Famed for its University, its aquatic rivalry with Oxford, and its rich history dating back to the Bronze Age, Cambridge is the prime example of quaint English living.
Situated on the picturesque banks of the River Cam, this small city is around 50 miles (and an hour on the train) from London. The last census, held in 2011, puts the population at around 124,000, and unsurprisingly about 20% of that number is made up of students.
Dominated by its placid river, Cambridge is a peaceful and leafy part of Cambridgeshire, but don’t let that fool you. There’s always something going on, from The Strawberry Fair music and arts festival to the Midsummer Fairs held on Midsummer Common, while the annual Cambridge Beer Festival continues to grow in popularity.
Cambridge is also at the heart of the so-called Silicon Fen; a cluster of high-tech industries made up of software and bioscience companies, many of which spun out of the University. And over 40% of the workforce here have a higher education qualification to their name, more than twice the national average!
Or if you fancy yourself something of a culture vulture, there are countless museums and theatres to choose from. Cambridge is of course home to the Footlights, which gave many truly great British comedy performers their first taste of the spotlight. The list includes Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, and John Cleese, so you may spot a star of tomorrow if you pop along to the ADC Theatre for an evening of laughs.
So, whether you’re moving for work, education, or something a little more relaxed, here are a few of our favourite places to live in Cambridge.
Location, Location, Location
Renting in Cambridge puts you in an historic city known the world over for its reputation as home to one of the top 5 Universities on the planet. With its green, open spaces, carefully tended flowerbeds, and vibrant marketplace selling only the freshest in local produce, Cambridge is a step above many similar-sized English towns and cities.
An incredibly compact city, you’ll never have to walk far to find what you’re looking for. There are plenty of shops, from the independently owned boutiques to more established names such as H&M and Zara. And although it’s not blessed with an abundance of fine dining options, you’ll still find some lovely restaurants, pubs, and bars for a night out.
A Sure Thing
Widely accepted as the birthplace of thoroughbred horse racing, Newmarket is a lovely little market town situated in Suffolk.
A half hour drive, or 25 minutes on the train, from Cambridge city centre, this is one of a number of affordable options for commuters. Particularly when you consider just how pricey it can be to rent in Cambridge itself!
If you enjoy horse racing, then you’ll be in your element, with two racecourses and two horse racing museums. But if you’re selecting a home based on criteria that doesn’t involve horses, then Newmarket still has plenty going for it.
There are a number of primary schools in the area, all of which feed into Newmarket Academy. And the amenities in the town centre mean you won’t have far to go to purchase the essentials or run errands.
A Slice of History
It’s the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell and was frequented by Dick Turpin. But aside from being associated with England’s best known wrong ‘uns, Huntingdon is a charming market town situated a mere 30 minute drive from Cambridge city centre. And London’s Kings Cross station is only an hour away on the train from Huntingdon railway station.
With six primary schools, and a couple of secondary schools, this is an ideal place to raise a family. It’s also surrounded by pleasant greenery, and sits on the north bank of the River Great Ouse. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a seal or two swimming in the river.
The town centre boasts a number of unique independent boutiques, market stalls, and leading high street stores. And foodies will enjoy a healthy choice of cafes, restaurants and fast food options when stomachs start rumbling.
Making the move to Cambridge? Be sure to check out Newmarket and Huntingdon.
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