £7 and Southend-London just £5 one way. Accompanying children travel for just £2 return. You can now also purchase advance on the day up to 10 minutes before departure and this costs less than the equivalent single ticket.
Visit Cambridge: http://www.visitcambridge.org/
Scudamore's Punting: https://www.scudamores.com/
This post contains PR samples but the opinions are my own and are honest.
Thanks for reading!