Hidden Cambridge: Our Guide to the Festive Season

As winter sets in and makes itself comfortable, our team constantly finds fun things to enjoy right here in Cambridge. Whether it be sipping a spicy mulled wine, punting on a crisp, frosty day or losing track of time in the city’s historic market, we’ve found something for everyone to feel the season’s cheer.

Warm up With Mulled Wine

The festive season isn't complete without a cup of mulled wine – or two! Head to the award-winning Cambridge Wine Merchants – on Bridge Street, Kings Parade, and Cherry Hinton Road – for a festive drink to warm yourself after your city adventure.

Visit cambridgewine.com

Take a Winter Punt

There’s no better way to see the city than from the water, which is fun even in the colder months. You haven’t truly experienced Cambridge until you've glided along the River Cam past the city’s beautiful historic colleges while hearing about the city’s rich history. So, wrap up warm and enjoy an al fresco winter punt.

Please ask our concierge for further details or to arrange your trip

Lose yourself in the Market Square

The Continent may boast famous Christmas markets, but Cambridge also offers a historic shopping experience. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the stalls in our Market Square sell everything from street food to vinyl records, fresh produce, coffee, clothes, and everything in between. It’s perfect for a spot of Christmas shopping.

There are also Christmas markets in nearby Ely and Newmarket, both under 30 minutes away by train. Why not have a day out from Cambridge while staying at University Arms?

Please ask our concierge for further details or visitcambridge.gov.uk

The Best Coffee in Town

Bould Brothers are passionate coffee roasters, renowned in town for their flavourful brews and Belgian hot chocolate. Head to their café on Regent Street or Round Church Street – just follow your nose to find it…

Visit bouldbrotherscoffee.co.uk

The Obligatory Chelsea Bun

The sticky Chelsea buns from Fitzbillies on Bridge Street are legendary, understandably their most famous product since the bakery’s foundation in 1920.

Join the queue outside the Fitzbillies on Bridge Street or Trumpington Street

Make Your Own Gin

Taste it, mix it or make it on one of the entertaining and insightful gin workshops at the Cambridge Distillery – voted the #1 thing to do in the city.

For further details visit cambridgedistillery.co.uk

Big Bangs

The Christmas Cracker exhibition at Byard Art has a wide range of paintings, sculptures, craftwork, prints, and jewellery that will earn Santa a very big reward.

See more at byardart.co.uk

Say Cheese

Stock up on your favourite locally made and European cheeses at the independent deli, Cambridge Cheese Company, perfect for a festive cheese board at home. You can also experience a guided cheese tasting session.

Sniff out the action at cambridgecheese.co

A Winter Garden

Not only are the plantings at the world-renowned Botanic Garden gorgeous all year round, but until the 23rd December the ‘Magic and Mayhem’ event sees mischievous elves scattering surprises throughout the grounds for you to find – perfect for family fun.

Visit botanic.cam.ac.uk for more

Explore the Countryside:

Looking to escape the bustle of town? Grantchester Meadows are just a short drive, bike ride, walk, or even punt from the University Arms. Reward yourself afterwards with a trip to The Rupert Brooke for a cosy pub lunch.

Visit therupertbrooke.com for more

Warm up in a Cosy Pub

Why not stay on your punt and row right up to The Mill, a 19th-century pub on the banks of the River Cam? Your reward is well-prepared classic pub grub with a nod to modern times, so there are vegan and coeliac options among the entries for fish’n’chips and pie’n’mash.

Plan your menu at themillpubcambridge.com

Ho, Ho, HOGO

If the Hassle of Going Out Strikes, be sure to click on our Events tab for details of our Cultural Curator’s programme of entertaining and informative talks, festivals, concerts, and screenings at the University Arms and in neighbouring areas of Cambridge.

Memorable Meals:

There’s no better way to end the day than with dinner at Parker’s Tavern, presided over by our Michelin-starred culinary whizz, Chef-Patron Tristan Welch. Chef Tristan has composed a new festive menu whose highlights include crispy fried brie, mince pie doughnuts and a festive afternoon tea.

Be sure to have a Christmas Bloomsbury Bloomer cocktail at our bar beforehand – we’ll raise a toast to your good elf!

Reserve your table at parkerstavern.com