With some long weekends ahead free of any plans, James and I decided to take a day trip to Cambridge and do some exploring. We always enjoy days out like these and it’s something we’ve neglected to do for quite some time. When the lovely people at TOAST invited me to take them through a day in my hometown, I felt what better way is there to reconnect with this beautiful city than to celebrate the opening of a new TOAST store in Cambridge. Wandering further from the typical tourist routes I decided to give them a guide to the best places to visit…
Our day began with brunch at Novi. With beautiful interiors, delicious locally sourced food and roasted coffee – plus botanical cocktails, this coffee house is a place I love to indulge in. Having visited previously for calligraphy and photography workshops, Novi is one of my favourite places to head to whenever I’m in Cambridge. It’s the perfect space for my creative soul.
After brunch, we wandered further into the city, admiring all the lovely facades of flower-filled windows and botanical adorned doorsteps. These darling Cambridge streets capture my heart every time.
This beautiful old street is scattered with an abundance of blooms and plants – it’s a magical sight especially during Spring and is adorned with the feathery green foliage of possibly the oldest climbing wisteria in Cambridge.
The prettiest flowering tree and lemon yellow house tucked away down the lovely Y-shaped alleyway of St. Edward’s Passage, just off King’s Parade. A very charming little street and home to the loveliest book shop, coffee house and antiquarian.
Our wanders took us to the beautiful Magdalene Street, filled with more boutiques and independent shops. From the floral displays of The Flower House (my most favoured flower shop), to the smallest record shop I know, Lost in Vinyl, to a quintessential Cambridge bicycle shop, Bridge Cycles – this is definitely a place to explore if you’re new to Cambridge. We paused for a short while on Magdalene Bridge watching all the boats travel along the river and sharing a smile with other tourists revelling in their attempts to punt.
We walked along Bridge Street, St John’s Street and soon found ourselves on Trinity Street. The main street is lined both sides with an array of restaurants, retail shops, boutiques, university buildings and home to the lovely All Saints Garden Art & Craft Market every Saturday. Such beautiful details in every direction. It’s a lively street and the perfect setting for the new TOAST pop-up store.
I’d visited the pop-up store a few days earlier and what a treat it was for me after years of coveting their collections of clothing and homewares online. I could have spent forever perusing the rails. Even the selection of homewares caught my attention and I left with a little wish-list of their handcrafted ceramics, woollen blankets and the soft, muted colours of the washed linen/cotton bedlinen now happily in my possession.
After passing the TOAST store we carefully tiptoed up the 123 steps of the medieval turret staircase in Great St. Mary’s Church and rediscovered the beauty of the city from a new perspective, at the top of the tower.
The incredible rooftop views of the city were spectacularly displayed as the sun came out and the bells rang to signify the hour. Everything felt quite magical in that moment and we took great delight in watching the world below pass by.
We then spent time browsing the open market for hats, baskets, artisan breads and flowers. We treated ourselves to a delicious tomato and mozzarella focaccia for our picnic near the river banks later in the day.
Whenever I’m in the city I love to visit the many arts and crafts galleries, and Cambridge Contemporary Crafts on Bene’t Street is no exception. This delightful little gallery shop is filled to the brim with some of my favourite handmade crafts from the UK and compliments their sister gallery, Cambridge Contemporary Art on Trinity street perfectly.
Making a quick stop by Fitzbillies on Trumpington Street – another delicious place to indulge your appetite – we made sure not to leave without some of their artisan coffee and famous Chelsea buns to take away for our picnic.
The historic university streets of Cambridge with its wonderful heritage mingled with nature. The area surrounding King’s College has so many beautiful selections of galleries, art and craft shops, boutiques and eateries – a treasure trove of wonder for creative souls and food lovers alike.
Walking an alternative route to our picnic destination, we traced our way back to King’s Parade and through the side streets of Trinity Lane and Garret Hostel Lane into Fellows’ Garden. Making the most of the scenic views along the way, our leisurely stroll through the historical streets were interrupted only to savour and photograph the views.
Looking back across the glorious greenery of Coe Fen with its meadow plants and grazing cattle we settled under a lovely tree with a cosy blanket to relax. Sharing our food from the market and planning more day trips for the near future, we felt thoroughly content with the simple pleasures of the day. Sitting here for a while longer than we planned was simply wonderful.
Such a darling little street we stumbled onto several years back while searching for a way to The Fitzwilliam Museum from the river.
Another favourite place of mine to visit is The Botanic Gardens – an oasis in the city and haven for nature and wildlife, but also a place for capturing inspiration.
A flower enthusiast at heart, I always find myself disproportionately happy around flowers. It’s a tonic to surround myself and escape with nature – whether it’s the wild or the cultivated flowers, their blooms in abundance are the perfect way to nurture my creative soul.
Cambridge is a city I have called home for almost 26 years. Growing up with memories of picnics with my family in one of the many beautiful parks, accompanied with the usual museum and shopping jaunts, a love for simple joys has grown and with that, an unwavering appreciation for the hidden gems this special city undoubtedly holds. A seeker of the everyday beauty, I loved finding such delight in being a tourist in my own city again.
Thank you TOAST for kindly sending me such a beautiful selection of pieces from their current collection to wear during our wanders around Cambridge.
Wearing: Paisley Print Shirt Dress, Fisherman Rib Sweater in navy and Lizzy Saddle Bag in cognac.