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Cambridge advice needed

Cambridge advice needed

Old Nov 3, 19, 12:41 pm
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Cambridge advice needed

My girlfriend and I will be in London next week — staying at the London Edition — and I just bought tickets to see Squeeze at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Tuesday night.

I’m trying to decide if we’re better off driving or taking the train. Either case we’d probably leave London early afternoon. My inclination is to take the train, but am happy to drive if the added flexibility of having a car in Cambridge would be useful. Any recommendations for things to do in Cambridge before the show (scheduled at 19:30)?
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Old Nov 3, 19, 12:53 pm
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Cambridge is not car friendly and the centre is compact. However the station is some way out of town - a 20 minutes and uninteresting walk from the Corn Exchange.

It would no doubt be easier simply to do train and cab but, for more than one, cheaper and more flexible to drive and park. Of course, driving after dinner will be problematic.

As to what to do, Cambridge is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in England - in fact I would argue the world- so it’s more a question of how long you will be visiting. Start with Kings Parade and the Backs. Then add the Fitzwilliam and go from there.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 1:27 pm
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Looking at a map, it looks like upon arrival at the train station we can take a quick taxi ride into town, after which everything appears walkable. I imagine that after the concert we'll have no trouble catching a taxi back to the station. Unless anyone disagrees, this appears to be the way to go.

Last edited by Blumie; Nov 3, 19 at 2:10 pm
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Old Nov 3, 19, 3:32 pm
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I've visited Cambridge by car and by train. Definitely take the train.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 3:40 pm
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Don't try to drive. Cambridge is congested, including with bicycles as well as cars, trucks, and pedestrians, and they drive on the wrong side of the road in England. I remember at least one parking garage that's on the edge of the downtown historic area, but it's not easy to get there with traffic jams and one way streets.

Be sure to check the schedule for the last train if you're not planning to stay overnight.

I don't know where your hotel is in London, but you might also want to check how late the underground runs if you can't walk from the station.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 6:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
Looking at a map, it looks like upon arrival at the train station we can take a quick taxi ride into town, after which everything appears walkable. I imagine that after the concert we'll have no trouble catching a taxi back to the station. Unless anyone disagrees, this appears to be the way to go.
Cambridge’s bus network is actually very good, particularly with connections to the rail station. You may wish to consider buying a Plusbus ticket with your train ticket (or just walk into the ticket office on arrival at Cambridge, they should sell you one on the spot if you show your incoming rail ticket - don’t put the ticket in the automatic barrier if you do this, it may retain it!). The Plusbus will be a few pounds (maybe £3-4), you’ll get unlimited transport all day and it’ll be quicker than waiting for a taxi.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 6:38 pm
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Depending upon what your plans are there is always the "Park and Ride" option, This is where you park outside the city center and a bus takes you in. It will be dependent upon the time the concert finishes and whether there are buses to take you back.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 11:10 pm
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Originally Posted by NWIFlyer View Post
Cambridge’s bus network is actually very good, particularly with connections to the rail station. You may wish to consider buying a Plusbus ticket with your train ticket (or just walk into the ticket office on arrival at Cambridge, they should sell you one on the spot if you show your incoming rail ticket - don’t put the ticket in the automatic barrier if you do this, it may retain it!). The Plusbus will be a few pounds (maybe £3-4), you’ll get unlimited transport all day and it’ll be quicker than waiting for a taxi.
Thanks, this is very helpful.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 11:34 pm
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Originally Posted by NWIFlyer View Post
Cambridge’s bus network is actually very good, particularly with connections to the rail station. You may wish to consider buying a Plusbus ticket with your train ticket (or just walk into the ticket office on arrival at Cambridge, they should sell you one on the spot if you show your incoming rail ticket - don’t put the ticket in the automatic barrier if you do this, it may retain it!). The Plusbus will be a few pounds (maybe £3-4), you’ll get unlimited transport all day and it’ll be quicker than waiting for a taxi.
A follow-up question: the Great Northern website is quoting me £60 for two off-peak return train tickets with the PlusBus pass. Is this an advance purchase fare, or will we be able to get the same fare if we wait until the day of the trip to purchase the ticket?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:34 am
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
A follow-up question: the Great Northern website is quoting me £60 for two off-peak return train tickets with the PlusBus pass. Is this an advance purchase fare, or will we be able to get the same fare if we wait until the day of the trip to purchase the ticket?
Off-peak tickets are normally the same price on walk-up - it’s Advance tickets (which have added restrictions) which are cheaper.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 1:10 am
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The off-peak return is £28.20, so £30 including the plus bus option sounds right. This is a walk up fare - you can just buy from the station on the day. No need for advance purchase. Trains on this route may be branded "Great Northern" or "Thameslink" (and some may depart from St Pancras rather than Kings Cross), but that ticket is valid on all the services.
What time will the concert finish? The last service back to London leaves at 2325
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Old Nov 4, 19, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by rcspeirs View Post
What time will the concert finish? The last service back to London leaves at 2325
According to the website 22:30, so we should be in good shape.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 3:02 am
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I regularly drive into Cambridge - poor public transport from here, sadly - and wouldn't recommend it unless you really know where you're going. I second NWIFlyer's PlusBus suggestion - or a taxi is fine too, there's plenty around. Or, my preference if I am arriving by train is to cycle in to the city centre (there are dockless bikes here) but that's certainly not for everyone

Do get the train from King's Cross, rather that Liverpool Street, and in preference to St Pancras. These are by far the fastest trains, and, outside of peak ours, will be first stop Cambridge (they may continue to Ely or Lynn).

Loads to do here, some incredible college buildings, punting on the river, famous historic pubs (read up on the Eagle, for example) and great food. How long will you be around and what do you fancy?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
Loads to do here, some incredible college buildings, punting on the river, famous historic pubs (read up on the Eagle, for example) and great food. How long will you be around and what do you fancy?
We'll only be in Cambridge for the afternoon before that evening's concert. I found a 9-year-old NYTimes "36 Hours In ..." article that recommends The Fitzwilliam, Kettle's Yard, Wysing Arts Center, dinner at Alimentum, brunch at Fitzbillies, lunch at Calcutta Club, and the subterranean bar at Hotel du Vin. The age of the article aside, I consider the NYTimes's "36 Hours In ..." series to be great for short visits such as this. What do you think of their recommendations? Our interests are art, architecture, food, and drink (in that order, or in reverse order, depending on the day!).
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Old Nov 4, 19, 5:13 am
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I would go for the train. Cambridge is pretty walkable and cars bring hassle.
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