Autumn in Cambridge: A Seasonal Guide from University Arms

Cambridge, known for its rich history and academic brilliance, undergoes a beautiful transformation when autumn arrives. The city's charming streets and parks are cloaked in vibrant colours, making it an ideal time for visitors to explore its beauty. Nestled in the heart of this picturesque city is our luxury hotel, The University Arms, which provides the perfect gateway to experience the enchantment of autumn in Cambridge. In this seasonal guide, we will take you on a journey of discovering the best activities to make your visit truly unforgettable.

  1. Enjoy the Autumn Foliage

As autumn descends upon Cambridge, the city's parks and gardens come alive with the hues of red, gold, and orange. Jesus Green and Parker's Piece are perfect spots to experience the changing colours of the leaves. Whether you prefer a relaxing picnic, leisurely walks, or capturing the breathtaking scenery, these parks offer a serene and picturesque setting to revel in the season.

Want to explore a bit further, why not jump on a bike ride to Grantchester? Venture outside the city by hopping on one of the University Arms' branded bicycles, and pedal along the River Cam to the idyllic village of Grantchester.

2: Bonfire Night in Cambridge

As you embark on your autumn adventure in Cambridge, you'll discover the city's captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Embrace the enchanting transformation of this academic haven as it dons its autumn colours, and make your stay truly unforgettable at University Arms by visiting the biggest Bonfire Night in Cambridge.

Experience one of the largest free firework displays in the region at the Illumina Cambridge Fireworks Night on Saturday, November 4th, 7pm on Midsummer Common.

3. Explore the University Colleges

Cambridge's iconic colleges are steeped in history, and visiting them is a must. King's College Chapel, Trinity College, among others, are architectural marvels that bear witness to centuries of academic excellence. Dive into the historical significance of these institutions and don't miss the opportunity to take a guided tour to get a closer look at their hidden gems.

4. Punting on the River Cam

Punting along the serene River Cam is a quintessential Cambridge experience, and the autumn season enhances its allure. The scenic routes are even more enchanting with the backdrop of falling leaves and the crisp air. Whether you're a punting pro or a novice, punting tours ensure a memorable experience. Visit rutherfordspunting.com for further details.

5. Cambridge Botanic Garden

The Cambridge Botanic Garden takes on a unique charm during the autumn months. Amidst the falling leaves, you will discover a diverse collection of plants and seasonal events. Take a walk around and breathe in the crisp autumn air. Or, why not try one of their special events:

Cambridge Botanic Garden Apple Day - On Sunday, October 22nd, 2023, enjoy the Cambridge Botanic Garden’s Apple Day. Explore apple-themed festivities amidst the beautiful fall foliage between 10am and 4pm.

6. Autumnal Food and Drink

Cambridge's culinary scene is equally captivating during the autumn season, and there are tons of chances to delight your taste buds with seasonal treats and local cuisine. From cosy cafes to luxury restaurants, you’ll find plenty of locations where you can savour comforting food and delicious hot drinks. Here are some of our favourites:

- To start, try Parkers Tavern’s . This offers a delicious selection of savouries and sweets inspired by autumnal flavours of Cambridge, and is available until November 23rd 2023. A delightful way to experience the season's culinary delights. View our Afternoon Tea menu here. 

-For a taste of history, head to Fitzbillies for their famous sticky Chelsea buns, a tradition dating back to 1920. These sweet treats are a must-try while exploring Cambridge.

-Fancy a nice warm drink? Warm up with a delicious Bould Brothers' Hot Chocolate, the perfect drink to enjoy during the crisp autumn weather.

-Finish your day of exploring the city with the new Autumn A La Carte menu at Parkers Tavern Brasserie restaurant. A quintessentially English brasserie restaurant, offering homely British classics with some characterful reinterpretations. Crafted using the finest locally sourced seasonal produce, expect sharing steak and ale pie, succulent slow-cooked ox cheek, caramelised cauliflower soup with pork crackling. View the menu here.

-If you dare, visit Parker's Tavern bar for their Halloween-themed cocktails. Don't be shy....

7. Museums and Cultural Activities

For those occasional rainy autumn days, Cambridge offers a wealth of indoor activities. Explore the city's museums and cultural institutions, each a treasure trove of knowledge and art. Keep an eye out for special exhibitions and events happening during the season, as they offer a unique cultural experience.

- The Cambridge Ghost Tour - Explore the eerie side of Cambridge with expert guides who share the city's ghost stories and legends. A fascinating and spine-tingling experience that's perfect for the Autumn and Winter months. £20 per person, 1 hour duration, Fridays and Saturdays at 6pm.

- Great St Mary's Tower - For panoramic views across the city, challenge yourself to climb the 123 steps of Great St Mary's Tower. The breathtaking vistas are worth the effort. Tower details. Open Monday – Saturday, 10am-6pm (last entry to tower is 5:30pm) Tickets are £6 for adults, £4 for children, £16 for a family ticket.

- Wimpole Hall - A short drive from Cambridge, Wimpole Hall is a National Trust property with a stately mansion, beautiful gardens, and 300 acres of parkland. Explore this historic estate and enjoy special October activities. Visit Wimpole Hall.

8. Shopping and Souvenirs

Cambridge boasts charming shopping districts and boutiques where you can find unique souvenirs, local crafts, and autumn-themed gifts.

-The Haunted Bookshop - After learning about the legend of the "White Lady" on the ghost tour, visit the Haunted Bookshop in Cambridge, specialising in children's illustrated second-hand and antiquarian books. A unique and mysterious destination. Open Monday-Saturday, 10-5pm.

-The Grand Arcade - why not start your Christmas shopping early and head to The Grand Arcade shopping centre. With a range of stores, you'll be sure to find what you're looking for.

-Cambridge Satchel Company - Since starting up in 2008, Cambridge Satchel Company have had a royal visit from King Charles III and Queen Camilla, launched many luxury leather products, and had collaborations to create quintessential British pieces. Open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 11am-5pm, the perfect place to grab that special Christmas gift.

9. Where to stay in Cambridge

For a truly luxurious and convenient autumn getaway, look no further than University Arms. Our hotel is nestled in the heart of Cambridge and offers unique features and accommodations. Whether you're looking for a cosy retreat, stunning views, or exceptional service, we have it all. We have special seasonal packages and a relaxing spa experience to ensure your stay is unforgettable.

Looking for more fun events and spots to visit? Check out our Discover Cambridge page, with a helpful interactive map of the historic city.