One of the most popular open spaces in Cambridge is a gorgeous green expanse for sports, picnics and large-scale public events.
From the coronation of Queen Victoria to the development of the official rules of soccer, Parker's Piece has witnessed some important events during its history. This large green space in central Cambridge is a popular place to unwind and to get some exercise. Cycle along pathways, watch free musical events in the summer and go ice skating in the winter.
In 1838, 15,000 people dined here, in the outdoors, to celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria. See a depiction of this famous dinner at the Cambridge and County Folk Museum.
Parker’s Piece also has a special place in the history of soccer, or football as it is known in the U.K. In 1848, the game’s original rules were developed by students playing in the park. Look in the corner of this green expanse closest to the fire station and you’ll find a tree with a small plaque commemorating this important event.
During fall and in winter, you will often see informal games of soocer on the park’s well-manicured lawns. When the warmer weather comes the space is used for cricket and athletics.
Take some exercise with a walk or cycle ride along the paths that cut through the open space. Stop at the crossroads to look over the 19th-century cast-iron lamppost. It is said to be the oldest electrical lamppost in Cambridge and is nicknamed Reality Checkpoint. The origins of this name are unclear but some say it’s because the lamp acts as a useful marker for anyone lost in the park during thick fog. After your exertions, find a pleasant spot for a picnic.
The park hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the Big Weekend in early July. This three-day festival features free music performances, family-friendly activities and plenty of food. Visit during the winter to skate on the park’s fantastic 6,458-square-feet (600- square-meter) ice rink.
Parker's Piece is located in the city center, bordered by Regent Terrace, Park Terrace, Parkside and Gonville Place. Take the train to the railway station and from there, it’s just a 15-minute walk to the park.