Place residence

Flowers at the front doors – Why Portugal Place will always be our favorite street in Cambridge

By now you have probably guessed that we are very attached to Cambridge. Some of our favorite things about the city include the buildings, the bars, and of course, the cool but quirky people.

But one of our MOST favorite things about the city has to be Portugal Place. A peaceful and idyllic street, just off the beaten track.

Free from tourists, cars, buses and the general bustle of the city, this is arguably one of Cambridge’s best kept secrets. Nestled between Bridge Street and Jesus Green, the small alley has become our obligatory passage.


From colorful front doors to spectacular floral displays, this is our love letter to Cambridge’s Portgual Place – forever our favorite street in the city we love the most.

Impeccable flower beds

Flowers in Portugal Square

The people on the street are clearly very proud to live in such a beautiful place, and the houses still look perfect. Some have a real talent for gardening, and their beautifully arranged flower boxes give people the opportunity to stop and admire.

The Georgian houses are close together, giving it a neighborhood feel, and the changing flower arrangements make it an interesting place to stroll.

In addition to their stunning flowers, the homes in Portugal Place have stunning exteriors and front doors. Specifically the purple pictured below. We’ve loved this house for a good five years and will continue to do so for as long as we live here.

Portugal Square. Photo: Warren Gunn

Former residents changing the world

Former home of Francis Crick. He and James Watson are also commemorated with a blue plaque outside The Eagle pub in Cambridge, where they announced they had discovered “the secret of life”.

Over the years, Portugal Place has had very influential residents. Francis Crick, who co-discovered the structure of DNA, lived at numbers 19-20 for some time.

You can recognize his home by the giant golden propeller hanging outside. Crick bought the house and others with the money from his Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1962.

Of humble origins in British India, Sir Muhammad Iqbal helped establish the idea of ​​the state of Pakistan
Of humble origins in British India, Sir Muhammad Iqbal helped establish the idea of ​​the state of Pakistan

In his marvelous book Walking Cambridge, Andrew Kershman also notes that the pink house in Portugal Place was for some time the home of Allama Muhammed Iqbal, a famous poet who was instrumental in the creation of Pakistan.

A pastel-tiled property stands on Georgian Street: Numbers 5-7 were built by an art dealer in the 1930s and intended as a bookshop before World War II broke out.

Numbers 5-7 Portugal Square
Numbers 5-7 Portugal Square

It was turned into a Navy, Army, and Air Force (NAAFI) institution where, among other cadets, a young Richard Attenborough waited for his morning coffee. It’s all part of the rich tapestry of one of Cambridge’s best little streets.

Mysterious origins

Portugal Place is off the beaten path for most tourists
Portugal Place is off the beaten path for most tourists

It’s unclear exactly how Portugal Place got its rather incongruous name. According to one theory, it comes from Portuguese coins discovered during the construction of the houses around 1820.

The River Cam carried liquor and other goods during its trade days, and the port was favored for French wine following a trade treaty between England and Portugal in the early 18th century. More prosaically, it could take its name from the Peninsular War – waged by Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal against France – which ended just before the construction of the first buildings.

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