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Posted Dec. 15, 2014

Student City Guide: Cambridge

Cambridge is one of the world's most famous universities, and the opportunities afforded to people who study there, at either postgraduate or undergraduate level, are massive. While postgraduates will not be walking wide-eyed and innocent into the excitement of student life in Cambridge, there are still many interesting and entertaining experiences on offer.

Transport There is a well-developed bus network which operates in Cambridge, and connects it well to the surrounding area. The railway station offers good links to Britain's major cities, including London, Leicester, Birmingham, and the major rail hub of Peterborough.

Cambridge is also known for the proliferation of bicycles that seem to be fastened to each railing and available space outside colleges in their hundreds when lectures are taking place. Buying or hiring a bicycle is a great way to get around in one of Britain's least hilly cities, where the roads are flat and accessible.

Shopping There are four major shopping centres in Cambridge, while the city streets are also graced by some superb independent shops, as well as outlets from major chains. There is a daily market held on Market Square. As well as staples like bread and fruit, you can also browse the stallholders' extensive range of jewellery, clothing and craft items. It is also a good idea to have a wander down Mill Road, where an eclectic range of independent stores offer items from all over the world.

Entertainment Although Cambridge is perhaps not the massive cultural hub that other UK cities, such as Manchester, Glasgow or Bristol, are, it still possesses plenty of entertainment options when it comes to night life, dining out, arts and culture, and live music. You will never be short of options when it comes to finding ways to spend your spare time in Cambridge.

There are many quality live music venues in the city, catering to an eclectic range of tastes. Buskers are a big part of the street life here. Cambridge also hosts the internationally prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival each summer, and its annual rock festival is also growing in popularity.

Many of those live music venues are pubs, but it shouldn't be a problem finding somewhere quieter to enjoy a pint if you are looking for something a little more reserved. There are over 100 pubs in Cambridge for you to enjoy, and that's before you start counting the college and student union bars.

There are also plenty of options for dining out in Cambridge, whatever your budget and taste. Italian restaurants like Il Piccolo Mondo and Aromi offer great continental dining experiences, while the Clarendon Arms and Midsummer House provide a great range of more traditionally British fare, with locally sourced ingredients prominent on the menu.

Sport and Recreation The rural area around Cambridge also has its fair share of cycling and hiking routes, many of which will take you through picturesque villages. Cambridgeshire really is England's 'Green and Pleasant Land' for many people, with its gentle, flat fields and agricultural traditions.

Football fans may want to take in a game at Cambridge United, who play at the R Costings Stadium on Newmarket Road. The club now operates in League Two, but has enjoyed sojourns in the higher echelons of the English game in its long history. Nearby Newmarket is often considered as the home of English horse racing.

For a more sedate kind of exercise you can always enjoy a punt ride up the River Cam. The punts which can be hired on the river have been a part of student life in the city for many, many years, and a journey up to Grantchester by punt is wonderfully relaxed way of spending an afternoon.

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