If you’re starting university in Cambridge this autumn, first of all, congratulations! Cambridge is a great city, and there’s no lack of things to do in a study break (whether your style is more ‘study’ or more ‘break’). But how do you make the most of your time as a Cambridge student? Get exploring the city with LockHouse’s recommended things to do for Cambridge freshers. 

Climb the tower at Great St Mary’s 

This beautiful church is even older than the University! It’s right in the centre of town on the marketplace, and well worth a visit. Need an overview of Cambridge to familiarise yourself with the town? Climbing the 123 steps up the tower is worth it (we promise!)⁠—the view of Cambridge and the surrounding landscape from the top is unparalleled.

White and red bowling pins in a dark bowling alley about to be hit by a ballBowling and karaoke

A change of pace from fancy formals, Tenpin Bowling is located in the Cambridge Leisure Park (up near the train station). Great fun for a night out, it’s also home to arcade games and karaoke pods⁠—bring a group of people, show off your bowling skills or lack thereof, and make friends by bullying them into singing loudly and embarrassingly for your amusement.

Arts Picturehouse Cinema

Conveniently located on St Andrew’s Street, the Arts Picturehouse is a small and comfortable cinema showing a wide range of films. You can grab food and drink on site if you forgot to fill all your pockets with cinema snacks before heading out. They also offer student discounts, and if you’re a dedicated cinephile you can get a student membership with a bunch of benefits for £25.

Wander Mill Road

Mill Road is home to a vibrant range of local businesses and places to eat. We recommend Bedouin for some fantastic North African food. The Amnesty bookshop is a haven of second-hand and interesting books: find some books for your course at second-hand prices, or browse for something to read for fun in your downtime. (Remember reading for fun? Remember ‘downtime’?)

Cambridge Community Circus

As the deadlines start to loom closer, running away from your responsibilities and joining the circus begins to sound more and more appealing. Well, now you can! Open to complete beginners, Cambridge Community Circus offers training sessions in circus skills, from juggling to aerial acrobatics. Get out of the library, move around and pick up some cool new skills!

A view of the choir area of Ely Cathedral with light illuminating the stone archways and carvings from the octagonal towerVisit Ely 

Need to get out of Cambridge? The picturesque cathedral city of Ely is only fifteen minutes away by train, making it great for day trips. Visit Ely Cathedral for your fill of vaulted ceilings, beautiful carvings, and stunning views from either of its two towers; there’s also a stained glass museum on site. Independent bookshop Topping & Company, just round the corner, is great for browsing while glimpsing cathedral views from its upper floor windows. For the historically-minded, Oliver Cromwell’s house is good fun, telling the story of its controversial former inhabitant with period rooms and dioramas. 

Escape rooms and RPG nights at LockHouse

Finally, take an hour out of your schedule to reawaken your brain with a blast of puzzle-solving adrenalin at LockHouse. Our escape rooms are a great way to take some time off to escape a tomb or avert an imminent asteroid strike. See our FAQ for information on student discounts! LockHouse also runs RPG sessions every Monday evening at the Grain and Hop Store. Sessions are open to everyone, from experienced campaigners to complete beginners⁠—see the Facebook group for more info.

Need more Cambridge recommendations? Check out our other blog articles on things to do in Cambridge!