Perfect Autumn Days Out in Cambridge
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Perfect Autumn Days Out in Cambridge

Cambridge is most popular with tourists during the summer months, but it might just be at its most beautiful in autumn. Embrace the season with wild walks, cosy pubs and autumnal attractions.

Wandlebury Country Park 

Escape the city for a wander at Wandlebury Country Park, where you can stomp your way through crunchy leaves, meet a highland cow or two and enjoy views across the Gog Magog Hills. The avenue of beech trees is especially breath-taking at this time of year, offering a burst of rich autumnal colours, but be sure to visit the wildlife pond too, which is home to a diversity of species including grass snakes and water scorpions – how many can you spot? You can also explore the Autumn Garden at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, where sweetgums, smokebushes and maples yield a fiery display.

Hot Chocolate

Need warming up? Visit Jack’s Gelato on Bene’t Street for a cup of hot chocolate. Since his early days tricycling around the city with a cargo box of handmade gelato, Jack has become legendary in Cambridge for his imaginative iced treats – but the silky-smooth hot chocolates (served with a wedge of homemade marshmallow), are unmissable when there’s a chill in the air.

Cosy Pubs

After you’ve worked up an appetite enjoying the city sights, hole up for a fireside feast at one of Cambridge’s cosiest pubs. The Eagle is a well-loved watering hole in the city centre that offers classic pub grub, real ale and a friendly atmosphere. Dating back to around 1600, it has a storied history, but it’s most famous for being the place where Francis Crick and James Watson announced they’d discovered DNA in the 1950s. History fans will also enjoy a peek into the RAF Bar, which bears a ceiling covered with scribbles and signatures from World War Two pilots. Slightly less historic, but still nearly two centuries old, The Free Press is another favourite for its excellent food, large open fires and cosy nooks.

Autumn Attractions

From pumpkin festivals to harvest celebrations and fireworks displays, Cambridge has a bustling line-up of autumn events to enjoy each year. The Botanic Garden hosts the area’s largest apple day event each October, where you can enjoy apple-themed craft activities, get advice on growing your own, and taste dozens of locally grown heritage varieties. Another great way to get into the seasonal spirit is with a visit to a pumpkin patch to pick and carve your own jack-o’-lantern: try The Skylark Maize Maze in March (around 50 minutes from central Cambridge), for a range of family-friendly Halloween activities. Another highlight of autumn in Cambridge is the annual fireworks display on Midsummer Common, which attracts around 20,000 people each November.

Cultural Highlights

One of the busiest times in the cultural calendar in Cambridge, the autumn months are brimming with fantastic events. Open Cambridge takes place in September and celebrates the city’s culture and heritage with a programme of talks, tours and exhibitions, or the Cambridge Film Festival is a must for cinema-lovers. Now over 40 years old, it presents a varied selection of screenings each year, ranging from art house award-winners to blockbusters and family favourites. Look out for Cambridge Literary Festival – usually in November – too, which gives booklovers a treat with a line-up of author talks and Q&As.

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Did you know?

One of the oldest surviving buildings in Cambridge is the Leper Chapel on Newmarket Road. Also known as the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, it dates back to the 12th century and was originally used as a place to isolate victims of leprosy.