It is twice as fast to take the train rather than the bus to Cambridge. A single train journey is slightly cheaper, and you might get an even better deal if you can book well in advance. Although you must change stations in London, it is an easy and quick transfer. National Express coaches leave from Chorlton Street bus station, and it takes 6-7 hours to travel to Cambridge. There are two direct buses, which cost 30.70 GBP single or 41.50-48 GBP return.
After booking online, you will be issued with an e-ticket, which you need to print out and take with you, or an m-ticket, which is sent to your mobile phone. Otherwise you can get at ticket at the bus station. Buses from Manchester to Cambridge can be very crowded at times and there is no guarantee of a place unless you book in advance.
There are around four trains per hour from Piccadilly Station to Cambridge. You need to change onto a Virgin Trains bus at Milton Keynes Central, and the journey takes 4 hours 10 minutes. Alternatively, for a faster journey of just over 3 ½ hours you can travel to London Euston, then transfer to Kings Cross using the London Underground (take the northbound Victoria (light blue) line one stop to Kings Cross). If there are delays (as there often are) on the Underground, King's Cross station is approximately 20 mins walk (turn left out of the station and follow the main road past the British Library and King's Cross St Pancras station). Alternatively, it is a 5 minute black cab ride from the taxi rank at Euston. From King's Cross, catch one of the 3 trains per hour to Cambridge. The journey costs around 29.50 GBP single or 65.50 GBP off peak return.
The UK train ticketing system is notoriously complicated. It is usually cheaper to buy your tickets up to 6pm on the day before you travel than on the day. And fares are more expensive if you travel before 09:30.
On arrival in Cambridge, it is a 15-minute walk to the town centre, or you can catch a taxi outside the station for around 5 GBP. There is also a bus that runs about every 10 minutes.
To walk, exit the station and continue along Station Road, which is directly in front of you. At the T-junction, turn right onto Hills Road, which takes you towards the city centre.
If you are looking for a deal on accomodation on arrival in Cambridge why not check out some hotels deals: