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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. 

How about making your time spent at The River Cam even more memorable? Remember to try out some of these things to do:

Your next exciting adventure has been waiting for you! You might want to try out a Combo: Cambridge University and Punting on the River Cam or a Cambridge Guided Tour.

If you're seeking more activities, examine our Cambridge things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around The River Cam


Map

Best Lodging Options Near The River Cam

See all 479 Properties near The River Cam
Hilton Cambridge City Centre ¥13,644
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 ¥7,372
    ibis Cambridge Central Station

    ibis Cambridge Central Station

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

      Situated in the business district, 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.

      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cambridge City Centre ¥14,892
      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. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and Church of St Mary the Great are also within 10 minutes. Cambridge Station is 23 minutes by foot.

        The Gonville Hotel ¥13,483
        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.

          Arundel House Hotel ¥10,707
          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.

            The Varsity Hotel & Spa ¥16,858
            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 ¥17,003
              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.

                West Court - Cambridge ¥7,847
                West Court - Cambridge

                West Court - Cambridge

                West Court, Jesus College, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, England
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Cambridge City Centre, this residence is within a 5-minute walk of ADC Theatre, 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 26 minutes by foot.