Cambridge City Guide

By Rachel Mason


Cambridge is a city steeped in history. It’s inspired some of the greatest writers of all time and is the chosen resting place of 3 Nobel prize winners. From punting on the river to historical cobbled streets and walk ways, Cambridge has a great deal of cultural appeal, but it also has a huge helping of tech appeal too, as home to some of the most progressive tech companies in the world.  Cambridge has attracted substantial governmental investment in the new heart and lung hospital and in improving transportation links around the city.  


In Cambridge, you can choose whether to rent or to buy a property.  

Renting your house or flat in Cambridge  On average, monthly rent in Cambridge sits at around £1250. Renting a house is likely to be a little more expensive than the average rental fee of £1400, however, you could save money by renting a room, from upwards of £600 a month, or a flat from upwards of £1,100.  

Buying a home in Cambridge If you prefer to buy, you’re likely to need a deposit of between 5 and 20% of the total cost of the property. Once you’ve found a property, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage which is likely to require you to have been in steady employment, or to at least show proof of employment. For this reason, it can make sense to rent for a while before buying whilst you get to know the area and get settled in your new job.  To buy, the average house price In Cambridge is £388,400. 

UK’s visa requirements 

If you’re a British national, you’ll have an automatic right to work within the UK. Of course, since January 2021 EU nationals can still work in the UK but you will need to obtain a visa. Typically, once you’ve secured a job, your employer can apply for a work visa on your behalf. You can read more about the UK work visa application process post-brexit in our article ‘ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UK IMMIGRATION VISA CHANGES 

The Cost of Living in Cambridge 

Renting a furnished 85m2 flat in Cambridge can set you back between £1,400 and £1,900 per calendar month depending on the type of area you’re renting in. On top of this, you’ll need to budget around £144 a month for gas, electricity and water. Consumables aren’t as expensive as you’ll find in the UK’s Capital, London. In fact, Cambridge is the third most expensive city in the UK. A basic restaurant lunch menu in the business district of the city will cost around £12. Bread will cost 71p, whilst for a decent bottle of red wine you can expect to pay £10.   

Salaries in Cambridge 

The average salary in Cambridge is £35,000. A Cambridge-based mid-level ASIC Design engineer can expect to command a salary of between £45-£55,000, depending on experience, whereas the average salary for a mid-level Data Scientist would be between £60-£80,000. 

Commuting and Public Transport around Cambridge 

Commuting from Cambridge to London is a breeze with a fast train service to London, Kings Cross that takes less than 50 minutes. Commuting around Cambridge is equally straightforward with 80 miles of Fenland-flat bike paths and the new Chisholm Trail (which allows cyclists to travel from Cambridge North Railway Station through to the City Centre), has made cycling safer than ever and opened up increasingly environmentally–friendly commuter options.  

If cycling isn’t your thing, there are plans to improve transport around the city with a tram network to help reduce congestion and pollution in the area.  


In the UK, schooling can be state, or private. Unless home-schooled, all children between the ages of 4 and 16 are obliged to attend school but state schools are free of charge.  State schools in Cambridge tend to follow First school, for children from Reception to Year 4 (Age 8), Middle school, for children from Year 5 to Year 8 (age 9-13), and Upper school for years 9 to 11 (age 13 – 16). At each of these levels, education follows the National Curriculum. Schools are assessed by Ofsted and the results of the assessments can be found on the Ofsted website.  

State schools can be:  

Grammar Schools – These are selective schools that are usually run by the local authority. Students are required to pass a test to gain entry to a grammar school. Grammar schools are usually non-fee paying and follow the National Curriculum.  

Community schools – These are run by local authorities who get involved in everything from employing the staff, to owning the land and building, as well as determining admissions criteria.  

Foundation schools and Trust Schools – Often these are owned by a charitable trust with a third party. These are run by their own governing body which employs staff and determines their own admissions criteria.  

Voluntary aided schools – Often these are linked to a faith or religion and, like a Foundation school, have an independent governing body that determines admissions and employs their own staff.  

Academies – Academies are independently managed schools that cater for students of all abilities. Academies are established with sponsorship from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and the local authority. 

Free schools –Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council which means the school has  more control over how they operate. They are ‘all-ability’ schools, so don’t use academic selection processes like grammar schools do. 

Private schools are also available for students. These are fee–paying and can cost from £15,000 per year to £40,000 per year.  

Global Companies in Cambridge 

Cambridge has a reputation for being an up–and–coming digital hub in the UK, achieving double the average digital tech turnover generated in other key parts of the UK. Silicon Fen, where most of the high-tech businesses are based, is home to a large number of established global organisations as well as start–ups including; Darktrace, Raspberry Pi Foundation, and Arm. 

In your spare time 

Everything in Cambridge is within walking distance. It’s a compact city, so it’s quite easy to get around by bike using Cambridge’s cycling paths. In your spare time, you can while away the hours bargain hunting in Cambridge’s vibrant shopping centre or in one of the quaint pubs or brasseries by the river.  

If you fancy escaping, Cambridge is only 40 minutes from Stansted Airport, one of London’s best-connected airports, so it makes for a convenient base to explore Europe on your weekends and holidays.  If you would like to discuss opportunities in Cambridge or a potential career move, please contact me Rachel Mason,

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