Cambridge in the Summertime

As anyone who follows me on Twitter will know, I simply adore living in Cambridge. I’m not sure whether it’s the relaxed/preppy lifestyle here, the incredible history and architecture (900 year-old colleges which have housed, at some point or another, many of the world’s most important figures), or just the fact it’s the first place the Clever Boyfriend and I have made our very own and shared together, but being here is one of the happiest chapters of my life.

Aside from the throngs of noisy tourists who flock to the city during the day (and who simply refuse to move off the road and out of the way of fast-moving bicycles on Kings Parade), this is absolutely the most glorious time of year in Cambridge. Summers here are idyllic, blissfully lazy, and a happy whirlwind of bike rides down leafy lanes, picnics on the Backs, and punting on the river. Here are a few of my favourite Summertime pastimes, captured over the past month or so on my iphone (my proper camera is too big to carry everywhere, but sometimes it’s the most simple, spontaneous moments I most love to capture).*

Wandering around the beautiful Hogwarts-alike Cambridge colleges (even after 2.5 years here, I somehow always manage to stumble upon a new courtyard, secret garden, or winding stone staircase).
Pimms, bumblebees, Shakespeare plays and garden parties in the beautiful college gardens.
Buying fresh English strawberries almost every day (the most perfect, complete Summer food).
The fact that in Cambridge, almost no one drives – bicycles are the only way to get the around the tiny, cobbled streets (this makes me happy!). When I go for bike rides on my Pashley with my favourite heels on (always easier to cycle, rather than walk in) and Bridget Bardot on my ipod, I feel like I’m either back in my happy Summer childhood memories (cycling around our leafy neighbourhood in Australia with my Daddy), or an extra in Sophia Coppolla’s Miss Dior Cherie videos.
The beautiful, beautiful River Cam, where weekends are spent lounging on the College riverbanks – usually with a picnic, a good book, a sketchpad and an entire hour to do nothing but lie back, daydream and stare at the blue sky as the fluffy clouds drift by.
Punting (gliding down the river on flat-bottomed boats, for those not familiar) is, of course, obligatory, but only during the long, golden evenings after the tourist (who treat the river as a bumper-boat course) have fled – in the evening it’s just for lovers, professors and preppy students wearing straw boaters and rolled chinos.
Forgoing proper meals in lieu of ice cream bought from the carts that pop up around the city, to be eaten while sitting on a stone wall in the shade.
Long walks through the wild meadows along the river to the Granchester apple orchards for Lord Byron poetry and afternoon tea under the fruit trees.
Weekly trips to the farmer’s markets in the town centre for fresh English fruit (greengages, berries and apricots) and a big bunch of flowers – when cycling home after these trips, I feel as though the wicker basket on my Pashley is filled with pure treasure!
Pear cocktails designed just for me at the secret speakeasy-style 12a Club and lazy brunches at Bill’s.
The sound of the Kings College choir and churchbells drifting on the balmy breeze as the golden sun sets.

Have you ever been to Cambridge? What do you love about your city at this time of year?

Love, Miss B xx

*If you’re on Instagram or Tumblr, come and find me there – it’s where I post snippets of my daily life and adventures every day.

21 thoughts on “Cambridge in the Summertime

  1. Very Merchant Ivory of you!

    I’ve been to Cambridge and loved it, even in winter; I have a beautiful colored pencil drawing of a tree I bought there in a street market and I look at it every morning beside my bed.

    I miss the Toronto islands and the diners and sitting on a roofdeck at sunset with friends. But I love summer here in NY (suburbs) with our top floor balcony, riverview sunsets, tennis court and pool. On July 4, we could see the fireworks from six (!) towns at once, on our side of the Hudson and in little towns up and down the west side.

    Gorgeous photos. Lucky you to have found a way to make a living in so pretty a place.

  2. I love living in Cambridge… It’s the whole reason I brought pop up afternoon tea events to the city and to our countryside!… There is so much to see.
    Punting is a must, and do it with letsgopunting to enjoy myafternoon tea alongside it!… Or check out the hidden treasures of Cambridge such as plurabelle books on purbeck road, or indigo cafe next to the hauntedbook shop. I could go on forever! Xxxx lovely photos! You did us proud with this post missy, just lovely x

  3. It’s been so long since I’ve been to Cambridge, I used to visit all the time when I was younger as my childhood best friend’s big sister was studying there. You are truly lucky to be able to live in such an enchanted place, I’m definitely going to have to plan a trip back there soon!

  4. I spent last weekend in Cambridge – the first time I’ve been in years. I can thoroughly endorse Bill’s for brunch, and the lovely lovely market. In fact, I loved it so much I’ve now applied for a job there. Fingers crossed! x

    PS Your photos are fab – which app do you use? Instagram?

  5. Ah Cambridge – one of the many reasons I love it is because of its essential larkiness: madcap students, Byronic youths bicycling dreamily along the lanes, nude swimmers on the Cam (Why they are always frolicking when we are punting visiting aged relatives?). You are right it’s a great place to live ….

  6. Gosh, what can i say Miss B? Your writing is really exquisite and it’s always such a delight to see how you describe things and events=)

    I went to Cambridge to visit a friend when i was a student in London years back, and i gotta say, i loveeeed the place! I was there for a uni social event where there was unlimited (i think,lol) access of hotdogs and beer! hahaha….we just sat on the grass and enjoyed the sunset, it was beautiful! i remember seeing all those historical colleges and i was just simply in awe and couldn’t get to lift my jaw back up, hahaha

    ahhh….thanks for bringin me back the old Cambridge memories! Love the effect you did with the photos too:)


  7. I’ve lived in Cambridge my whole life! Apart from for University since last September…moving into my new apartment soon, eek!

    Back here for a bit of the summer. I love Clown’s cafe. And Boudoir Femme on Kings Street – where I used to work. Watching the Bumps, going to Jamie’s, definitely agree with the Shakespeare plays in the college gardens…

  8. Beautiful photos! I like how you put them all together to form a near collage. As someone that lives on the other side of the pond, I can tell you that Cambridge, MA and Boston have a similar spirit in the summertime – minus the punting! x Jessica

  9. I just can’t resist some good old fashioned Oxford-Cambridge rivalry right now…

    Please don’t take offence, it’s not to be deliberately provocative but simply because my heart goes out to Oxford more than it does Cambridge. Despite your beautiful pictures and very strong arguments, you will never change my mind. I do like Cambridge but it doesn’t quite draw me in the same way that Oxford does… but perhaps it is just because I have spent more enchanted moments in Oxford than I have Cambridge.

    • Oh not at all, anyone who’s a part of Oxbridge secretly loves the friendly rivalry (if we’re honest). And growing up in a family of Oxford alumni/professors, I never thought I could like the ‘Other Place’ more, but living here has been such a dream. They are both incredibly magical places, but for me I think Cambridge just wins in terms of ‘prettiness’ and the lifestyle here.

      B xx

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