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Moving to Cambridge?

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Cambridge at a Glance

Moving to Cambridge

Academic life permeates through every aspect of city life in Cambridge, and you will see students rushing down the streets on bicycles loaded with books. But there is more to Cambridge than its famed university. Read more about the city’s demographics, climate and visa requirements.

About Cambridge

Located in the county of Cambridgeshire, the city lies in East Anglia on the River Cam, about 50 miles (or 80km) north of London. With a population of more than 120,000 people (including nearly 25,000 students), it’s the biggest city in the county after Peterborough. Relatively small compared to other settlements in Britain, it is only the 54th largest in the UK. 

Under Viking rule in the 11th century, it became an important trading center and was granted a town charter in the 12th (meaning it was legally recognized as a town). However, it wasn’t granted city status until much later in 1951. Archeological evidence suggests Cambridge had settlers even as far back as the Bronze Age and Roman times. 

Ranked the 172nd largest settlement in the world, Cambridge is sat only 6 meters above sea level and 73.5% of residents are white British, according to a 2009 census. However, due to the university, foreign students are particularly common and the city is becomingly increasingly international due to its historic and educational heritage, making it an appealing choice for many expats. 

The Climate in Cambridge

Cambridge has two official weather observing stations, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. The city itself has similar weather to the rest of the United Kingdom, with a maritime climate highly influenced by the Gulf Stream, which is a warm and swift Atlantic Ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida in America. 

Based in one of the driest parts of England, it averages approximately 570 millimeters of rain a year, which is roughly half the national average. The mild climate means snowfall is also particularly rare, especially as Cambridge has a low elevation. In the summer, due to this low-lying, easterly position, expatriates moving to Cambridge can look forward to temperatures that are typically higher than those further west and often surpass those in London. 

Britain’s seasons are split into four, with winter from December to February, spring from March until May, summer from June until August, and fall from September until November. Average temperatures in winter range from 1-7°C, and summer is 12-24°C. 

Visas for the United Kingdom

If you’re looking to relocate to Cambridge from outside of Britain, you may need a visa to do so. If you are coming to the country work, you will need to apply for a working visa. Similarly if you are coming to the country to study, you will need to apply for a student visa. This can be done through the government website at, which includes lots of information for those wishing to spend time and work in Britain. You can apply through this website or through the British embassy in your own country. However, you will need a valid passport and other supporting documents ready.

 Swiss nationals and EEA citizens, on the other hand, can move to Cambridge without a visa. You may need to produce documents to provide evidence of your right to work in the country, though. For more information, you may also want to check our various articles on Visa and Administration in the UK

InterNations Expat Magazine