As a student, Lord Byron reportedly kept a bear in his room in protest against dogs being banned from Trinity College, Cambridge. More recently, the master of Selwyn College managed to keep his dog by persuading university officials that YoYo, his Bassett Hound, was a very large cat. Fear not, that kind of caper is all in the past! We’re here to present the very best eats, sleeps and play in dog-friendly Cambridge. And you won’t need dress Fido up as a cat (unless you want to).
Discovering dog-friendly Cambridge
Throw pup’s mortarboard high, we’re officially off. We’re starting in the city, in beautiful Parker’s Piece (pictured), 25 grassy acres of pathways pooch will love exploring. Reputed to be the birthplace of football rules, there’s no foul play here. Trot around Reality Checkpoint, a huge and ornate lamp that marks the epicentre of the city.
Ten minutes’ walk from Parker’s Piece is the Alexandra Arms, one of the most dog-friendly pubs in Cambridge. In fact, they won the dog-friendly pub title in 2018. Famous for their real ales, the pub is cosy, bright and serves delicious food. Or try pup-friendly Calverley’s Brewery Tap, established in a former stable in 2013, that delights guests with award-winning beers straight from the keg.
Four-star The Gonville Hotel, which overlooks Parker’s Piece, is the pawfect place to rest weary heads. Built in 1830, it evokes quintessential Cambridge character, welcoming pups in all their rooms, the bar, Atrium brasserie and the courtyard.
Cambridge is full of historic twists and turns, anchored of course by the University’s beautiful college buildings. Take pup past majestic Downing College and the Romanesque Fitzwilliam Museum until reaching Coe Fen. There’s plenty of natural diversity here and is a little taste of countryside just minutes away from the city. When paws are tired head to dog-friendly pub The Mill that sits on the banks of the River Cam, overlooking Laundress Green. Let pup choose a vinyl to play while relaxing with a well-deserved tipple.
Nearby Hotel du Vin, set in a former University building with a library still attached, is one of most learned dog-friendly hotels Cambridge has to offer. There’s Egyptian cotton bed sheets, lush furnishings and free-standing baths. Pup is welcome to dine with you in bar (hello, French Bistro food) and is granted access to all public areas, with exception of the restaurant. All the rooms are pooch-friendly, and some come with private terraces.
Dog-walks around Cambridge historic city centre
While our four-legged friends are unable to enter the colleges, buildings like Christ Church and Kings College are spectacular even from the outside. Areas like The Backs will let curious pups peer into the college grounds around Kings College Chapel. To get there, trot over the lovely bridges across the River Cam. Brave pups might like to punt with you along the river! While punting is dog-friendly, it’s a good idea to pack pup’s lifejacket.
Time for a treat. Head to Fitzbillies for a famous takeaway Chelsea Bun. There’s plenty of dog walks around Cambridge but a trot around the Corn Exchange and iconic Market Square is hard to beat.
When it’s time for dinner, we love delightfully paw-friendly Novi. Here you’ll find exceptional coffee by day and botanical cocktails at night. They specialise in a vibrant, sumptuously smoky BBQ menu care of an in-house smoker.
Collapse into some soft sheets at the nearby Felix Hotel, about 30 minutes trot from the city. This boutique Victorian hotel offers stylish furnishings and fine dining surrounded by lovely gardens. Pups are welcome in the rooms and grounds, as well as on the Terrace and Orangery. In the morning, explore nearby Girton College grounds with pup in tow.
Exploring outside dog-friendly Cambridge
There are excellent walking opportunities about an hour from the city. Take pup to Houghton Mill, where pups on leads are welcome in the lovely grounds. Trot the National Trust’s Houghton Mill walk, passing the remains of an old viaduct and unspoiled water meadows. From here, there’s lovely views across Hemingfords. When it’s time for a bite, head to the nearby rustic Crown Inn in Huntingdon where great seasonal gastro food and an established drinks menu await.
Pup will also love Wicken Fen Nature Reserve (pictured), the National Trust’s oldest nature reserve and England’s most famous fen. Pups are welcome in the reserve and there’s acres of beautiful flora and fauna to explore. They’re also welcome in the fen’s Docky Hut Café – great for when you fancy a tea.
Whether pup’s well-read or is all brawn, there’s no doubt that dog-friendly Cambridge is the pawfect place for your next UK getaway. Book pup’s graduation and get exploring!
For more dog-friendly city and county guides, head to our destinations pages.