Traveling with Toddler- A day trip to Cambridge

I’ve been watching this series called Lewis on Netflix with my husband, and while the series is based in Oxford, one of the main characters is a graduate from Cambridge and there are a lot of references to Cambridge too. So, when another friends-with-baby suggested we try a day trip to Cambridge, I was more than excited to check the place out.

When you’re traveling with a toddler however, day trips are not the sort of trips where you can just wake up, shower, grab your wallet and jacket in a backpack and head out. Even a short day trip requires a lot of planning- especially if you have a moody and feisty baby like ours. So the morning was spend in breakfast, playing with our daughter and packing an assortment of snacks- I packed bits of pancake, grapes, oranges, crackers, cheese, some veggie rice that I had cooked the night before, water, and obviously milk. However, out of all of this, she had some of the grapes, some french fries at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch, some cake and all of her milk and much for healthy feeding for the little one.

Anyway, we’re getting side tracked- this blog is not about what my kid ate, but is about how I felt about my day trip to Cambridge. I was telling my husband, that because we enjoy traveling, we enjoy going to new places, experiencing the architecture, food, pace of life, the people, energy of the new place and generally never find a fault with any place we travel. But then, there are some experiences, where one needs to think about the good parts of the travel, which isn’t ideal you see..and that is what happened in Cambridge with us.

We left Ipswich at 11 am (best time to leave, since its nap time for my daughter and she slept the entire way..woo hoo!) and reached Cambridge by about 12:30 pm. Right when you enter, there is an area where there are multiple restaurants and a Sainsbury, so we stopped at Frankie and Benny’s for lunch. The food was decent, but my daughter loved it there- very kid friendly. She even got a balloon from the staff there!! Post this, our ordeal started. We had to find a place to park our car for long stay and it took us almost an hour to get to the parking lot and park at the Grand Arcade mall. It was a nightmare, because my daughter was bored of sitting in the car without the car moving and she had started getting jittery. Finally, we caught up with our friends at the mall and goodness lord, I had not seen so many people at one place in UK since I had arrived!! It was even more than what you would generally see in India! This was totally unexpected and made both the babies really cranky.

We managed to get out of the mall and on to King’s Cross for the walk by about 2 pm- our initial plan was to walk and explore Cambridge as much as possible- with my daughter alternating between being in the buggy, walking and the baby carrier, but because of the insane number of people there, we could literally get nowhere in even an hour!! I was so distracted trying to manage my daughter and keep and eye on her and navigate through the people that I hardly ‘saw’ anything else!

So frustrated, my husband and I decided to make a dash for the gardens by the canal where they have punting, so at least we could sort of get away from the crowd and set our picnic and let our daughter free to roam about. And that is exactly what we did- which was probably the best part of the trip. We spent about 2 hours sitting there, snacking and having a glass of beer, while our daughter ran about eating pieces of her cake and water and making friends with strangers..hehe

Finally, it started getting cloudy and the kids had started getting tired- perfect time to leave. So we left by 6 pm, when it started raining too, and little kiddo slept through the entire way back too, until she decided to wake up at 12 am..ahem, now you can’t have it all can you? haha

So all in all- the only recommendation I have is- if you want to do a day trip with your kids to Cambridge, its best to choose a weekday or a weekend which does not fall in the summer holiday! I’ve put some pictures of the happy moments from the trip and to also show the sheer number of people there!!

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