Exploring Cambridge As A Family… With Great Northern Trains

At the start of the summer, with six and a half weeks of no school stretching out in front of us, I decided that we should do as many day trips as we could. It’s all too easy to stay local, when you’re trying to think of something to do each day – the park, swimming pool, bowling…. all great fun, but what can’t be beaten is waking up, seeing the sun is shining and going on a spontaneous day trip somewhere.

Last week, we hit the Kent coast with family and spent the day eating ice cream and chips on the beach, and on another day, we jumped on a train to Cambridge. It’s city we’ve been to just once before (to visit my lovely friend Katie) and we were keen to revisit.

Getting the train from London Kings Cross was super easy – the Great Northern trains are regular and fast – ours took 45 minutes to get to Cambridge which was just enough time to flick through a newspaper and have a small train picnic. Is there anything better in life, than a train picnic?

The sun was shining as we pulled into Cambridge Station and we walked to our first destination of the day: The Botanic Gardens. If you’re getting the train to Cambridge, this is an ideal first stop. The city centre is actually 1 mile away from the railway station so walking the 5/10 minutes to get to the Botanic Gardens is a great way to break up the walk into town.

We loved wandering around the gardens, looking at all the flowers and plants, chasing each other and making up little games with the five-year-old. After an hour or so, we headed to the cafe – which serves really lovely salads, quiches and jacket potatoes – for a cuppa and a read of a few of the many plant-themed children’s books they have for the kiddos.




Alison Perry

From there, we walked into the city centre (it is a bit of a walk for small people but we got there in the end!) and headed straight for the River Cam. Last time we’d been here, we’d watching people punting along the water and the five-year-old was desperate to go on a boat herself. We found a company offering tours of the river, and ten minutes later, we were on a punt, ready to go!

It was such a cool way to see the city – our tour guide told us facts and little stories about the city and university as we passed different landmarks, and it was fun to see so many other punts go past, filled with tourists like us. You can have a go at punting yourself, of course, but it seemed like far too much effort (and risk of bashing your head as you go under the many low bridges!)

We stayed by the river to eat dinner – finding ourselves a lovely waterside pub which served brilliant fish and chips – before having a small wander in the sunshine around the city centre. We could have stayed much longer in Cambridge but it was getting late so we jumped on the train home – the five-year-old went to bed past her usual bedtime but that’s part of the fun of summer holiday day trips, isn’t it?

The end of the summer holidays are looming (how did it come around so quickly?) and I’ve got one more day trip I want to squeeze in, if I can – Margate. I’ve been desperate to go there for ages, to check out Dreamland, and ironically we’ve been to Minnis Bay loads, which is just ten minutes drive from Margate. I’m determined to get there soon!

Where are your favourite day trip destinations?

This post has been commissioned by Great Northern – and as always, all views are my own. For details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.



  1. August 22, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    I went to Cambridge for the first time this year and loved it, I couldn’t believe I’d never been before! V jealous of your boat trip – that’s top of the list for my next trip there x

  2. August 22, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like you had lots of fun on your daytrip.
    One of my favorite daytrip destinations is Roskilde, a small danish town with a cute pedestrian street with small quaint shops.
    I also love the botanical garden in Copenhagen, but no river for a boat trip sadly.

  3. August 22, 2016 / 8:43 pm

    1) I love your photos on this post. 2) I love the new blog look. 3) I want G’s dress!

  4. August 22, 2016 / 11:02 pm

    I’ve only been to Cambridge once, for a wedding, so didn’t see much of the city. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to explore and looks like you had such a lovely time x

  5. August 26, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    This post is very inspiring and Cambridge has been added to my bucket list of places to visit… Thank you!!

  6. August 26, 2016 / 5:14 pm

    My family live near Cambridge but I’ve yet to visit the city! I really must do as it looks so pretty, I’d love to go punting down the river x

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