Have a Cambridge Christmas- Where to Visit, Eat and Shop

Have a Cambridge Christmas- Where to Visit, Eat and Shop

The build up to Christmas is my favourite part of the season- especially the shopping and the food! If you are planning a Cambridge Christmas shopping trip, the historic city has plenty of independent, high street shops, and a buzzing market. Here, we share our local knowledge for the perfect Cambridge Christmas day out.


places to eat in Cambridge

Cambridge has many shopping areas including;

  • The City Centre and the shopping centre The Grand Arcade -Here you will find all of the high street shops, as well as many fabulous independent businesses. Wander the cobbled streets and pass the beautiful university buildings to find them.
  • The Market – Browse the many arts and crafts stalls on the market, including vintage clothing, and artisan foods and drink producers. I love the delicious vegan doughnuts made by Battered!  All Saints Garden Arts and Crafts Market also offers original gift ideas and is held every Saturday.
  • The Grafton Centre offers larger stores, and has a new food court upstairs. Try the delicious flammekueche made by AMÉLIE. You will also find the VUE cinema here with its luxurious leather recliner seats- perfect after a nice meal and a busy days sightseeing.
  • Mill Road- out of the centre slightly but well worth the walk is Mill Road. Here you will find independent businesses offering diverse and exciting food and drink.  Stroll around delis and international supermarkets,or take a break at one of the fabulous coffee shops. Look here for more about what you will find on Mill Road.

The Big Switch on and Late Night Shopping:

The Big Switch on of the Christmas lights is held during November. After this, late night shopping is each Wednesday until 8pm in the Grand Arcade and The Grafton Centre. Close to Christmas, many of the shops open until 7pm each night.  I don’t know about you but I love late night shopping- it’s the twinkly lights!

Where to eat:

best burgers in Cambridge

Whether it is for a quick bite or a special night out, with Cambridge’s thriving food scene you won’t be short of choice. Cambridge has seen a recent increase in independent restaurants and food producers and it has never been better to eat, drink and be merry in and around the city.

where to eat in Cambridge- Vanderlyle

Many of our local recommendations feature in the Waitrose Good Food Guide so come with high acclaim.  In addition, don’t miss the famous Chelsea buns at Fitzbillies, or the fabulous flavours at Jacks Gelato (the weather is never too cold!).

Where to sleep and relax:

Great value spa experiences in Cambridgeshire

In the city, The Varsity Hotel offers accommodation, food and a small spa. The University Arms is a recently renovated, central hotel that boasts the wonderful Parker’s Tavern Brasserie on site. For more hotel and spa options head out of the city to Imagine Spa, Y Spa, or the Cambridge Belfry


Cambridge Christmas

Theatre- Head to the ADC Theatre and Cambridge Arts Theatre or the Corn Exchange for some festive fun or a quality show.

Galleries and museums – Small but beautifully formed, Kettles Yard has many interesting exhibitions. Take up the free admission of the Fitzwilliam Museum to see many fascinating antiques and works of art from all over the world. The Scott Polar Research Museum makes for an extremely interesting visit. You may have enjoyed the televised Christmas Carols at Kings College, so a visit to the college itself can feel very festive.


If you are visiting Cambridge with children, there are plenty of things to see and do. Enjoy some festive fun at the North Pole Winter Wonderland on Parkers Piece , or why not try some bowling, arcade game or karaoke at Cambridge Leisure?  Cambridge has 3 cinemas too!


best burgers in Cambridge

There are many car parks in Cambridge but parking can be pricey. A cheaper alternative (also avoiding the traffic) if you are not staying in the centre is to use one of the Park and Ride options around the city. If you are staying in the centre, your accommodation may have links with a car park and may be able to recommend the best option for you.

Happy Cambridge Christmas to you!

We hope that you enjoy all of the diversity this wonderful city has to offer in the festive period. Please let us know your favourite things to do in Cambridge in the comments below.

More brilliant things to do in Cambridge here.

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