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These are the best things to do with your family in Cambridge

Dedicated to my dad and best friend (big up Michael)!


It can often seem like we’re in Cambridge less than we’re home – unless of course, you live in Cambridge – which means it’s pretty much pointless going home during term. Luckily, this gives our parents and friends an excuse to come and visit. My dad normally visits in the middle of term, keeping the week five blues away. So here’s a list of the best places I’ve taken Michael when he’s visited me!

1. Punting

Coming from a college without access to punts, I’ve always wanted to go punting, especially since it’s the quintessential thing to do in Cambridge. So what better opportunity than to take my dad? We had a punting tour, mainly because neither of us wanted to do any hard labour. Taking your friends and family on a punting tour gives them a fairly unique experience and provides them with all the fun facts of Cambridge, all while having a relaxing sit down. Word of warning: Avoid the seats at the front of the punt, unless you want to be absolutely soaked.

Image credits: Jessica Spearman

2. Fitzwilliam Museum

Even for the less history inclined, the Fitzwilliam is a great museum, an easy way to get the steps in, and not so taxing on your bank account (it’s free)! As a history student, my dad is used to being dragged around castles and museums, but the variety in the Fitzwilliam means there’s something for everyone. It’s definitely worth a visit, even if it’s just for the architecture.

3. Botanic Gardens

Admittedly, when my dad visited, it was raining when we went to the Botanic Gardens. Nonetheless, it is still a gorgeous place to visit! It was free entry for me as a student and not too much for my dad. My favourite place would have to be one of the many greenhouses (and not just because it offered shelter from the rain), as there were so many plants. It’s a nice place to have a wander, and a rare place in Cambridge where you can actually walk on the grass.

Image credits: Jessica Spearman

4. Formals

I’ve never had the chance to take my dad to a formal, mainly because he thinks his tie is cursed (it actually is) and he refuses to wear formal attire, but formals are the best way to show your family and friends one of the more social Cambridge traditions. Whether your college provides free wine or not, a formal still provides great atmosphere and a three course meal for less than £20 is a bargain. It’s definitely one of the more classic Cambridge traditions, with posh gowns and a toast in Latin. Even if my dad remains adamant on not going to a formal, I’ve already invited my grandma.

5. Tour of Cambridge

Moving somewhere new means you get to show everyone from home where you live now. I remember my offer holder day in April 2022 when my dad and I found what we now call “our tree”.

Image credits: Jessica Spearman

Cambridge is an incredible city, which makes giving a tour so much fun. Showing my dad where the best pubs are, my favourite restaurants (hint hint for dinner later), and where I live are all staples of a visit. It’s worth trying to sneak in to other colleges too; a highlight of Easter term was my dad walking into Great Court at Trinity and saying, “Wow, this is big!”. Poetic words.

It is easy to take Cambridge’s beauty for granted when you go here, but when a family member visits, you get to relive the wide-eyed wonder you had when you first visited.