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Hitchhiking out of the city is pretty simple, there are park and ride services that connect the main city centre bus station with car parks by the entrance to the M11 motorway.
North-West towards Peterborough, Leicester
For heading north on the M11 (towards Peterborough, Leicester and The North), get the Madingly Road Park and Ride service all the way to the end. From here it is around 15 minutes walk to the entrance to the motorway north.
Try just after the mini roundabout where Fen Causeway meets Newnham Road- there are places for cars to stop and it takes you to the larger roads which head to the M11 in both directions. I hitched from here to the ramp going to the M11 after waiting about 20 minutes, and have seen others do the same. It's about 15 minutes' walk from the town centre.
West-North-West towards Huntingdon, Birmingham
From the town centre walk out north-west until you reach the Huntigdon Road. You can hitch the whole Huntigdon Road as there is enough place for cars to stop on the bikepath. But it may be easier if you walk about 1 mile until you reach a small restaurant on the left side where cars have really good space to pull over (and they not taking the risk to injure a student on a bicycle).
Try and get a ride out to the Cambridge Services, about 4/5 miles out of the centre and on the A14 heading to Huntingdon and further north. Once here, it's easy. The service station is huge with a lot of traffic.
North towards Ely, King's Lynn, Dersingham, A10
Go to the Milton Park & Ride (it has a huge Tesco's supermarket..most people know it and should be able to point you in the right direction from the centre of the town). You can walk here without taking a bus quite easily, it's around a thirty minute walk from the centre. Along the way are two Co-op's, one often has amazing amounts of food in the bins, which will be on your right-hand side. Keep walking and you'll pass something like a science park and then you'll see directions for Ely, A10 and so forth. Great space to stand. You could get a ride all the way to King's Lynn if you're patient (about an hour and a half's ride) but surely Ely will take you no longer than ten minutes waiting for.
South towards London
For heading south on the M11 (towards London and the M25 motorway, get the Trumpington park and ride service (£3.50 day ticket or £1.90) all the way to the end car park. From there it is about 5 minutes walk to a large lay-by where cars can stop (just before the roundabout) - it's hugely recommended either having a sign saying London.
Alternatively, there is another great spot - lay-by on the southbound slip road where vehicles from the A10 join the traffic and can also pull over. Further down the M11 it is not possible to find an area to hitch safely, so this is probably your best bet. (Last verified: March 2012)
East towards Ipswich
To head onto the A14, the best bet if you don't want to take a park and ride to Teversham is to walk on Newmarket Road trying to thumb a ride. Its a long walk to the A14, so you should get a ride before getting there, and if you don't then maybe your luck is dispersing for the time, and you should take a break.
User:Whisperingofthestars has hitched out of Cambridge many of times to London (latest March 2017). Trumpington has taken 10 minutes of waiting. Other than this, from the north of the city, it can take a little longer. If possible and hitching from above Cambridge, try to get a ride to the south where you'll find more traffic going to London and beyond.
Places to stay
The cheapest decent place to stay in Cambridge is in the Portland Arms pub located on Victoria Road (10 minute walk from the centre). The pub is really nice and offers a few good-sized double-bed rooms with towels, TV, coffee, tea, shower and toilet facilities. The price is £55 per night which if shared between people is quite reasonable. There is a sofa in each room, so a third person can easily fit in. The pub closes at 23.30 so one can go in there fairly late to check in. No bookings or reservations are required. The pub itself is a good place to have drinks, there are free gigs in one of the rooms, and the landlords are kind folk. (Last verified: March 2012)
Other places to stay include the youth hostel and Travel Lodge hotel. However, they are located pretty far from the centre (nearer the train station), require booking in advance and typically prices start from £60 for a double room.
According to the book 'Places To Hide', a good place to stay (for 4-6 hours!) is The Hut in Sheep's Green, which is next to Lammas Land. There is also a shelter called Jimmy's Night Shelter (for homeless people and requires you to check in by 18.00 without guaranteeing a bed), just off Mill Road on the A10.
Good pubs include - Portland Arms and King Street Run (the only rock pub).