If you’re visiting Cambridge this winter you will not find yourself short of festive Christmas markets and activities to do! Cambridge, renowned for its prestigious university and incredible green spaces, becomes a magical winter wonderland during Christmas. Whether you’re on the hunt for unique gifts, festive decorations, or simply want to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with a cup of mulled wine, this guide will help you plan the perfect festive day in Cambridge. Don’t forget to include a punting tour in your day out – the colleges look even more stunning on a crisp, frosty day!
The Market Square has offered wonderful Christmas markets throughout history, dating back to the middle-ages when it began trading! Located in the heart of this historic city, the market serves as a vibrant hub that seamlessly blends local stalls of crafts and flavours. Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of some of Cambridge’s most iconic and historic buildings, a mere one-minute stroll will take you to the renowned King’s College from Cambridge University.
Wander through the market, and you’ll discover diverse products ranging from arts and crafts to global cuisine, books, jewellery, vibrant plants and loads more! As the festive season approaches, the market comes alive with Christmas trees and the warm aroma of mulled wine.
The market square transforms into a spectacle of lights during the festive season, including a giant illuminated Christmas tree, creating a magical ambience that enhances the overall experience.
If you don’t find everything you’re looking for on the market stalls, explore the surrounding independent shops, each promising a trove of handcrafted and unique items. The Cambridge Market invites you to immerse yourself in history, culture, and the festive spirit, all within the charming embrace of this historic city.
All Saints Market
A more recent addition to Cambridge’s festive scene is the All Saints Market, set up in 2018. Just round the corner from the market square, it is located opposite the iconic Trinity College. This market operates every Saturday, featuring local arts and crafts. It’s the perfect spot for finding a special, homemade Christmas present, ranging from personalized belts to arts and crafts, jewellery, stained glass, and handmade cards.
Mill Road Winter Fair
Although the Mill Road Winter Fair has already passed this year, mark your calendars for next year – it takes place annually on the first Saturday of December! This vibrant fair offers live music, food, and craft stalls along the road. From mulled wine to Indian cuisine, candles, and wintery bouquets, the fair buzzes with festive energy, creating a lively atmosphere.
Discover the wonders of Burwash Manor this Christmas with the family. The old converted farm transforms into a winter wonderland, covered in festive lights and Christmas trees. You can pick your own Christmas tree, making a memorable family tradition. Burwash Manor is made up of barns with an incredible array of independent shops. Take a stroll through the on-site florist to find delightful winter bouquets, and the Burwash Larder with an array of festive foods including cheeses and deli items. You will find endless presents for the kids and Christmas decorations in Freda and Bert. After a day exploring the 12 different independent shops, you can end the day with some food and a hot drink in the Flock Cafe, or something a bit stronger in The Wee Vinoteca. This charming destination offers a unique blend of activities to create enduring holiday moments with your loved ones.
Guild Hall Festive Arts and Crafts Fair
On December 10th, the Guild Hall hosts a craft fair, showcasing local handcrafted gifts from talented artists. Enjoy refreshments from food and drink stalls as you explore the festive offerings and find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Entry is free!
Punting in Cambridge with Traditional Punting Company
Once you’ve visited all the Christmas markets, don’t forget to take a moment to relax with a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate. What better way to do this than to embark on a winter punting tour with Traditional Punting Company? Punting in Cambridge is not just something to experience in the summer, but enjoy the peaceful frosty Cambridge University Colleges wrapped up in one of our blankets, while an expert punting chauffeur glides you along the river. Your 50-minute journey will be narrated by the guide, and you’ll get to hear all the historic old tales of Cambridge.
Following a day of exploring the bustling markets, our punting tours provide the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax, and soak in the Christmas spirit along the tranquil River Cam. It’s not just a boat ride; it’s a tailored experience for family adventures, romantic getaways, or festive meet-ups with friends, adding a touch of charm to your holiday festivities.
Look out for our Christmas Punt and Hunt running from 2nd December through to the end of December. The Punt and Hunt will keep the kids entertained, as they fill out a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt booklet during the tour. Each completed booklet wins a bag of sweets from the famous Hardy’s Sweet Shop in town!
Enjoy the whole boat to yourself on a private tour so you can bring along all your loved ones, or just enjoy a bit of extra space, and get pictures in any spot along the river. Alternatively, you can share the boat with other people for even better rates – sharing is caring after all!
Make sure to book your tickets here for the best rates and to ensure you don’t miss out!
Posted on December 6th, 2023, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor