A whopping 5.3million a year visit the world-famous prestigious university city of Cambridge, but not that many venture further into Cambridgeshire – the attractive historic county of eastern England. If you do though you’ll see beautiful landscapes and scenery including medieval market towns, fine country houses, marshy fenland, and pretty villages. Also – of course – don’t forget to try punting on the gorgeous River Cam. Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Cambridgeshire…
1. Cambridge – the world-famous beautiful university town
Located roughly 55 miles north of London, Cambridge is the county town of Cambridgeshire and is home to roughly 125,000 people. It’s a very beautiful must-see city home to many fine historic buildings, including many that belong to the university.
And like most cities this size, Cambridge offers opportunities to enjoy museums, theatre performances, musical events, and lots of festivals, especially during the summer months.
Highlights include the University of Cambridge, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Kings College Chapel, the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, the Bridge of Sighs, Kings College, Trinity College, Queens College, Market Square, and of course sipping Pimms off the lawn and punting on the pretty River Cam. So exploring for more than just one day is recommended – there is a lot to see and do here!
2. Wicken Fen Reserve – a natural beauty spot in Cambridgeshire
The Wicken Fen Reserve covers a little more than 630 acres and consists of a conservation area that is home to farmland, fenland, reedbeds, and marsh. The wildlife found there includes everything from invertebrates such as spiders, snails, and beetles to birds that include teals, kingfishers, woodpeckers, owls, and marsh harriers.
Also present is a variety of plants, including milk parsley, marsh pea, fen violets, and marsh orchids, among others. If you love seeing animals and plants that aren’t being spoiled by modernization, then this is one of the best places to visit in Cambridgeshire.
3. The River Cam – the place to go punting!
The River Cam is the main river that flows through Cambridge. It is located in eastern England and runs for a total of 43 miles. Not only is it a beautiful river that runs through some lovely towns, but people can also enjoy recreational activities on the water, such as swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, sailing and easily the most famous – punting!
The waters are dark blue and are usually very calm, so enjoying recreational activities on the river is not difficult. Regardless of which part of the river you get to visit, it all seems equally as beautiful!
4. Elton Hall and Gardens – a fine historic attraction and one of the best places to explore in Cambridgeshire
Elton Hall is a baronial hall that sits on 3,800 acres of land. The River Nene runs through it, and it consists of 15th, 17th, 18th, and 19th-century components. The gardens are magnificent and house beautiful hedges, a rose and herbaceous garden, a knot garden, and a Gothic orangery.
With all the colors on display and the different plants and flowers present, you could spend hours here and never get bored. In fact, both the hall and the gardens offer enough unique variety that you’ll want to visit them whenever you’re in Cambridgeshire.
5. Grantchester – a quaint village home to pretty thatched cottages
Located on the River Cam about two miles south of Cambridge, this quaint town claims to have the highest number of Nobel Prize winners living there, which likely has something to do with its proximity to the University of Cambridge. It’s also home to pretty thatched cottages, a few traditional pubs, a medieval beautiful church, and a graveyard where many famous people are buried.
One of its most significant traditions is an inter-village barrel race on Boxing Day (December 26), which always ends with a roast at a local pub – something that all the residents look forward to each year.
6. Hinchingbrooke Country Park – an attractive green space and lake to explore
Covering 170 acres, this park consists of lakes, open grasslands, and mature woodlands. If you love nature or you’re just looking for a fun family-oriented activity, Hinchingbrooke Country Park is the place to visit in Cambridgeshire. The park has also held the Green Flag Award since 2018, demonstrating its commitment to the environment.
There is a café, lots of play areas for kids, wildflower meadows, and picnic areas, not to mention numerous fairs and festivals throughout the year. In other words, this park is not only beautiful, but there’s a lot to do there as well.
7. Ely – a pretty and historic cathedral city in Cambridgeshire
Ely is a cathedral city located about 80 miles from London and is an attractive place to explore in Cambridgeshire. Some of its most popular landmarks include a war memorial complete with an old cannon, the remains of the 40-foot-high Ely Castle, St. John’s Farmhouse, St. Mary’s Vicarage, a brewery complex called The Maltings, and a lovely hotel that was once a coaching house.
In fact, there are several Grade I and Grade II listed buildings in the town, so you can’t be completely prepared for what you’ll see when you get there. One thing is certain, though, if you love history, you will love this city.
8. Houghton Mill – the last surviving mill on the River Great Ouse
Houghton Mill is a water mill and a beautiful National Trust property. It has held several types of mills over the years and has been located in the same spot since the year 969. It is thought that the current building was built in the 17th century, and since 1999, flour is still milled here.
There is also a camping site nearby, and the entire mill is now a popular tourist spot. After World War II, the mill served as a youth hostel for a time. When you view the mill from any angle, it is an amazing site because it is a stately-looking building that you won’t soon forget.
9. Wandlebury Country Park – a natural beauty spot to visit in Cambridgeshire
Whether you love to hike or walk through beautiful wildflower meadows, Wandlebury Country Park will not disappoint. You can take a long walk, view Highland cows, have a picnic in one of the many picnic areas, view the remains of an Iron Age fort, or visit the on-site café to refresh yourself before you go any further.
The wildflower meadows are nothing short of spectacular, and there are various buildings there that date back several centuries. Whether you’re a history buff or you’re just looking for a place to relax for a bit, this is the perfect place to be.
10. Nene Park – a lovely country park perfect for walking
Nene Park is a country park located in the Peterborough section of Cambridgeshire. It is roughly 3.5 miles long and consists of several lakes, numerous children’s play areas, a watersports center that conducts sailing and windsurfing classes, and a small miniature railway.
It also offers a very varied landscape, which includes several hotels, a sculpture collection, a plant nursery, a garden center, and an 8-mile-long steam railway that is run by enthusiasts. It is a very interesting park to explore in Cambridgeshire either with your family or just you and your dog.
11. Wimpole Estate – a stunning place to visit in Cambridgeshire
Owned by the National Trust, Wimpole Estate sits on 3,000 acres of land and has been around since 1640. It has farmland and parkland, and it is the largest house in Cambridgeshire. It is also open to the public and receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, in part because of its size and its beauty.
It is considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cambridgeshire, and if you visit, you’ll understand why. The grounds feature rolling hills, a Gothic tower, many trees, a walled garden, a stable block, and plenty of other interesting buildings.
12. Chilford Hall – for wine and guided vineyard tours
The Chilford Hall Vineyard has been around since 1972 and is phenomenal to visit. Located in the middle of rolling chalk hills, the vineyard covers a total of 20 acres and features nine different varieties of vines. You can visit the vineyard and take a tour, and you can even participate in a tasting tour if you’d like to sample some of what they offer.
Chilford Hall Vineyard produces a variety of red, rosé, white, and sparkling wines, so there is truly something for everyone there. If you love wine, you owe it to yourself to make this trip whenever you’re in the Cambridgeshire area!
13. Ramsey – a market town with interesting historic attractions
Ramsey is a small and pretty market town located in the historic area of Huntingdonshire. At the center of the town sits Ramsey Abbey, which was mostly dissolved in the 1500s. There is a huge living history event every August, as well as a football club and numerous churches.
If you love historic sites, visiting the town of Ramsey should definitely be on your bucket list because it is beautiful and has a very important place in history. There is also a nature reserve nearby, so you can see a lot of unique tourist attractions if you have a day or two to get out and explore.
14. Anglesey Abbey – a fine country house to explore
This is a National Trust property located northeast of Cambridge. It sits on nearly 100 acres of land and boasts a working mill, gardens and landscaped grounds, and of course, the abbey itself.
The building is extraordinary and features not only a beautiful architectural style on the exterior, but also things you won’t want to miss on the inside, including a variety of items such as paintings, sculptures, tapestries, art, furniture, and much more. And these are not your average everyday items, either. They come from the Lord Fairhaven collection and are fitting for kings and queens, making them a pleasure to view.
15. Byron’s Pool – a pretty Cambridgshire nature reserve
Byron’s Pool is a nature reserve that covers roughly 11 acres and is named after Lord Byron, who used to swim there. Managed by the Cambridge City Council, the area consists of a pool and adjacent woodland, and you can find all sorts of animals there.
This includes butterflies, frogs, dragonflies, and damselflies, as well as birds such as gray wagtails and little grebes. It isn’t a huge reserve but it offers a lot for people who wish to take a dip in the pool or simply enjoy the nearby wildlife. It is also perfect for nature-lovers. Enjoy beautiful Cambridgeshire!
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Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Ireland, UK and the US but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting craving for culture, good food and great football. Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @scottbalaam