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The River Cam

Go punting, kayaking, sailing and swimming in this clean river that winds its way through one of the world’s most iconic universities.

The River Cam is the historic waterway that meanders through the University of Cambridge. It is known for the activity of punting, involving flat-bottomed boats propelled by pushing a long pole against the shallow river bed. Walk along the banks of this charming river and visit the sights of Cambridge. 

As the river enters Cambridge from the south, it straddles the vast verdant meadows of Sheep’s Green and Coe Fen. Rent a canoe or kayak from the Cambridge Canoe Club. Cycle along the paths and spot cows grazing in this serene, rural area. Stroll along the banks of the river and take photos of King’s College Chapel in the distance. 

The river is clear and clean, supporting a diverse ecosystem. It contains wild brown trout among other fish. Participate actively in punting on boats owned by many of the university’s colleges or relax on these small vessels as an operator takes you up and down the river. 

Continue north to enter the Queens’ College section of the University of Cambridge. Admire pleasant riverside gardens and cross the famed Mathematical Bridge, which is made from crisscrossing panels of teak timber. Among the highlights here are the Tudor-style President’s Lodge, the Old Court and the Chapel and Walnut Tree Court. 

Pass St. Catharine’s College and arrive at King’s College Chapel. Venture inside for its superb medieval stained glass and look up at the vaulted ceiling. Go through Trinity College to get to the spectacular covered structure of the Bridge of Sighs.

At the northeastern end of the city is Cam Sailing Club, where you can watch sailing races most weekends between March and November. Go swimming in the cool water in summer. 

The River Cam meanders through the center of Cambridge from southwest to northeast, before continuing into the Great Ouse River. The waterway eventually meets the North Sea on England’s eastern coast, 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Cambridge. Visit nearby sights, including Fitzwilliam Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. 

Popular Activities at The River Cam

Give yourself loads of time at The River Cam. Here are some of the best things to do:

Taken you forever to make it to this famed attraction? Then you mustn't go home without trying out a Combo: Cambridge University and Punting on the River Cam.

If you're seeking more options, have a look at our Cambridge things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around The River Cam


Map

Best Lodging Options Near The River Cam

See all 375 Properties near The River Cam
Hilton Cambridge City Centre ¥13,180
Hilton Cambridge City Centre

Hilton Cambridge City Centre

Downing Street, Cambridge, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Cambridge City Centre, this hotel is steps from Cambridge University Museum and Archaeology and Anthropology and Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. St Catharine's College and Cambridge Corn Exchange are also within 5 minutes. Cambridge Station is 19 minutes by foot.

    ibis Cambridge Central Station ¥7,860
    ibis Cambridge Central Station

    ibis Cambridge Central Station

    2 Station Square, Cambridge, England
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Cambridge, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of University Botanic Gardens, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, and University of Cambridge. Anglia Ruskin University and Parker's Piece are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cambridge Station is only a 2-minute walk.

      The Varsity Hotel & Spa ¥17,121
      The Varsity Hotel & Spa

      The Varsity Hotel & Spa

      24 Thompsons Lane, Cambridge, England
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of Cambridge, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Pepys Library, St. John's College, and Trinity College. Church of St Mary the Great and King's College are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 29 minutes by foot.

        University Arms, Autograph Collection ¥13,675
        University Arms, Autograph Collection

        University Arms, Autograph Collection

        Regent Street, Cambridge, England
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Cambridge City Centre, this hotel is steps from Emmanuel College and Parker's Piece. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and St Catharine's College are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 15 minutes by foot.

          The Gonville Hotel ¥14,439
          The Gonville Hotel

          The Gonville Hotel

          Gonville Place, Cambridge, England
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in the heart of Cambridge, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Our Lady and the English Martyrs and Parker's Piece. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and University of Cambridge are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 15 minutes by foot.

            DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cambridge City Centre ¥12,318
            DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cambridge City Centre

            DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cambridge City Centre

            Granta Place Mill Lane, Cambridge, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in the heart of Cambridge, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of The Backs, University of Cambridge, and St Catharine's College. King's College and Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 23 minutes by foot.

              Arundel House Hotel ¥8,653
              Arundel House Hotel

              Arundel House Hotel

              Chesterton Road, Cambridge, England
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Arbury, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Jesus Green and St. John's College. Trinity College and Church of St Mary the Great are also within 15 minutes.

                Tamburlaine ¥14,052
                Tamburlaine

                Tamburlaine

                Station Rd, Cambridge, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Cambridge, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, and Cambridge Arts Theatre. St Catharine's College and Church of St Mary the Great are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cambridge Station is only a 2-minute walk.