If there's one thing I love, it's the British summer. It probably sounds a bit corny, and possibly a little bit unusual, but I absolutely love the UK, and there's nothing better than a sunny day in our beautiful country. We don't get many nice days, and recently has been a little bit hit and miss, but when the sun is shining, everyone seems to be so much happier and everything appears brighter, and it just makes me smile! I love discovering new places, visiting attractions and nice towns, and trying different restaurants and eateries. I wish I could just pack up and visit somewhere different every weekend, there's so many nice places to go. We're also fairly lucky that the UK is a reasonably small island, and you can get pretty much anywhere fairly quickly!
One of my favourite places to visit is the historic city of Cambridge, which is only about an hour away from my doorstep. It's a great weekend destination, and I was lucky enough to spend a night in the newly built Newmarket Road hotel courtesy of Travelodge. As Liam was kindly given a long weekend off from the Army, we thought it would be a great opportunity to go out and explore the city! The weather was boiling hot on the day we got there (hottest day of the year apparently), the sun was completely blazing. I'm not one to complain about to hot British weather, but it was almost too hot to walk anywhere.
We found the hotel easily and also managed to park for free on the road just behind the Travelodge. We checked into our fourth floor bedroom, which looked brand-spanking new and very clean. It was the perfect base for us for the night, which featured Travelodge's fresh new room design complete with a kingsize Dreamer Bed (deemed to be the 'Rolls Royce' of beds). We made use of the wi-fi (only £3 for 24 hours which I thought was reasonable) and digital TV to watch our favourite Friday night programmes as we were too tired and hot to venture out again in the evening.
The hotel is about a 15 minute walk from the city centre, which was still bearable in the heat. So we walked into the centre in the afternoon and wandered around the beautiful streets of shops. We also walked through the parks, admired the River Cam, and saw the stunning university buildings. After our walk, we went for our lunch at Cafe Rouge (review here) where we sat in their lovely courtyard to enjoy the weather.
We saw the punting boats along the river which we were keen to try, which we'd hoped to do the next day. However... in typical British style, the weather turned very wet, very quickly and it rained all morning. Once we got out of our cosy bed and dressed, we were treated to an all you can eat breakfast downstairs in the hotel cafe bar. I didn't even know Travelodge's had restaurants, but this one offered a breakfast buffet including bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and tomato, alongside cereals, yogurts, fruit, croissants and toast. The breakfast costs £6.65 which is a very reasonable price for an expensive area, all you can eat, which also included tea, coffee, or juice. I really enjoyed my breakfast, the sausages especially!
My hearty breakfast kept me full for the morning, and after we'd checked out of the hotel we drove into the city centre. We chose to drive this time instead of walking because it was pouring it down with rain and I hadn't brought appropriate footwear! We parked in the Grafton Shopping Centre car park, and this area is where all the cheaper bargain shops are like Primark, Poundland, Argos etc. Liam also bought a naughty box of Dunkin' Doughnuts from here.. gosh they were yummy!
I managed to resist Primark and instead we walked through the park to the other shopping area, where I found the Tiger store. If you've not heard of Tiger, they are Danish and basically sell the same style nik-naks (homewares, toys, stationery, toiletries, accessories etc) you can get in Ikea for good prices. I'd been dying to visit a store since reading about them in the news.. check them out! I bought cute watermelon glasses for 50p each, and cupcake magnets too! Also on our way to the Cath Kidston shop (they had an awesome sale on!) we stumbled across the market, which has such a nice range of products. There was cheese, fresh fruit, juices, scarves, gifts.. all sorts! I bought a freshly squeezed orange juice and a punnet of strawberries! Liam also bought me some treats from Cath Kidston.. lucky me!
Before we departed Cambridge for our drive home, we stopped off for shelter from the rain in Prezzo, where we ordered some lunch. We had a delicious anti pasti starter of cured meats, mozzerella, bread and olives, and then we each had a pizza. This turned out to be way too much food for us, as we were still full from breakfast! But we managed to take our leftover pizza slices home in a doggy bag.
Things to see and do in Cambridge:
- Go punting on the River Cam
- Check out the local market square and try new foods
- Enjoy a picnic in the park
- Visit the University and College buildings
- Hire a bicycle for the day
- Go shopping in the different parts of the city
Thank you Travelodge for having us for a wonderful stay!