Cambridge: Attlee gets an education

Cambridge: Attlee gets an education

So we are off to Cambridge, where Jane’s friend from university Neil lives. (Neil also lives in Baku, where something called the Eurovision is taking place with someone called The Hump in it – the Hump is something I am NOT allowed to do.)

Anyway, Cambridge is famous as a seat of learning and all the students cycle around on old-fashioned bikes and Neil does too – he cycles to meet us at the station, like a proper Cambridge person. Normally I bark at bikes but not today because the streets are too full of them for me to take them on.

There are a lot of things in Cambridge dogs are not allowed to do. For example, we are not allowed in any of the colleges. Also not allowed are radios, bicycles and picnics. This is a bit rich, if you ask me, lumping dogs in with a load of inanimate objects. Dogs are sentient, in case you hadn’t noticed Cambridge colleges!

Dogs are also forbidden in the Botanical Gardens – probably because we would lift our legs against all the exotic plants and flowers. Again – unfair. I lift my leg against Jane’s daffodils in our garden and they are sprouting up a treat. And our owners could keep us on a lead, stopping any leg lifting incidents.

So what can dogs do in Cambridge you may well bark? Well, all the posh young men trying to sell us rides on boat-things called punts say that dogs are allowed on them. But I don’t like water so we don’t take up any of the punting opportunities that are offered to us.

But Cambridge city centre, with all the cloistered towers of learning that are too clever for dogs to be allowed inside, is very easy to stroll around. There are people with clipboards who want you to pay them to stroll with you – they are offering guided walking tours. Guided walking tours – I have never heard such nonsense. You just walk and smell the pavement and see where your nose takes you.

The colleges are clustered around Sidney Street and Silver Street and Trumpington Street. King’s College, the most famous college of them all, is on King’s Parade and all these places are within ten minutes’ stroll of each other. Basically you just walk along one of the streets in the centre of Cambridge and you will see a college – that’s how it is. A bit like how if you walk along one of the streets in south-east London you will see discarded fried chicken.

Another place to stroll in Cambridge is along The Backs – The Backs are the behinds of the Cambridge colleges and not the fronts. The Backs are good because to reach them you have to cross the river and from one of the bridges – there are lots – you can watch all the silly punts and have a laugh at the silly humans guiding them along the river with huge sticks. Sticks are for chasing, mate, not for faffing around on rivers!

The two most famous bridges at The Backs are the Bridge of Sighs and the Mathematical Bridge. I don’t really know why they’re famous – I’m a dog, for Dog’s sake, not a historian.

The Backs are also good for peering into the college grounds. They are so enticing-looking, with their manicured lawns and old stone walls. Why am I NOT allowed in? This is me, at the back of King’s College.

To be honest, finding a pub that allowed dogs in Cambridge city centre was about as hard as getting a degree in metaphysics. That means, very hard. There was no room at the inn for me in several places we tried and in the end we settled on The Eagle, because, even though I wasn’t allowed inside, it did have a pleasant outdoor area with heaters and big umbrellas to keep the rain off the humans. The Eagle is very ‘istoric – and in the RAF bar part (where I wasn’t allowed) there is graffiti by WW2 airmen on the walls and ceiling. And DNA was discovered here. What is DNA? Dogs’ Noses Amaze? I don’t know.

Jane had a proper Sunday roast and it was a bargain, compared to London, at £7.99. But, when she asked if she could have a SAUSAGE on a plate for me, the girl behind the bar said no. Ridiculous – how much trouble is a SAUSAGE on a plate? But one of the waitress people obviously appreciated dogs because she brought out a biscuit for me – a human biscuit too – and got me a bowl of water.


Phileas Fact Box: Cambridge

  • The Eagle, 8 Benet Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QN. Tel: 01223 505020
  • For more information about Cambridge, log on to