Major Festivals and Events
Cambridge and the surrounding areas offer a vibrant an eclectic selection of festivals and eye-opening events throughout the calendar year. With something for everyone, you'll want to return to the city over and over again to experience everything this amazing city has to offer.
Here are some of the options available, click on the name of the event to learn more..
2015 saw the first in an annual series of local history events, taking place throughout the city - hosted by The Museum of Cambridge. Cambridge History festival is for all those who have an interest in the historic past of Cambridge & Beyond.
Twice each year Cambridge Literary Festival welcomes some of the world's freshest thinkers to celebrate with us the power of words in all their forms. From novelists, poets, editors and critics, to scientists, politicians, historians and entertainers, showcasing the most exciting reflections of the world we live in today.
It's that time of year again when Ely pays homage to the humble eel and celebrates its origins for a whole weekend of eel packed fun! This quirky festival makes Ely a must for a Spring Bank Holiday visit.
Enjoy a range of activities and performances across the weekend right in the heart of the city on Parker's Piece. Starting with a cascade of dazzling fireworks on the Friday evening, The Big Weekend attracts record numbers of people to the city and features performances from show-stopping artists, delighting crowds throughout the weekend.
The Buskers & Street Performers Festival was created with two main objectives; to celebrate & educate - to celebrate and showcase the variety of talent we have in Cambridge’s city centre and to educate the busking community on the importance of following the ‘Street Performers Code of Practice’.
The Cambridge Comedy Festival was launched in 2007 with the aim of recreating a micro version of the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival experience in Cambridge. Its unique appeal is that it is a Festival of Previews and brings a host of names known and unknown to the city for a pre-Edinburgh warm-up.
Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the premier music events in Europe and one of the longest running and most famous folk festivals in the world. It has become hugely popular attracting ten thousand people, many of whom return year after year.
The Festival is renowned for its eclectic mix of music and a wide definition of what might be considered folk. The best traditional folk artists from the UK and Ireland rub shoulders with more contemporary acts, the finest American country, blues and roots artists, acclaimed singer songwriters and even the odd pop star.
Cambridge Open Studios (COS) is one of the oldest open studio events in the country. It has its roots in the 1960s when a small group of artists invited local people to visit their studios and see how their art was produced, as part of a movement to make the arts more available for all.
Cambridge Rock Festival is now in its second decade. The annual music festival has seen nationally and internationally well-known acts perform on its various stages, but has also taken the opportunity to promote new and local bands too - the total number getting on for a thousand! The event has been short-listed for best medium sized UK festival.
One of Cambridge’s premier foodie events including a fantastic programme of food and drink themed fringe events, offers, interactive talks and workshops, and special one-offs that showcase the city's amazing independent food and drink scene.
From June to September there will be jazz and brass bands playing in Cambridge's parks and open spaces for you to enjoy. Just turn up, bring a picnic and enjoy Jazz and Brass in Cambridge’s beautiful leafy parks!
The national campaign aims to attract new market traders and highlight the importance that markets play at the heart of the local community, not only for retail but also as a valuable community asset that provides a real focal point for our town and city centres.
This ancient fair has been visiting the city’s Midsummer Common for over 800 years, making it the country’s oldest travelling fun fair. Featuring all the rides associated with a traditional fun fair, and the very best white-knuckle rides, you can also expect the usual fun of the fair including candyfloss, hot dogs, toffee apples and more.
OuseFest returns this summer with a fortnight of over 80 local events celebrating the Ouse Washes Landscape and Communities! There’s plenty happening at a variety of venues right on our doorsteps, spanning from St Ives and Fen Drayton Lakes all the way to Downham Market in Norfolk.
Strawberry Fair is the free music and arts festival in the heart of Cambridge. Each year, on the first Saturday of June, Strawberry Fair transforms Midsummer Common into a visual extravaganza where fair-goers of all ages enjoy an abundance of eclectic, sometimes eccentric activities and entertainment.
Dragon Boat racing is an ancient Chinese tradition and the fastest growing water activity in Britain today – as well as the most fun! Every year the much celebrated festival takes place on the River Cam – so get down and enjoy this incredible feast for your senses.
The annual Cambridge Film Festival - the third longest running film festival in the UK - is a celebration of film – past present and future. It's a chance to relive and enjoy past glories, but also to see what’s happening in film right now, and reveal new talents who will shape the future of cinema.
This charity race follows in the heroic footsteps of the famous film “Chariots of Fire”. Teams of six runners, each run a 1.7 mile course in relay format following the unique and picturesque route starting and finishing at Queens' Green and covering the city centre, Trinity College, Clare College, King's College and crossing the River Cam.
Cambridge's Bonfire Night is one of the most popular events in the city's calendar and Cambridge City Council are proud to have provided this free event for over 20 years. This would not be possible without the generous support of many local businesses as well as donations from the general public.
The festival is a celebration of the huge variety of music that jazz encompasses, from gypsy jazz to funk, from solo artists to big bands and to open jazz up to new audiences, particularly young people, and to give them the chance to get involved as well as come and listen.
The second part of Cambridge Literary Festival. The Winter festival welcomes some of the world's freshest thinkers to celebrate with us the power of words in all their forms. From novelists, poets, editors and critics, to scientists, politicians, historians and entertainers, showcasing the most exciting reflections of the world we live in today.
e-Luminate’s Cambridge festival offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to discover, or re-discover, the richness and diversity of iconic buildings and public spaces through a range of light installations, family activates, talks and concerts.
Mill Road Winter Fair takes place on the first Saturday of December, from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Mill Road is closed from East Road to Coleridge Road – with the sight of thousands of people calmly flowing up and down the road has to be seen to be believed. The Fair is known for its special charm and atmosphere with over 10,000 people participating in different ways and enjoying all that the Mill Road area has to offer.