I’ve long been a fan of exploring my own back yard, so when I relocated to Cambridge I wasted no time in compiling a list of places to visit in East Anglia, based on recommendations from friends, family and colleagues and features in Cambridge Edition. Bury St. Edmunds – or plain Bury to the locals – was one such place. Back in April, we spent a day exploring this bustling market town and its medieval ruins.
Believe it or not (and I can’t – where has the time gone?!), I’ve been living in Cambridge for almost a year. Over the past ten months, I’ve eaten my way round the city’s cafés, had more scoops of gelato than I care to admit to, taken advantage of the many free events and explored the local area. I’ve been plotting this post for a while, umming and ahing over which places merited a spot, and it required a hefty amount of creative thinking at times to fill in some of the letters (without resorting to college after college after . . . well, you get the idea). Without further ado, here’s an A-Z of Cambridge, featuring some well-known landmarks and some lesser-known gems.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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, browsing its antique sales and independent retailers, or 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 . . .
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).
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.)
If you take the crowds out of the equation, London is truly magical at Christmas. It sparkles, glitters and gleams with festive cheer from Winterville to Winter Wonderland. Christmas, Yuletide, Noël, call it what you will – the festive season is my favourite time of the year, and I couldn’t resist pulling together a seasonal edition of this series. Last week, Laurence and I headed down to London for a day full of touristy goodness; we hit the streets instead of the sweaty underground trains, and clocked up a whopping 30,000 steps in the process. (More than enough to justify all the mince pies we ate later in the day.) Here’s what we got up to . . .
Our trip to Leeds wouldn’t have been complete without a hike, so a few days before we left, my OS maps came off the bookshelf and the felt tips were brought out. We ummed and ahhed over where to go (Yorkshire Dales? North York Moors? Ilkley?) and eventually settled on a ten kilometre hike across the eastern edge of Rombalds Moor, a fairly low-lying area of moorland between Ilkley and Keighley.