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Rediscover Cambridge this summer: How to make your visit special

Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID, takes a look at the measures that are in place to give you confidence to visit our beautiful city, and offers some great ideas for how to treat yourself and others.

An aerial view of Cambridge
An aerial view of Cambridge

The fabulous city of Cambridge offers a safe place to bring your family, indulge your loved one and treat yourselves this summer.

If you have not been into your city recently, then I would ask ‘why not?’ The level of Covid-19 cases here remains incredibly low, and there are a host of measures in place to ensure you can explore safely, take your time, and treat yourself in your city.

We have on-street signs to remind people to keep left as they stroll while most of the queues we saw during lockdown and as the city initially opened up have gone. This is because more places are open, the initial release of getting out and shopping after the lockdown has passed and the 1m rule, along with the mandatory wearing of face masks in shops and other public spaces, means people feel more comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a pandemic for us all to deal with, however, if we all behave responsibly, keep washing our hands, wearing our masks and socially distancing, then we are all playing our part in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus, supporting our community and the city.

Cycling near Great St Mary’s Church
Cycling near Great St Mary’s Church

When you do visit the city, the roads are quiet, more road space is being given over to pedestrians and cycling, and buses are also quiet.

Dozens more businesses have outside seating, so you can sightsee as you drink and dine and still socially distance. Lion Yard has installed a simple app that lets you review how busy stores are, many bars and restaurants are table service only and you order via an app, QR code or website.

Businesses have all produced a thorough Covid-19 assessment and trained their staff to offer great customer service, but respect social distancing requirements, and also ensure they remain safe.

The main thing is to plan ahead and ‘know before you go’. Check online if the place you wish to visit is open and whether you will be required to book.

If you do this then it is a joy to behold and visit our city at a time when it is still relatively quiet, especially during the week.

We look forward to welcoming you very soon.

For more information, visit love-cambridge.com .

Treat yourself in our beautiful city

King’s College Chapel. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography
King’s College Chapel. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography

You could dine outside on King’s Parade and view King’s College and the magnificent chapel. In fact, the chapel, started in 1441 and taking more than 100 years to complete, is now open, Wednesday to Sunday from 10.45am to 4pm.

You have to book ahead and the rest of the college grounds are not open, but the trip will be well worth it. Imagine visiting this place when it is quiet, taking your time and immersing yourself in 600 years of history.

More booking details can be found at kings.cam.ac.uk .

Bread & Meat, Bene't Street, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Bread & Meat, Bene't Street, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Other interesting dining options include the beautiful courtyard of St Benet’s Church on Benet Street.

Bread & Meat are using this space where there has been a place of worship for almost 1,000 years.

Alternatively there are many rooftop places to dine and take in the views of the city, including Millworks on Newnham Road, No 6 at the Varsity Hotel, De Luca de Cucina on Regent Street, and the rooftop Bar at Revolution on Downing Street to name but a few.

MillWorks. Picture: Cambscuisine
MillWorks. Picture: Cambscuisine

One of the best views of the city is from Great St Mary’s Church. The medieval tower is now open and is accessed via a 123-step turreted staircase.

The views from the top are truly spectacular.

It is open from 12pm to 4pm every day except Monday (book at gsm.cam.ac.uk/church/climb-the-tower ).

Climb the tower at Great St Mary's Church
Climb the tower at Great St Mary's Church

I am a huge whisky fan and now it is the summer holidays and there are less people around than usual at this time, it is nice to take the opportunity of asking the experts in our fine whisky stores for some help selecting the next tipple. They have more time and we need to use this time for us.

Both Cambridge Wine Merchants on King’s Parade and Bridge Street and Robert Graham on Hobson Street have a wide selection. Robert Graham also sells fine cigars and for those of you who can’t visit, they have a virtual tasting session on September 3 (bookings robertgraham1874.com).

I am sure we all found more time to read during lockdown, well to help you keep it up then we have a fine selection of book shops in the city. Their staff are on hand to help you browse and pick your next summer holiday read, or the next novel of your favourite author, or if you really want to, I am sure there is a ‘how to Zoom guide’ – if not maybe I should write one.

Heffers in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Heffers in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

You can choose from Heffers on Trinity Street, Waterstones on St Andrew’s Street, the very intriguing The Haunted Bookshop in St Edwards Passage, and the Cambridge University Press Bookshop, also on Trinity Street and one of the oldest book shops in the world. Books are safely cleaned and quarantined after browsing, so safety is very much a key priority.

Another fabulous opportunity is to have a one-to-one shopping appointment in your favourite boutique.

Boudoir Femme with the Love Cambridge gift card
Boudoir Femme with the Love Cambridge gift card

Boudoir Femme on King Street is offering this as are Seasalt on Trinity Street and many other boutiques. Live the dream of having the shop to yourself or bring a friend, and have a fashion expert on hand to select and size items for you all within a safe, well managed space where you can take your time and spoil yourself.

You can even try items on and they are quarantined for 72 hours to put your safety first.

Until August 23, you can enjoy Brick History - scenes from pivotal moments in history, recreated in Lego - at the Grand Arcade shopping centre.

And why not grab a #SuperHero selfie with the statues of Batman, Wonder Woman, Hulk and more at Lion Yard shopping centre on August 28, 29 and 30

Support the city by giving a Love Cambridge Gift Card

Ian Sanidson with the Love Cambridge gift card. Picture: Richard Marsham
Ian Sanidson with the Love Cambridge gift card. Picture: Richard Marsham

If you’re not sure what to treat yourself with, or want to treat a friend or loved one, then the Love Cambridge Gift Card is the answer.

Accepted in more than 200 shops, bars, restaurants and hotels in the city, it is an easy-to-use card that supports the high street since it can only be used in store.

Whether it might be lunch at one of our fine hotels, a new bicycle, booking a holiday, a new hair style or that fine bottle of whisky mentioned in the main article on this page, the Love Cambridge Gift Card can be purchased at love-cambridgegiftcard.com .

It works like any other gift card, plus it supports your local city and high street.

Travel tips for visiting Cambridge

A view over the market square in Cambridge
A view over the market square in Cambridge

This summer is the perfect time to visit Cambridge.

The city has been making improvements since the lockdown was eased, giving pedestrians more space and making it easier and more relaxed to navigate the streets.

Drive into Cambridge and you will pay £1 an hour to park all day, every day, so why not bring the family and take your time to enjoy our beautiful city, knowing your parking fee will be great value. If you have a Blue Badge, then you can park for free for up to three hours in all the city multi-storey car parks.

If you are taking the bus, then we have five Park & Rides open that allow you to park for free for up to 18 hours. The bus fare into the city centre starts at £3 with up to three children riding for free.

Stagecoach, which operates the buses around Cambridge, also has a handy app with its ‘How busy is my bus?’ function. This gives passengers all the latest information and the confidence to board.

Cambridge is of course a great cycling city, many villages are connected to the city by cycle paths and in the city many streets have separate cycle lanes. There is also ample parking for bikes of all sizes.

Cambridge railway station is just one mile to the south-east of the centre and is connected by a number of Stagecoach bus services.

The Cambridge guided bus also runs regular services into Cambridge bus station from towns and villages to the west of the city, including Park & Ride stops at St Ives and Longstanton, and to the south, including Trumpington.

Read more

Visit Brick History - made from Lego - at the Grand Arcade shopping centre in Cambridge

Meet Batman, Wonder Woman, Hulk and others at Lion Yard shopping centre in Cambridge

Welcome back to Cambridge: 10 ways to enjoy one of the world’s best small cities

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