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Days Out From Cambridge – Within an Hours Drive

Days Out From Cambridge – within an hour’s drive


The Imperial War Museum at Duxford

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford

Just down the road from Cambridge is the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. This is a fabulous family day out, with so many exhibits spread over such a wide area we have never managed to see all of it in a single visit. There is a lot under cover, but we prefer to visit Duxford in the better weather to enjoy the outside space too. There is lots on for families with special events in the school holidays, trails designed for kids, a play area and activities to do at home before or after your visit. There are lots of picnic places onsite as well as cafés and a restaurant.

Thetford Forest Park is a great place for a family day trip from Cambridge. There are endless walking and cycling trails, including a recently opened Gruffalo trail, a fabulous adventure playground (free other than parking fees), picnic places as well as eating and drinking provision in the High Lodge Centre. There is open air cinema on some summer evenings, and summer concerts. For more information, please see their website, which also features a number of free activity downloads for children. Thetford Forest is also home to Go Ape, where you can climb up into the tree tops and enjoy a zip wire adventure or a Tarzan Swing. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground they also offer a forest segway tour at Thetford. If you book online before 30th November 2014, you can get 10% off per person on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Simply use promotional code AFFTWT at

Thetford Forest

Thetford Forest

Our final idea for a day trip in the Thetford area is Grimes Graves, a Neolithic flint mine, where you can climb 30ft down a ladder into one of the excavated mines. Please note, children under 5 are not allowed into the mine.

Even closer to home is the lovely city of Ely. The cathedral is beautiful and well worth a visit, there are fantastic views if you have the energy to climb the towers. Oliver Cromwell was an Ely resident, and his former house is open to the public with an array of restored 17th Century rooms and an exhibition on the Civil War. Our favourite Ely activity is a walk by the river and a picnic, but there are plenty of places to eat if you would rather someone else did the catering, in particular several options for cream tea are difficult to pass up.

Easy to link into a day trip to Ely is a visit to Wicken Fen, a spectacular wetlands where it is easy to spot wildlife from the boardwalk trails. If you regularly visit National Trust attractions, it is well worth looking into National Trust Memberships as this can save a significant sum of money.

Bury St Edmunds also has a lot to offer families. The lovely Abbey Gardens in the city centre has a redesigned larger play area and mini golf. The indoor Curvemotion has (apparently) the largest play frame in East Anglia, along with zorbing, roller skating and soft play. If you have a budding historian at home, Bury St Edmunds is also worth a visit to explore the links with the Magna Carta. Audley End is just south of Cambridge and is a lovely place to explore. You can visit the house and extensive gardens. There is a children’s play area and various family oriented events, particularly during the school holidays.

Swan & cygnets

Swan & Cygnets

If you want to get active, there are lots of great options near Cambridge. We love Grafham Water. It’s a great place to walk, cycle or take a scooter. There are nature reserves, play areas & good places to picnic. There is also a water sports centre with all manner of activities, including sailing, climbing and archery.

Out towards Peterborough, but less then an hour from the centre of Cambridge is the Great Fen. This is a project to recreate a massive wetland area between Huntingdon & Peterborough. There are lots of different place to visit and it is a great place for a stroll and to go wildlife watching. There is a buggy friendly discovery trail at the Countryside Centre.

A little further afield, but still within an hour of the centre of Cambridge are Bletchley Park and The National Museum of Computing. Both are brilliant for kids with an interest in maths and / or computers and both run a range of programmes for children during the school holidays. These can get booked up so it is worth giving them a call before you drive all the way there.


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