10 Easy Ways to Save in Cambridge England

Cambridge 10 Ways to Save


Home to one of the world’s most famous and prestigious universities, Cambridge is a gorgeous, charming and very typically English town brimming with history and culture and buzzing with students.

It is undoubtedly one of the most delightful and prized towns in Britain, with its stunning architecture, the famous Cambridge river and green picturesque parks and landscapes. With so much to see and do, it is no surprise that it is a magnet for tourists all-year round.

Those travelling on a budget may need to be careful, though. Like most historic towns, Cambridge certainly isn’t cheap, but with some advance planning, it is budget-friendly and there are plenty of fun cheap or even free things to do that won’t break the bank.

To help, we’ve come up with a list of 10 easy ways to save on your next visit to Cambridge. 

1. Take a picnic to River Cam

One of the biggest draws that Cambridge has is its breathtaking natural landscapes, and, well, the good news is…nature is free! Plan a easy, lazy day relaxing by the river at Laundress Green and taking in those gorgeous views in between sightseeing, and to keep within your budget, prepare a picnic and you can really chill out, people watch, see the famous Cambridge University rowers do their thing and enjoy your surroundings.

A cooly bag with drinks, some sandwiches, a salad and a few snacks and you’re done. A easy, cheap day out among some of the finest nature England has to offer. Don’t forget your camera. 

Cam river and Clare College in Cambridge,

2. Shop vintage

There are some beautiful shops in Cambridge, but those looking to be careful with their spending will have a shock when it comes to the price tags, especially with clothes. Not to worry, though. There are plenty of vintage shops in Cambridge with some fantastic, unique and retro garments at affordable budget prices. You can even find designer brands at bargain prices.

Barefoot Vintage, Retrovert, Oxfam, Jemporium Vintage and rejuvinate are some of the best known in town. Check out the Barefoot website to get an idea of what you can find in store.

3. Stay in an airbnb or budget b&b

Hotels are expensive these days and in upmarket towns like Cambridge can really break the budget. Be travel-wise and compare prices thoroughly online before booking anything. Many travelers opt to rent an apartment or room through airbnb, a holiday rental website that has some very competitive prices, especially for those travelling with family or a group of friends.

Reserving an apartment between all of you can work out much cheaper than a hotel, plus you’ll have your own kitchen to prepare food and save money on eating food out.

4. Keep a note of cheap eats

You can eat really well in Cambridge without spending a fortune in a swanky restaurant, and, with the student population in mind, there are plenty of highly rated budget restaurants and cafes where you can find cheap eats, be it for a meal, snack or sneaky bit of afternoon tea and cake. After all, this is Cambridge.

It just seems right, doesn’t it? One cheap eatery that is sure to tick all the boxes is The Kingston Arms, an ale hotspot that has great home-cooked food at ridiculously low prices, and some of the cheapest beer in town. For the tight budgets, it has ‘recession’ dishes, all prices at £4.99, and ‘recession’ pints around £2. You can’t go wrong. 

Alexander Arms is another pub that does three courses fo £10, Mon-Weds, dinner only. 

5. Check out the free attractions

There are several free museums and attractions in Cambridge, it’s just a matter of researching them and making a list of those that take your interest. Fitzwilliam Museum (closed Monday) is one example for those who love art and pottery, and for literature fans, a visit to the famous Wren Library of Trinity College is a must.

Apart from Sir Isaac Newton’s walking stick and hair being on display, you can also see the original manuscript of AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, and the library itself has a remarkable interior. For families, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences is a must. It isn’t free, but asks for a mere £1 donation upon entry, and is full of fascinating dinosaur and fossil displays.

Bridge of Sigh at Saint John's College, Cambridge 

6. Go to the market square

The market in the square is open every day from 10 till 16, and is a great place to have a browse of the original stands, where you can find vintage CDs, vinyls and DVDS, books, clothes, plants, fruit and veg and second hand stuff at great prices.

Hot tip: on Sunday the market is even better, with an array of local food stalls (a good one to note for cheap eats and try some traditional food – they even have ostrich burgers!) and a arts and crafts market showing off local talent.

A good place to buy a unique, handmade souvenir of your visit or any gifts for friends and family without hurting your wallet. Plus, you’re helping the local scene and artists, who really need the support and exposure. 

7. Go on a free walking tour

Yes, there is a free walking tour of Cambridge, and it is well worth joining! This is the best way to really learn about the town and its history, as your guide will explain everything and answer any questions you may have.

It’s also a great way to meet fellow travellers and tourists and have a bit of a laugh. Footprints organize a two-hour walking tour, covering all the main sights and colleges, so you won’t miss out on anything.

The walk is totally free and you are not obliged to pay a penny, but if you enjoy it and can spare a little bit of cash, tip your guide to say thanks. It will be very much appreciated. 

Free Walking tour UK

8. Hire a bike

Hiring a bike is a great way to see the sights in a different way and get to the parts of town that are a bit outside of walking distance. You will fit right in among the Cambridge students that get about on their stylish bikes, and also get some exercise in to work off those pub meals and pints!

You’ll be glad to give your feet a rest too after a lot of walking to see the sights, and it will save you splashing out on a taxi or public transport. You can hire a bike for a few hours or all day for £7-12 from a hire shop like City Cycle or Rutland Cycling.

9. Check out the Cambridge University events

The university holds many events that are open to the public, so keep an eye on the calendar and see if there is anything during your visit. It also holds annual festivals such as the renowned Cambridge Science Festival, Festival Ideas and Open Cambridge Weekend. There are lots of fascinating lectures and events to be discovered, so don’t miss out on the chance to experience the Cambridge life and learn a little.

Dates and times can be found here. Most of them are completely free!

King's College in Cambridge UK

10. Check out a free church concert

There are lots of free concerts held in the beautiful Cambridge churches, which in themselves are well worth a visit.

One of the most famous choirs in the country is of course based in Cambridge, the King’s College Chapel’s choir, and if you’re lucky (and visiting when the University is open – they generally only perform in school time) you’ll get to see them while you’re in town.