My final birthday celebration was a weekend away in Cambridge which was all researched and booked by my beautiful daughter – thank you Lara, it was wonderful.

I had never been to Cambridge before which is why Lara chose to take me.  I want to go again!  It is a beautiful City and one small enough so you can walk around it.  It is steeped in history and full of beautiful architecture, shops and eateries.  Quite the perfect weekend destination.

We arrived early Saturday morning, checked in to our hotel and headed off for brunch.  At a cafe called Sticky Beaks I had a latte and Bircher Muesli which is what Lara had too.

in Sticky BeaksThis picture sums up Cambridge for me; bicycles, pale yellow stone buildings and beautiful gates leading in to extraordinary places of learning.
bicycle outside door There are bicycles everywhere.  How refreshing to see that they can be padlocked to railings and left on streets here.  Plus there are parking sites for bikes too.  Other Cities should take note and copy.bicycles in Coambridge This is the view inside the little Round Church.Inside the Round Church One of many churches open to the public.Round ChurchPeople have lived here since at least Roman times and the history here is breathtaking.
Bridge House Of course the most famous thing about Cambridge is the University and you are allowed to look inside many of the colleges.  This is one of the flower borders inside Magadelene at Magdaelene The formal dining room at Magdalene was set up for a dinner.Magdalene formal diningI loved the architecture in this and many other colleges.
Magdalene College Magdallen Coolege Magdalen college garden We continued walking towards Castle Hill and we realised we were in for a treat.  Once a year Castle Hill hosts an open day and it was this Saturday.

Castle Hill Open Day poster

Inside the curved building to the right of the Car Park sign is a Nuclear Bunker!The bunker We stepped through the very thick door to see what was inside. L and H in the bunker I remember CND very clearly and went on quite a few marches myself in the 1970s so I found it fascinating to be reminded of a time many people, such as my own children, know nothing about.Cambridge Peace Group letter The bunker is today owned by Cambridge County Council who store archaeological finds here such as the Roman coins Harvey was allowed to touch and was quite fascinated by.Roman coins Archaeological finds are stored here and in a salt mine in Cheshire!CCC archaeology storage Cute doorsWe continued wandering around.  This is the cute little St.Peter’s Church.

St.Peter's Church Inside it is tiny and very spartan.inside St.peter's churchWe went to Kettle’s Yard, looked round the art gallery and the walked up to Kettle’s Yard House which was the home of Jim Ede, who was the Curator of the Tate in London.

Kettles yard HouseJim collected art and opened his house up once a week to exhibit it.  He was well known for simple displays of objects such as these pebbles.  Unfortunately no one told Harvey NOT to play with the pebbles.  Oops!  Hopefully no harm was done.

pebbles on table Pebbles in KYH This simple and quite bare house was one of my favourite places I visited in Cambridge.  The house felt very calm and peaceful and I loved the light and the simplicity here.In KYH This old bathroom reminded me of a few from my childhood!KYH bathroom I have come home with an urge to paint it all white and remove the last few carpets to display floorboards.Inside KYH

Time for lunch.  Knowing we were out for a special dinner we popped in to Cote for a main course only.

Cote menu When in Rome …..  or even in a French restaurant in Cambridge …. Pernod and Cassis.Pernod and Cassis Roast chicken in mushroom sauce with frites and salad.  Yummy.Cote chicken and chips We went to visit more University Colleges in the afternoon.  This beautiful building is part of St.John’s College.St. Johns red brick The sculptures are so good they look almost lifelike.St. Johns's sculpture How very talented some people are to create such beautiful objects.St.John's St John's Unfortunately Trinity College was closed to the public so we had to make do with admiring the door way.  We learned today that the statue of Henry VIII is holding a wooden chair leg !  Apparently he was originally holding a Sceptre but some students climbed up and replaced it with a bicycle pump.  After about a year the College decided it was not very respectful so replaced it with a wooden chair leg!Henry VIII with chir leg Trinity ChapelAnother college I really wanted to visit was King’s.

Outside King's CollegeKing’s College was open and the chapel was not only open but a large group of 200 choristers were practising.  I was delighted.  I love choral music and to hear it in such an extraordinary place was very wonderful and quite emotional.

organ at kingsI could have sat here all afternoon.
Kings choir
It is very hard to capture the scale and beauty of this amazing place.Kings How did they build this in the 15th and 16th Centuries?ceiling at King's I can spot 2 familiar little faces here 🙂L and H inside Kings Inside Kings I managed, for the sake of my children, to tear myself away!  This is two sides of the large square that form part King’s college, the chapel being one of the sides.

King's square

fountain at King's clockface This is the chapel seen from the outside and you can see how small the people look as they walk beside it.  Big is not always beautiful but it is at King’s Cambridge.scale of Kings This is the view of King’s and Clare colleges from one of the bridges over the River Cam and to the left is a field of cows!  It gives an idea of how majestic and magnificent the college buildings must have appeared as they rose above the surrounding fields when they were first built.Clare and Kings This is the Corpus clock outside Corpus Christi College in the City centre.  It was reveled by Stephen Hawking in 2008.  The three concentric rings display the seconds, minutes and hours by a backlit blue light.  If I understood it correctly, it is quarter past four.H at SH clock Time for a drink.  The next item on our itinerary was a beer in The Eagle, the pub where Crick and Watson discussed the structure of DNA as they were realising what they were studying and where they first announced their discovery.  Inside The Eagle The Eagle was built in 1667.The EagleCheers 🙂
beer in the Eagle

In the evening we had one of the most extraordinary meals I have ever had.  We went to a Michelin starred restaurant – Alimentum.  The location was not great as it was on a main road about 20 minutes from our hotel so we had to take a taxi rather then walk.  I was not a huge fan of the decor either – a bit red and black and urban for my liking.  But oh my goodness !!!!!!  The food was extraordinary.

We began with a complimentary salt and vinegar popcorn with cheesey puffs (they had a fancy name but I can’t remember it!).popcorn and goujons I have drunk many cocktails in my time and this was definitely one of the best and I love, love, loved the presentation.  It was a smokey Bourbon with an orange twist, pecans and maple syrup.  A- MAZE-ING!Alimentum cocktail Next was some home baked bread.  They were very attentive to Harvey’s dairy intolerance and he had different bread (ours had some milk) and oil to dip his in to instead of butter. Alimentum bread A complimentary amuse bouche of carrot veloutee with coriander ice-cream (exceptionally good) and caramelised carrots).amuse bouche 2 Harvey was served a mini grouse burger with cute mushrooms.grouse and mushroomsMy starter was Quail with pak choi, lime, broccoli and peanuts.  My least favourite dish but still enjoyable.
quali This was brilliant.  Pistachio glazed halibut on creamed cabbage with butternut puree and other bits and pieces.  Blimey, I won’t earn my living by being a restaurant critic will I?Alimentum Main 2 It looked beautiful and every mouthful was a pleasure.  I could have eaten this dish again and again.Alimentum main 1 This was another complimentary dish and I am really struggling to remember what was in this.  I remember a pineapple chip and some yogurt ice-cream.  It was good but I forget what the waiter said it was.  I think the Bourbon and wine had rendered me fairly senseless by then.Alimentum - 1 This was very intriguing.  The bit that looks like cling film was apple jelly.Alimentum pud 2 Underneath were blackberries, hazelnuts and apple semi-freddo.  It was very small but perfectly formed.Alimentum pud 1 There are 2 tables here which look in to a window in to the kitchen.  Some people may not like that but we enjoyed it and I was particularly fascinated.  We had an early booking so were one of the first to get through our menu so quite soon worked out when they were preparing our dishes.  It was fascinating watching it come together.  Kitchen at AlimentumWell done Lara – that was a fantastic meal.  Expensive but very memorable and enjoyable so worth it.

This is such a long post I am going to blog about Sunday’s fun tomorrow!

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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2 Responses to Cambridge

  1. gsmheritage says:

    Hi Zoe!

    I stumbled on your blog while looking for photos of Cambridge – your pictures are fantastic and I wondered if you’d be happy for me to use a few of them for a project about the History of Cambridge?

    We are creating some interactive displays about the city to go in Great St Mary’s Church and your pictures of John’s gate, Trinity gate and King’s College Chapel would be a brilliant addition! Please let me know. 🙂

    Maybe you could make a return trip to Cambridge and see them in action – we’ll aim to have them up and running by next summer – good excuse for another trip to Alimentum!

    Many thanks,


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