The historic city of Cambridge is one of the most popular places in the UK to visit and boasts not only a rich academic heritage but also an enchanting atmosphere perfect for couples seeking a romantic getaway.
From punting along the tranquil river to exploring centuries-old colleges, Cambridge offers a plethora of activities to make your romantic escape truly unforgettable.
There are many reasons why it’s one of the best city breaks in the UK for couples, with its range of things to do, rich history, and unique vibes.
Whether you’re planning a trip here or are just in need of date ideas, here are the best things for couples to do in Cambridge.
1. Go punting on the River Cam
When you’re in the city, don’t miss the chance to embark on a quintessential Cambridge experience by punting along the serene River Cam.
Glide through the water as you take in the breathtaking views of iconic landmarks such as the Bridge of Sighs and the verdant College Backs.
Joining a guided punting tour is a fun way to see different parts of the city from a different angle and learn more about it along the way.
2. Stroll through the Botanic Garden
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
This 40-acre oasis is a haven of tranquillity, featuring an array of beautifully curated landscapes and collections.
Take a leisurely stroll hand-in-hand through the scented gardens, exotic plant collections, and picturesque glasshouses, all creating an intimate setting for couples.
Visit the Botanic Garden throughout the year to see it transform with each season, from the glorious colours of summer to the winter lights trails in December.
3. Visit the Fitzwilliam Museum
For couples with an interest in art and culture, the Fitzwilliam Museum is a must-visit destination.
Explore the vast collection of masterpieces spanning centuries, from classical sculptures to contemporary works.
The museum’s elegant architecture and charming ambience provide an ideal backdrop for a cultured and romantic outing.
It’s also free to enter, so it’s perfect for anyone looking for date ideas in Cambridge on a budget.
4. Explore the city by bike
Cambridge is a paradise for cyclists, having plenty of cycle routes and a forgiving lack of inclines across the city.
You don’t need to have your own bikes either – there are plenty of places to hire them and lock them securely around Cambridge.
Touring the city on two wheels is an easy way to see a lot within a short space of time, as you’ll be able to zip around between all the major sites, so it’s a great option if you need to pack a lot in!
5. Join a sightseeing bus tour
One of the best ways to see lots of the sites around Cambridge (other than by bike) is by making the most of a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
With a ticket that you can use across 24 hours, you can fit the bus tour around the rest of your itinerary, whether you join for only a couple of stops or the full length.
Onboard commentary will guide you through the history of each site that you pass, so it’s also a fun way to learn more about the city.
For couples looking for things to do in Cambridge in the rain, it’s a great option as you can stay sheltered from the rain while still exploring and seeing lots in the city.
6. Take part in a guided history walk
For lovers of history, there’s plenty to see around Cambridge when exploring by foot, and a historic walking tour is a perfect way to see what the city has to offer.
Joining one like this guided historic walking tour is a great way to see many of the most impressive buildings and sites in and around the city, including five of the Cambridge colleges and the 11th-century Church of St Bene’t.
A professional guide will be able to offer insights that you’d miss if you explored by yourself, so don’t pass on the chance to discover some of the most interesting and romantic spots in Cambridge.
7. Climb to the top of St Mary’s Church
For panoramic views of the city, climb the tower of St Mary’s Church, the tallest church tower in Cambridge.
The ascent up its 123 steps may be a bit steep, but the breathtaking vistas of the cityscape make it well worth the effort.
With 360° panoramic views from the outdoor viewing platform, you can share an unforgettable moment with your loved one as you take in the awe-inspiring scenery.
8. Indulge in a romantic dining experience
Like many of the best UK cities, Cambridge boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering a variety of dining options to suit every palate.
Choose from intimate restaurants along the riverbank, charming pubs with a cosy atmosphere, or upscale eateries for a romantic candlelit dinner.
Sample local and international cuisines while enjoying each other’s company in the heart of this enchanting city.
9. Pamper yourselves at a spa retreat
While many ideas on this list involve getting out and about and exploring the city, you can also treat yourselves to a day of relaxation and rejuvenation at one of Cambridge’s luxurious spas, such as the Cambridge Belfry.
Unwind with a couples’ massage or enjoy a soothing spa day complete with facials, saunas, and thermal experiences.
A spa retreat provides the perfect opportunity to reconnect and escape the hustle and bustle of the oftentimes very busy city.
10. Attend a performance at the Cambridge Arts Theatre
For couples who appreciate the arts, attending a performance at the Cambridge Arts Theatre is a delightful way to spend an evening.
From classic plays to contemporary productions, the theatre offers a diverse range of shows that cater to various tastes.
From classic Shakespeare plays to lively pantomimes, a night out here is one of the best things to do in Cambridge for couples who enjoy sharing the magic of live performances.
Days out from Cambridge for couples
If you’re looking to get out of the city, there’s plenty to do nearby. You can read our blog on the most fun things to do in Cambridgeshire for couples, and here are a few of the best days out:
1. Visit Ely
Ely is one of the most beautiful cities in the east of England, with a historic centre that has plenty to explore.
At its heart is one of the most stunning cathedrals in the UK, and the views from the top are breathtaking.
2. Spend a day at Duxford
The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is one of the most popular days out from Cambridge, even for couples.
Whether or not you’re interested in military or aviation history, it’s a truly fascinating experience, especially if you see one of the live aerial displays.
3. Discover Wicken Fen
Wicken Fen is the National Trust’s oldest nature reserve, and it’s still worth visiting for couples planning a trip out from Cambridge.
Take a romantic stroll or even a cycle ride to explore the wetlands here and you’ll get the chance to see many of the 9000 different species of animals that inhabit it.
How to get to Cambridge
With its location in the southeast of England, Cambridge is a relatively easy location to get to, depending on where you’re travelling from and how you’re getting there.
If you’re travelling within the UK, trains are a convenient option, and fortunately Cambridge is one of the best UK city breaks by train due to its good connections.
You can find direct trains from major cities like London, Birmingham, and Manchester, and a second station – Cambridge North – opened in 2017 so can make travel to certain parts of the city even easier.
The train journey from London to Cambridge takes approximately 50-60 minutes, making it a popular choice for those arriving from the capital.
If you prefer driving, Cambridge is accessible by car. The city is well-connected by major roads, including the M11 motorway.
From London, you can take the M11 and follow the signs for Cambridge. If you’re travelling from the north of the country, it’s still a straightforward route down the A1, then onto the A14 before joining the M11.
Parking in the city centre can be limited and expensive, so it’s advisable to use park-and-ride facilities (such as at Trumpington) if you plan to explore the city on foot.
National Express and other bus services operate routes to Cambridge from various locations across the UK. The central bus station is located at Drummer Street, providing easy access to the rest of the city.
If you’re arriving from abroad, the nearest major airport is London Stansted Airport (STN), which is approximately 30 miles south of Cambridge.
From Stansted, you can take a train, bus, or hire a taxi to reach Cambridge.
Alternatively, London Heathrow (LHR) or London Luton (LLA) are the next nearest major airports to get to Cambridge from.