5 Best Things To Do In Cambridge

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

When visiting Cambridge, most people make it a day trip, taking one of numerous trains from London, and are back in the city's fog before night time. However, Cambridge has a lot to offer, and you can easily spend the whole week exploring its secrets. If time is limited, though, here are my picks:

Best view: St John's College chapel tower

It's hard (though not impossible) to go up the belfry of St John's chapel, where you can enjoy one of the nicest views over the town's gems. The best way to get there is to befriend a Johnian, as only members of the college are allowed to take the key from the porters' lodge. Once you're in, climb up the narrow spiral staircase to the roof of the bell tower. There, gorgeous vistas spread over Cambridge and the meadows around, and you can admire the majestic silhouettes of nearby King's and Trinity college buildings.

Best music event: Evensong at King's College Chapel

The sung choral services are organised in many colleges, but the evensong in King's Chapel is probably to most famous one. First of all, the choir sings in a truly heavenly way. The setting is equally impressive. King's College Chapel is a glorious example of gothic architecture, with the amazing fan vaulting being the icing on the cake. The schedule of the King's evensong prayers can be found here.

Best interior: Wren's Library in Trinity College

Don't expect gargoyles and turrets in the Trinity library. Sir Christopher Wren, the same one who rebuilt St Paul's Cathedral in London after the Great Fire in 1666, is responsible for its elegant, stuccoed interior. You're not allowed to ferret among the old manuscripts resting on the dark wooden shelves, yet there are some treasures lying in the glass cases, Shakespeare's First Folio and the manuscript of Winnie the Pooh being only some of the most precious items.

Best outdoor activity: Punting

Hardly a surprise for anyone who spent more that an hour in Cambridge, punting is a must. Flat-bottomed boats pushed with long poles cram the river Cam, proving that punting is both a popular tourist attraction and a frequent student activity. In several places along the river you can hop on a punt and start a guided tour, with some brave athlete pushing the pole while sharing juicy stories about the university.

You can also rent a punt yourself, and go along the college route, passing some of the mightiest university buildings. Or, if you're feeling confident, go up the river towards the nearby village of Grantchester. If you get in trouble while navigating, just let go of the pole, and if you fall in the river, don't swallow the water. Just don't.

Best dining experience: The Eagle

One of the cosiest pubs in Cambridge, The Eagle is more than simply a pub - it is the place where DNA was discovered. How many pubs in the world can boast of such discoveries? Watson and Crick used to come there for lunch almost every day, as their lab was just across the street. One day, they exclaimed about the "secret of life" while sitting at one of the tables in the back rooms. Apart from that mighty story, The Eagle also has some WW2 graffiti left by RAF soldiers on the ceiling and walls. And, after all that, it is simply a cosy, lovely country pub that's perfect for beer, lunch, dinner or a quick break from sightseeing.