Cambridge is known for its history, its university, the plentiful cycling and, of course, punting on the river Cam. But it also one of the top 20 greenest cities in the UK. Cambridge’s relatively small size means that whether you’re in the mood to lie on the grass or go for a long country walk, there’s options aplenty. Here are six of the most beautiful parks to visit.
Milton Country Park, a 38ha (95-acre) patch of woodland on the edge of the city, has a lake, trees and wildflowers making it ideal for walks and picnics. If you need some extra zen, there’s even a sensory garden. It’s a short walk from Cambridge North train station, making it more isolated but well worth the trouble.
For those who want to follow the River Cam, Alexandra Gardens is a great place to stop off and take some time to relax. Featuring a pavilion, playground and a perimeter of ancient trees, it is one of the city’s hidden gems. Alexandra Gardens is just over the road from the much larger (and often busier) Jesus Green, only 15 minutes from the city centre.
This list was always going to include a shout-out to Cambridge’s academic pedigree. Opened in 1846, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden is a 16ha (40-acre) wonderland that is home to 8,000 different plant species from all over the world. It’s right in the middle of the city, just off Trumpington Road. You’ll arrive a visitor and leave a botanist.
Cherry Hinton Hall is a large Victorian country house with grounds that are open to the public. As well as a playground for any restless kids in tow, there is also a nature trail featuring an array of wildlife. From the centre, the Citi bus can bring you here in 20 minutes, or if you come by foot you can do it in about an hour.
A graveyard may not seem like the most obvious place to relax, but Mill Road Cemetery is different. The 3.4ha (8.6-acre) burial ground is home to an abundance of plants and wildlife, as well as serving as the final resting place for several significant historical figures. The cemetery sits on a short, scenic walking route about 1/2mi (1km) from the centre.
Another stop-off along the River Cam, Midsummer Common is a popular spot for houseboat mooring, as well as playing host to events such as the Bonfire Night fireworks and Strawberry Fair. The grass is kept in check by a small herd of bulls, which you might even spot on a good day. Midsummer Common is a breezy 1/2mi (1km) north of the city centre.