Cambridge is a quintessentially British destination packed full of authentic experiences that every out-of-towner should enjoy. Alongside punting, greenery and museums, the city are famed for its tearooms. There’s nothing more satisfying than sitting down for a good brew at the end of a long day of exploring. Here we provide a rundown of the best tearooms, so you can find the perfect haunt to indulge in the great British pastime of tea drinking.
We thought we’d begin our rundown with the city’s most historic tearoom, Fitzbillies. Its flagship tearoom is based on Trumpington Street, just a stone’s throw away from King’s College Chapel and the Fitzwilliam Museum. It also has a second branch on Bridge Street, where visitors can enjoy a great cup of tea, one of their famous Chelsea buns and delightful views of the River Cam. Fitzbillies has been a part of the Cambridge set since 1920 and has a long history as a result. Here the team at Fitzbillies reveals more about the start of this iconic Cambridge tearoom:
“Fitzbillies began life in 1920 when Ernest and Arthur Mason, returned to Cambridge from the First World War. They were the sons of local baker ‘Ticker’ Mason, who had a shop further up Trumpington St and they used their demob money to set up a bakery of their own. It was they who had the shop front designed in the Art Nouveau style and their initials are still visible in worn-out gold letters at the bottom of the window. Fitzbillies quickly became the cake-shop of choice of university and town.”
Their main branch on Trumpington Street serves baked goods, coffee, brunch, lunch and a fantastic English Afternoon Tea 7 days a week.
Harriets on Green Street may be a relatively new tearoom (it opened in 2012), but it’s a popular haunt for locals and visitors alike. Located on a quaint cobbled street, Harriets sits at the centre of the old University district to provide vital sustenance for those exploring Trinity College and King’s College. Indulge in breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea in this charming spot.
Carriages of Cambridge
To experience afternoon tea with a difference, travel outside the city centre and board the tearoom on rails. Combining luxury train travel and a variety of handmade afternoon teas, Carriages of Cambridge in Fen Drayton offers the perfect way to toast a successful trip in Cambridge with family and friends. It can also be booked by professionals for the purpose of wining and dining business associates.
The unique experience starts as soon as you arrive. You’re transported back in time thanks to Carriages’ 1920 train station setting. You’ll then board a traditional train before taking your seats in one of their first-class Pullman style carriages and indulging in a selection of hand prepared sandwiches, freshly baked scones and signature handmade petit fours. Wash these delights down with a handpicked range of teas, coffees, champagne, wine or ale.
The Orchard Tea Garden
The Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester was established in 1897 and even outdates centrally based Fitzbillies. It was a regular haunt of Cambridge students, who for more than 700 years had boated or cycled from Cambridge to Grantchester Village. A visit to Grantchester Village is a trip worth repeating during your Cambridge stay, and you have to enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or a slice of cake at this beautiful and relaxing tearoom.
By dining or drinking at The Orchard Tea Garden, you’ll be joining a very exclusive list of visitors. Author Virginia Woolf, inventor Alan Turing, DNA discoverers Crick and Watson, famous physicist Stephen Hawking and even HRH Prince Charles have visited The Orchard Tea Garden.