Tips for travellers to Cambridge
We want your visit of Cambridge to be as agreeable as it can be. Follow our tips and it will be.
Driving & parking in Cambridge
With the obvious advice to paying attention to speed limits, Cambridge has also got many bus lanes which are only limited to cyclists, buses, taxis and emergency vehicles. If you are found to be driving in one of them, you will be fined, as cameras cover bus lanes. Cambridge city council also recently introduce bus gates – Red bell markers on the map below. Pay particular attention to Silver Street’s bus gates (essentially, the old bollards were removed and cameras were added). Drivers cannot use Silver Street anymore to drive into Cambridge city centre.
A lot of drivers get caught at the Silver Street bus gates as they are a direct way to the Grand Arcade car park, your GPS will not know that means getting a £60 fine in the process.
Bus gates are already in operation on four other roads in Cambridge city centre: on Station Road, Bridge Street, Emmanuel Road & Regent Street/St Andrews Street. Penalty charges for driving in bus lanes/gates are £60, discounted to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Cambridge boasts quite a large number of car parks, but they tend to fill up quite fast especially at weekends. The Grand Arcade car park can be pricey if you leave your car there for more than 4 hours: Up to 4 hours will cost you about £12 most days, up to 5 hours will cost you about £23 most days (quite a jump). Queen Anne car park is much cheaper but a bit further away. I generally park on the Queens’ Road (also know as The backs) myself – Green markers on the map below, as it is a flat fee, and you can also pay using the RingGo app from your phone and extend your parking session as needed and it can prove very practical – I would advise you to install the app on your phone and open an account before making the trip. If you do not mind walking, you can even park further away for free and walk into the city centre, or cycle using an OFO bike.
Cambridge has also got many Park&Ride car parks – Dark blue markers on the map below, and it is worth checking them out before you set off. You can park there for free, then take a bus to the city centre, it is a great way to discover the city, without worrying about parking. Also, if you are staying at a hotel in town, many of them have got car parks, or let you park in one of the many car parks for cheaper than the going rate.
Getting around Cambridge
Unless you are disabled or have a medical condition preventing you from walking long distances, walking around Cambridge city centre is fairly easy.
Cambridge only has one little hill on top of Castle hill, and you may find the 123 steps of the Great St Mary’s church challenging but worth it once you reach the top.
You can also hop on and off the open-top Sightseeing bus, or the other buses around town provided you have a day travel card.
Many shops around town offer bike hire, in the station car park or near the Grand Arcade car park for example. You can also borrow a Mobike (red & grey) bike provided you have a smartphone, their app and an account with them. It’s very easy and intuitive to use.
Punting company offer trips on the river Cam, either to see the Backs of the colleges in town or towards Grantchester. We recommend Rutherfords, and you would get a discount if you use them and mention you’re on one of our tours.
Do not Forget
Cambridge is fairly safe as a city, but a minimum of awareness and common sense is preferable. Especially, in the evening and at night, when walking back to your hotel or car, try to travel in group, especially in badly lit areas.
Most of our tours are designed to make you discover the city, and learn some new techniques, especially for our iPhone or photo tours. We are always keen to have fun in anything we do, and we will not rush you if the tour got delayed on the way.
Cambridge is a great, vibrant and multicultural city, you will most definitely love your visit here.
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- Travel bag
Sell your pictures of Cambridge in our gallery
If you take part in one of our photography tours and you’re particularly happy with one of your images, we will upload it to our online shop for you to try and sell it as well as on our Instagram account with full credits.