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8 Best Things to Do in Cambridge at Christmas

Are you planning on spending a festive Christmas in Cambridge? Here are the best holiday events and things to do in Cambridge at Christmas.

Cambridge is such a magical city during the holidays. My family and I have spent a few Christmas vacations in Cambridge, and we loved all the British holiday traditions and festive fun around the city.

While winter in Cambridge may be chilly, there are still so many fun things to do during the holiday season. Here are my recommendations for the best things to do in Cambridge at Christmas.

River Cam, Cambridge, England

Things To Do in Cambridge at Christmas

1. Go for a holiday Punt

Punting the College Backs, Cambridge, England

Punting on the River Cam is one of the best things to do in Cambridge, and the fun doesn’t stop just because the weather got cold!

In fact, punting in the winter is even better because there are far fewer crowds than in the summer. Punts aren’t offered daily during the winter, though, so you’ll need to be sure to book in advance.

Your Cambridge punting tour will come with warm cushions and blankets, but you should be sure to dress warmly as well.

Punting along the River Cam gives you a glimpse at the College Backs. You’ll get to see views of King’s College Chapel, the Bridge of Sighs, the dormitories of Trinity college, and the Mathematical Bridge.

Book your Cambridge punting tour here.

2. Visit the Cambridge Christmas Market

Every winter, the Cambridge Christmas Market sets up in Market Square so you can shop unique gifts, eat traditional Christmas treats, and sip on some steaming hot mulled wine.

At the Cambridge Christmas Market, you’ll find handmade ornaments, handcrafted candles, knitted accessories, and other gifts.

For food, you can try cuisines from around the world. Many of these vendors offer their traditional festive foods from their home countries. You can also grab plenty of traditional British Christmas treats like gingerbread, shortbreads, hot chocolate, mince pie, and plenty of mulled wine.

3. Enjoy the festivities at the North Pole at Parker’s Piece

North Pole at Parker's Piece, Cambridge, England

The North Pole at Parker’s Piece is like your one-stop-shop for festive fun in Cambridge at Christmas.

This holiday festival has an ice rink, market stalls, classic fairground rides, and even a bar serving bratwurst, craft beers, and cider.

The festival is free to enter, but you’ll have to pay for rides, food, and the ice rink.

Note: The North Pole at Parker’s Piece was cancelled for a couple years, but it is set to return for the 2024-2025 season.

4. Enjoy a Christmas Day meal

Christmas Day Lunch at The Granta, Cambridge, England

The traditional British Christmas Dinner is a hallowed tradition. There are a few restaurants in Cambridge that offer a traditional Christmas meal throughout the day

We always at a Christmas Day lunch at The Granta, which has been hosting Christmas meals in Cambridge since 1799.

Every year, you can reserve a table at the pub and choose from a set 4-course menu of traditional holiday foods like duck, steak, salmon, prawn, mince pie, and Christmas pudding.

Our table was set up with Christmas crackers for each of us, and after cracking them open, we donned our paper crowns and spent the next three hours sipping mulled cider and enjoying our feast.

5. Visit the historic Cambridge Colleges

Cambridge, England

Take a University of Cambridge Tour to see the colleges all decked out for the holidays. Cambridge at Christmas is one of the most magical times to see the university.

On this tour, a university student will guide you around the campus, giving you insider information on Trinity College, King’s College, and Corpus Christi College. You’ll see the historic halls where Sir Isaac Newton, C.S. Lewis, and John Harvard once walked.

You can pay to enter many of the colleges on your own as a visitor, but the best way to see them is definitely on a guided tour!

Book your University of Cambridge Tour here.

6. Stop at Fitzbillies for a warm treat

Fitzbillies Chelsea Bun, Cambridge, England

Fitzbillies is one of the best places to eat in Cambridge. The original Fitzbillies on Trumpington Street has been a staple of Cambridge since 1920 when it became the cake-shop of choice for locals who would line up for a taste of their Chelsea buns.

Warm up from your time exploring Cambridge in the winter weather with a delicious treat from Fitzbillies. They have all sorts of cakes and desserts. You can also get coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

7. Listen to carols at King’s College Chapel

King's College Chapel, Cambridge, England

King’s College Chapel is famous for their Christmas Eve carol service. A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has been a King’s College tradition since 1918.

If you want to hear it in person, you’ll need to be prepared to snag a ticket. And tickets for this event go fast. You can apply for tickets during the first two weeks of November.

And if you can’t score a ticket, don’t worry! They broadcast the service live on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. They also replay the service on BBC Radio 3 on Christmas Day. They’ve been broadcasting the carols since 1928, and millions of people watch from at home.

8. Go Christmas shopping

Have some last minute Christmas shopping to do? There are plenty of places to shop at Christmas in Cambridge!

Stroll through the Grand Arcade, Lion Yard, or the Grafton Centre. You’ll also find plenty of shops on Trinity Street, Bridge Street, and King Street. And the Market Square is always a great place to find local goods.

Cambridge at Christmas Map

Ready to explore these things to do for Christmas in Cambridge? Use the map below to plan out your holiday!

I hope you enjoy seeing Cambridge at Christmas!

British Christmas Hats, Cambridge, England

Where to Stay in Cambridge

More Things to Do in Cambridge, England

Find even more fun things to see and do in Cambridge. Check out these posts for inspiration:

Ready to visit Cambridge, England? Plan your trip with these tips.



How to Spend Christmas in Cambridge, England

Where did you spend your Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

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