Café Crawling in Cambridge

Cambridge has independent cafés in abundance, and I’ve spent a good deal of time over the last few months trying them out and establishing which ones are set to be firm favourites over the course of my time here. Whether you’re craving cake or have a fondness for flapjack, there’s sure to be a café on this list with something that will tickle your taste buds . . .

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Cambridge University Botanic Garden: Orchids 2018

Just a couple of weeks before the ‘Beast from the East’ swept across the UK, our boiler broke down. (Looking back, it was rather good timing, as being without heat last week would have been much worse, but at the time it felt anything but.) Spending a day shivering on our sofa wasn’t all that appealing, so we ventured out to the Glasshouse Range at Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

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The Skip Garden: An Oasis in King’s Cross

I’ve fallen in love with a few places in London, but none so quickly as Global Generation’s Skip Garden in the heart of King’s Cross. Coal Drops Yard, Granary Square and Gasholders may be the epitome of industrial chic, but if it’s a taste of rural bliss you’re after, look no further than this thriving community garden.

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Let There Be Light: e-Luminate, Cambridge

Over the years, I’ve seen a fair number of cities bathed in light, transformed by vibrantly-coloured installations. I remember travelling up to Blackpool for The Illuminations as a child, lights snaking for miles along the front. Years later, I stood in Millennium Square, alone, mesmerised by Light Night Leeds. Since then I’ve seen light shows in Bern, Lyon, London and, now, Cambridge. I didn’t expect much from e-Luminate, but I was quickly surprised by just how good a show my current hometown put on.

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Norwich: City of Stories

Steeped in history, culture and architectural heritage, Norwich is one of my favourite cities in the UK – and not just because it’s home to No. 33, a cake emporium which tops my to-visit list every time I visit the city. I doubt I could ever tire of wandering its cobbled streets and elegantly styled arcades, of browsing its antique sales and independent retailers, of working my way through the city’s many eateries. Designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2012, Norwich’s Business Improvement District (BID) has since commissioned a number of eye-catching murals which draw on the city’s vibrant past. Some seamlessly blend elements of folklore with the fabric of the city; others combine the city’s landmarks with its literary heritage. Here are six of my favourites, from a morning spent wandering the city’s streets . . .

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Lumiere London: Bright Lights and Highlights

January usually has little going for it (unless you’re a pluviophile, that is), so I was naturally rather excited when I spotted a column in Time Out heralding the return of Lumiere London. (We’ll gloss over the fact that they’ve nabbed a French word so as to have an alliterative event name and then butchered the spelling of it.) Commissioned by the Mayor of London, this city-wide event sees installations of all shapes and sizes illuminate the capital in glorious technicolour. Clusters of projections, neons and suspended sculptures bring a new dimension to the capital’s iconic buildings, streets and landmarks (and a fair number of lesser-frequented spots, too).

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Seal Pups at Blakeney Point

There are a few things in life worth getting up early for, and the seal pups at Blakeney Point are one of them. Over the months of November, December and January, hundreds of seal pups are born in the sand dunes of Blakeney National Nature Reserve, making this the largest seal colony in England. (And a beachful of blubber – but a cute one at that.)

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