Ash Friemel

Ash lives in the US and has fond memories of her time visiting Cambridge.  As well as sharing her favourite photos of Cambridge, Ash also shares her favourite memories and recommendations. 

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Minnesota, raised in Oregon, and have lived in Dallas, Texas the last 15 years.  I have a degree in finance and real estate from Texas Christian University and have spent the majority of my corporate career in finance. After leaving the world of hedge funds and private banking, I created my travel blog, Abroad with Ash, and started my business as a freelance makeup artist. 

Outside of my passion for travel, I also enjoy morning jogs, working in cozy coffee shops, cuddling with my rescue dog Bailey, spending time with my husband Jake, reading, barre and spin classes, and anything Harry Potter related.

What are you doing with your time at the moment?   

I easily spend the majority of my time working on my travel blog. Abroad with Ash was created to provide beneficial advice and insights through travel tips, first hand experience, and itineraries. It’s designed to show the average person how to explore the world without breaking the bank and to significantly reduce the amount of time spent planning a trip through “top five” lists, itineraries, and city guides.

From a very young age I’ve had a passion to see the world and everything it has to offer. Traveling not only broadens your perspective but teaches you more than anything you could read or watch on a screen. If Abroad with Ash helps others get out there and explore, then my mission is complete and my time working on this blog is time well spent.

King's College Cambridge University Cambridge UK

What is your connection to Cambridge? 

Since I live in the US, my connection to Cambridge is purely from a tourist perspective. I visit the UK a lot and am always looking for charming, memorable places to visit…especially spots that are doable as a day trip from London since that’s where I tend to base myself for a few days. Cambridge checked all my boxes. Easy to get to from London, beyond picturesque, quaint, walkable, safe, lots of history, and a good place wander and soak in the sights.

What is your best memory of Cambridge?

When I think back to visiting Cambridge, I immediately think of the time I spent wandering the streets and taking in the sights. Cambridge is exactly what you imagine when you think of a quintessential university town in England. Charming cobble-stoned streets, students riding their bikes to and from class, a skyline filled with Gothic spires, lawns filled with locals sharing a picnic or reading a book, and cozy cafes. Almost every street and corner seemed to be a photo waiting to be taken.

If you’re visiting Cambridge as a day trip from London, which most tourists do, it’s such a refreshing change of pace from the hustle and bustle of London. Walking along the river, pausing on one of the small bridges and watching the punts float by, strolling the streets and taking in the impressive architecture…everything felt so calm and peaceful after a few hectic days in London.

punting in Cambridge, Trinity College Cambridge University, Cambridge UK

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

My husband, Jake, as he loves being on the water and appreciates nature. He would love the opportunity to try and figure out how to steer the punt…which would make for an extremely entertaining experience as I know they aren’t easy to get the hang of.

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

Kings College was beyond impressive and the type of place you’ll have engrained in your memory forever. Since I have a massive sweet tooth, I can’t not mention Fitzbillies for their famous Chelsea buns and other sweet delights.

Pembroke Street Cambridge UK

Was there anything you discovered about Cambridge that surprised you?  

I honestly didn’t expect it to be as charming and picturesque as it was. I visited Oxford a few years prior to my trip to Cambridge. Given that both towns are the most prestigious and well-known university towns in the UK (and the world for that matter), I had assumed they would offer an almost identical look and feel.

Though Cambridge and Oxford are very similar, I found that Cambridge gave me more of that “wow” feeling than Oxford. Overall, Cambridge is more compact and offers a quaint village feel as opposed to Oxford which has more of an urban sprawl. The vibe I got when walking around Cambridge was that I was in a charming storybook town and could easily imagine myself traveling back in time to the days of old.

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

If the weather is nice punting is a must! It’s a unique experience and the most enjoyable and relaxing way to see the Bridge or Sighs, Mathematical Bridge, and the “backs” of several colleges. 

Cambridge city centre, Cambridge UK

Why should someone visit Cambridge? 

My first thought is why would someone not visit Cambridge! It’s a quick non-stop train from London and takes less than an hour to get there. The city is charming, beyond picturesque, and the quintessential university town.

Cambridge is brimming with history. It’s the fourth oldest university in the entire world and was home to famous names like Charles Darwin, Stephan Hawking, and Sir Isaac Newton. Gravity, the Big Bang Theory, DNA, and the splitting of the atom are just a few of the discoveries made here.

Cambridge is a wonderful place to visit whether you’re a history buff, a photographer, or the average tourist looking to visit one of the most famous university towns in the world.

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