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A guide to leisure time and a safe night out in Cambridge, a city with Purple Flag status



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Purple Flag celebrates Cambridge for being a safe and vibrant evening and night-time destination, with its diverse array of dining, entertainment, and cultural activities.

Cambridge secured Purple Flag status last year and is one of only 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland which have achieved this national performance standard.

Cambridge at dusk
Cambridge at dusk

The Purple Flag standard, launched in 2012, is an accreditation process similar to the Green Flag award for parks and the Blue Flag for beaches. It allows members of the public to quickly identify town and city centres that offer an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.

As the governing body, ATCM (Association of Town & City Management) has set five core standards, against which accredited locations are measured.

Nationally, destinations that have been awarded Purple Flag status tend to celebrate this during October. The current pandemic is clearly having an impact on Cambridge’s evening and night-time economy with the current 10pm curfew in place and some entertainment venues unable to open yet.

Nevertheless, Cambridge still has plenty to offer couples, families and small groups looking for a bite to eat or a night out. From wonderful restaurants to venues offering beautifully created drinks, the city has a wide choice that includes well-know chains and highly-regarded independents.

And for those looking for some entertainment, the city also provides cinemas, tours and family-friendly attractions.

Here is a guide to what Cambridge has to offer – all served up under the protection of the Purple Flag scheme.

Restaurants

La Raza, Rose Crescent, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
La Raza, Rose Crescent, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge has a fantastic selection of restaurants for you to enjoy – booking is key and expect to leave your details for track and trace purposes using the QR code and new NHS app ( nhs.uk/apps-library/nhs-covid-19 ).

Cambridge has restaurants to cater for all tastes and budgets, offering something for everyone. There are a number of independent eateries that complement the national chains in the city. Al fresco dining is still an option for those warmer autumnal evenings.

Pubs and bars

The Town and Gown on Market Passage . Picture: Keith Heppell. (42116985)
The Town and Gown on Market Passage . Picture: Keith Heppell. (42116985)

Standing at the bar may be a thing of the past but you can still enjoy your favourite tipple in one of Cambridge’s pubs or bars.

The new Town & Gown Pub & Theatre has recently opened in Cambridge on Market Passage, bringing a new offer to Cambridge with an intimate fringe theatre on the top floor alongside seasonal food and drink menus. Find out more at townandgown.co.uk.

With such variety on offer you can easily find somewhere to suit your needs – just remember to check in advance for up-to-date opening hours, book a table and enjoy your time.

Shopping

The majority of the shops in Cambridge are open and look forward to welcoming you. Hand sanitiser stations are available and face coverings are compulsory.

Punting

Punting on the River Cam in Cambridge
Punting on the River Cam in Cambridge

We might be heading towards winter but you can still enjoy a punt along the River Cam – opt for private hire or Covid-safe shared tours. An evening punt along Cambridge’s iconic Backs on a warm autumnal evening is not to be missed and a firm family favourite. Explore options with Scudamores ( scudamores.com ) or Rutherfords ( rutherfordspunting.com ) as a great starting point.

Cinema

Cambridge Bid promotes the city, the Vue Cinema in the Grafton Centre . Picture: Keith Heppell. (42529709)
Cambridge Bid promotes the city, the Vue Cinema in the Grafton Centre . Picture: Keith Heppell. (42529709)

Vue Cinemas at The Grafton is open to the public and operating with new safety precautions in line with government guidance. Check out what it is showing, how to book tickets and what you need to know before you arrive. Visit myvue.com/cinema/cambridge/whats-on .

Ghost tour

Leigh Watson who is one of the Blue Badge Guides running Ghost Tour walks around the city after dark . Picture: Keith Heppell. (42529703)
Leigh Watson who is one of the Blue Badge Guides running Ghost Tour walks around the city after dark . Picture: Keith Heppell. (42529703)

Cambridge Tour Guides are currently offering ghost tours of the city. Starting from 4pm, they are a great way to explore spooky goings-on within the city. Find out more at cambridgetourguide.co.uk .

Museums

Lion skull Picture Zoology Museum (35982203)
Lion skull Picture Zoology Museum (35982203)

Many of the city’s museums are back open and definitely worth exploring. ‘Know before you go’ is key as it is essential to book tickets, check opening hours and visiting requirements.

For details, visit museums.cam.ac.uk/museum_reopening .

Escape room

Hallowe'en themed escape room, Lockhouse Escape Games, St Andrew's St, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42529465)
Hallowe'en themed escape room, Lockhouse Escape Games, St Andrew's St, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42529465)

Lockhouse Games on Regent Street is a must-do. It has adapted its procedures to ensure they are Covid-safe.

Offering three different escape rooms, can you work together and get out in time? Booking ahead is essential and more information can be found at lockhouse.co.uk .

Raise a glass at Hidden Rooms to Purple Flag status

Marcus Deave at the Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Marcus Deave at the Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

To raise a glass – with an appropriately-coloured drink – to Cambridge’s Purple Flag status, we caught up with Marcus Deaves, owner of Hidden Rooms, a cocktail lounge and events venue on Jesus Lane.

He told us about one of their stunning cocktails – the Purple Rose.

Featuring as the bartender’s choice this October in Hidden Rooms, we think it looks amazing and the perfect way to celebrate Cambridge’s Purple Flag Status.

Currently open from 6pm on Friday and Saturday evenings for reservations only, you can book your place at hiddenrooms.co.uk .

Make your own Purple Rose

Purple Rose cocktail at the Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Purple Rose cocktail at the Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Ingredients

  • 50ml Porter’s Passionfruit Tropical Old Tom Gin
  • 100ml Franklin & Son tonic water
  • 25ml rose syrup
  • 20ml fresh lemon juice
  • 5ml Butterfly pea blossom extract
  • Raspberries and strawberries whole

Method

Build in a gin glass over cubed ice, stir, garnish and serve.


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