Annie Fitzsimmons

Annie has been a frequent visitor to Cambridge over the years with many happy memories of punting and walking in the city as well as enjoying the finest cuisine Cambridge has to offer.  As well as sharing some of her favourite photos of Cambridge, Annie also shares her recommendations of where to visit. 

Tell us about yourself

I moved to London with my husband and now 2-year-old daughter a few months before COVID hit, after a decade in New York City. I am a travel editor, host, and creative, passionate about the luxury travel industry and everything within it, like great hotels, but especially the 170 million livelihoods it supports around the world, primarily family and small businesses.  I also love to cook and bake, but have to admit that has lost its appeal a bit this year! I say I'm equal parts homebody and world traveller, but after this year, I desperately miss the world traveller part and cannot wait for true freedom of movement to return.

What are you doing with your time at the moment?   

I recently joined Impact100, an organization that—through a grant raised by membership—directly supports women and girls in London. I also love what Erina Pindar is leading at SmartFlyer - EQTR, a mentorship program for the next generation of BIPOC leaders in the luxury travel industry. 

Annie at King's College Cambridge University of Cambridge

What is your connection to Cambridge?

I am simply a big fan, who feels lucky to now live much closer to Cambridge in London. I have to admit that I have spent hours house hunting in Cambridge, because it's the type of place that you really dream of living. But since I will likely never move there, I plan on visiting when I can!

What is your favourite memory of Cambridge?

We took our daughter when she was ten months old, after we had left Brooklyn, and we had no furniture in our house in London. Cambridge was a cocoon of comfort, and I was really missing New York and sad that we didn't have our home in London set up.  We stayed at the lovely Gonville Hotel, which allowed our dog Rocco, but I am dying to get back to stay at the University Arms. My favourite memory of that trip is punting with Sophie, Rocco, and Alex (my husband). I had never done it, and it's a very festive feeling, to glide past the old colleges and lawns, and under the Bridge of Sighs.

punting Cambridge

Who would you like to share a punt with and why?

Right now, I'd love to share a punt with Maria Van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 technical lead at the World Health Organization. I have my own opinions on the world's response to COVID-19, and I think she is incredibly smart and balanced and I just want to know more about her background, and talk about what it's like to be sort of forced into the spotlight and what it's like to be an American living in Geneva, Switzerland (my husband is Swiss).

What is your favourite place to visit in Cambridge and why?  

The Fitzwilliam Museum, combined with coffee or breakfast at Hot Numbers Trumpington Street. But also Fitzbillies, of course, for the Chelsea buns and sultana scones.

The Backs Cambridge

Was there anything you discovered about Cambridge that surprised you? 

The chopped salad at Parkers Tavern at the University Arms hotel. Since I still have trouble finding great salads in the U.K., I loved finding this one, which reminded me of all the amazing salads in L.A. It's a real chopped salad, with small pieces of chicken, asparagus, bacon, cheddar, peas, seeds, radish, lettuce—I think that's it!  The chef, Tristan Welch, is a real talent.

What is the one thing in Cambridge that everyone visiting should do?  

King's College Chapel. I was not prepared for how truly breathtaking it is—the incredible fan vaulting of the ceiling, the dazzling Renaissance stained glass. I want to go again, but with a great tour guide to explain all the details.

King's College Cambridge University of Cambridge

 

Why should someone visit Cambridge? 

I think it is up there with London as a must-visit in all of the U.K. There is something really magical about Cambridge, from the minute you arrive in the center of town (it takes a bit of a walk from the train station!). You feel the history of the city, of course, but also feel like you could belong and find your place.  You feel the opportunity of university days, and wonder what you could accomplish next in your own life, even if you didn't go to Cambridge. I feel a sense of optimism and possibility, surrounded by the grandeur and history of the chapels, colleges, and every single building you walk by!

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