Cambridge: Beyond the University

Sometimes cities are just associated with certain things and find it difficult to escape that association.

Rome has plenty to offer the visitor but finds it hard to escape its association with a successful civilisation over 2000 years ago, Athens is the same. It’s difficult to think of Berlin without thinking about a wall that no longer exists, and who holds an image of Sydney in their mind without the harbour bridge and the opera house popping in?

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It’s the same with Cambridge and indeed Oxford in the UK. Although most people won’t be able to conjure up a specific image in their heads (apart from maybe of a yearly boat race), it’s difficult to get past the fact that these cities are world renowned for their universities. But both have much more to offer aside from a high population of intelligent students.

Cambridge has a lively music scene and live music can be enjoyed at places such as the Portland Arms, the Cambridge Corn Exchange and Cambridge Junction. A number of successful bands formed in Cambridge including Katrina and the Waves and Clean Bandit. Notable musicians who were born there include Matthew Bellamy from Muse and Olivia Newton John.

Perhaps the most famous band to hail from Cambridge are the legendary Pink Floyd. Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour all went to school in the city.

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Theatre is also an important part of the city culture. The Arts Theatre is Cambridge’s best known and most traditional theatre. The venue with the largest capacity is the Cambridge Corn Exchange and this plays host to larger events.

The ADC Theatre, although not well known as a venue, can boast to be the host of the Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club. In the UK, this is a well renowned amateur dramatics club that has produced some of the best known faces of British comedy, including Peter Cook, Eric Idle, Clive James, Hugh Laurie and David Mitchell, to name a handful.

If you’re planning on visiting Cambridge at a certain time of year then it’s worth making note of the festivals and events taking place in the city throughout the year.

The Midsummer Fair (taking place on or near midsummers day) i sat first glance a simple funfair and market. However it dates back to 1211 when it was first given a charter by King John.

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The Cambridge Beer Festival takes place for a week every May and is notable as being the second largest beer festival in the UK outside of London. Average beer consumption per year is about 90,000 pints and revellers get through a literal tonne of cheese too!

The UK’s largest free science festival is held here in March and the Cambridge Folk Festival celebrates folk music in the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall on the edge of the city limits.

If you want to enjoy these festivals to the full then it’s best to seek out accommodation near Cambridge ahead of your visit. Thesqua.re can help with this as they have a range of self catering apartments available  to visitors to UK cities.

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