Looking to enjoy Cambridgeshire as a nature nut? There’s something for everyone in this gorgeous county.
Cambridgeshire has a lot to offer: world-class educational facilities, phenomenal eateries and shopping – is there anything Cambridgeshire doesn’t have?
One area that perhaps gets less attention than Cambridge University or any of the stunning historical locations in the area, is the nature this county has to offer. It is positively bursting with all kinds of natural treats, from gorgeous planty shops, to exciting birdwatching spots. As we are all a little bit more into nature now following the lockdowns of the pandemic, there’s a natural treat for everyone in the gorgeous county of Cambridgeshire:
Houseplant Shops & Garden Centres
If you love buying some new, fresh plant for your home or garden, Cambridgeshire has plenty for you to enjoy. Oakington Garden Centre is a great visit because of its huge selection of plants and gorgeous Mediterranean cafe which is perfect for relaxing after a mooch around. If you need something more substantial, Coton Orchard Garden Centre has an aquatic centre, farm shop, general shop and plants galore. Scotsdales is equally as stocked, and even has a small pet centre, as well as a cafe that offers substantial meals throughout the week.
If you’re looking for houseplants, Cambridge Bee is a really good choice. They are upmarket, but they have some really rare houseplants on offer, as well as healthy more common specimens so there really is something for everyone. There are some outdoor plants as well if you want a little something for your garden too.
If your idea of enjoying nature involves animals, there are all kinds of great attractions for you to enjoy in Cambridgeshire.
If you are a bird lover, The Raptor Foundation is a good choice because they specialise in birds of prey. You can just visit, but they also offer courses and experiences if you want to get up close and personal with the residents.
For more of a mixture of different animals Hamerton Zoo Park, Shepreth Wildlife Park and Linton Zoo are all good options.
Outdoor Spaces Free To Visit
Do you enjoy nature by walking around parks and nature reserves? You’re spoilt for choice in Cambridgeshire. The Great Fen is perhaps one of the most famous protected areas in the county. It stretches all the way from Peterborough and Huntingdon and contains two National Nature Reserves. You can also enjoy Gamsey Wood and Gamlingay Wood if you want to do some real forest bathing. If you’re more into meadowy environments; Pingle Cutting, Houghton Meadows and Southorpe Meadow should be top of your list.
Natural Spaces With Entry Fees
Cambridge Botanical Gardens have a lot to enjoy if you love nature. Gorgeous glass houses, all kinds of garden displays and a gorgeous cafe – it’s a wonderful place to spend the day and it has easy access from Cambridge Railway Station too.
If you want to enjoy a beautiful waterside location, Houghton Mill is a great choice. It is set on the riverside next to the famous mill, which you can pay to enjoy a tour of.
Outdoor Sports Activities
If you enjoy outdoor sports, you can enjoy your favourite pastime in the beautiful county of Cambridgeshire.
Cycling: There are some gorgeous cycles routes in Cambridgeshire including; JJ Thomson Avenue to Coton, Cambridge to Waterbeach, Gog Magog and Stourbridge Common.
Tennis: There are various tennis clubs and centres around Cambridgeshire, with some not-for-profit clubs offering tennis to all who want to try it.
Punting: Punting is a novelty for some when they visit Cambridge, but some people like to enjoy doing it regularly as a sport. If you take to it, why not enjoy it regularly? It’s a great way to see the scenery on either side of the river.
Kayaking: There are lots of places to kayak in Cambridgeshire but you do need a license to do it on the river. The same goes for stand up paddle boards and canoes. If you join an official club you can skip the license sometimes, but it depends on the rules of the individual club.
Wakeboarding: If you’re into wakeboarding you will love Hannah’s Wake Hub which is the ideal place to learn wakeboarding.
Climbing: Clip N Climb is a great one for all the family with loads of fun climbing challenges to enjoy all within an hour and a half session.
Best Birdwatching Spots
If you are a serious birder and you want to enjoy the best Cambridgeshire has to offer, there are various spots to go depending on what you want to see. Brampton Wood and Barnack Hills are nature reserves with a wide selection of birds. Fen Drayton, Paxton Pits and Grafham Water you can find lots of water birds.
If you also enjoy insects and birds, as well as some interesting flora and fauna, Wicken Fen is quite the haven, and also happens to be the oldest nature reserve in Britain.
Best Herping Spots
If you love a reptile or two, there are a range of places to see them across Cambridgeshire if you’re lucky. The most famous spot for herping is Fulbourn Fen, which is an old meadows free from pesticide treatment, which makes it a haven for wildlife. There are lots of lizards and grass snakes across the site, as well as orchids and other interesting plants to enjoy. The best time is either after a rainfall when the ground is damp, or on a very hot day when animals like snakes like to bask in the sun.
As the lizards and snakes of the UK are so rare now it is important to remain respectful of the environment you visit, as the ecosystems are delicate.
Where Will You Visit First?
Cambridgeshire has an abundance of wildlife and nature for you to enjoy. The question is, where will you visit first to get your nature fix?