The Best Cheap Hotels in Cambridge

Explore the magnificent university architecture on a trip to Cambridge
Explore the magnificent university architecture on a trip to Cambridge | © Julius Dūdėnas
Callum Davies

With its historic buildings and pristine college greens, Cambridge can seem like a challenging destination if you’re travelling on a budget. Thankfully, the city’s student population, independent businesses and good transport links help to make it more approachable. To stay in this prestigious university town on a shoestring – without sacrificing comfort for affordability – book one of these cheap hotels in Cambridge on Culture Trip.

1. A&B Guest House, for a welcoming stay near the train station

Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse

A compact room at A and B Guest House with a double bed, light yellow walls and powder-blue curtains
Courtesy of A and B Guest House / Expedia

In very close proximity to the train station, A&B Guest House has 10 spacious ensuite rooms, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and a dining area where breakfast is served. It takes around 20 minutes to reach the city centre on foot and the guest house is just far enough away from the station to avoid any noise pollution. The hotel’s small size means that stays here have a personal touch – expect to be well looked after by your hosts.

2. Rectory Farm, for a country escape in west Cambridge

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

The leaf-covered facade of Rectory Farm guesthouse
Courtesy of Rectory Farm / Expedia

Rectory Farm is on the western fringe of the city, near the village of Madingley and the American Cemetery. Despite the relatively low rate, the rooms are spacious and populated with handsome vintage furniture and large beds. Enjoy the outdoors with a game of croquet on the lawn or take a swim in the heated pool. On warmer days, you can have a drink on the terrace or even take a country walk into the centre of Cambridge – you can reach King’s College in around 40 minutes.

3. The Blue Cow, for a cosy cottage feel in Fenstanton

Budget Hotel, Hotel

The cosy living room at the Blue Cow with red velvet sofas, a wooden coffee table topped with books and a bookshelf topped with a lamp and globe
Courtesy of the Blue Cow / Expedia

About 20 minutes outside of Cambridge by car in Fenstanton, the Blue Cow is somewhat unique – a guest house built out of converted stables. Functioning as a cottage, it offers complete privacy while also providing all the comforts you’d expect from a larger hotel. The cottage has kitchen facilities for self-catering, but breakfast is also included in the rate and the Duchess pub – a short walk away – serves dinner and lunch. If you like privacy, there’s nowhere better in the area.

5. Madingley Hall, for a getaway in Madingley

Budget Hotel

The grand, brick country house exterior of Madingley Hall, surrounded by paths, trees and lawns
Courtesy of Madingley Hall / Expedia

Madingley Hall isn’t a hotel in the strictest sense, it’s an event and conference hall with accommodation facilities on-site. The 16th-century property is an enormous, magnificent structure just a short drive outside of Cambridge with wide-ranging grounds – perfect for a pleasant and cost-effective stay. The accommodation block has 62 decently sized rooms, with great views over the grounds and lots of natural light. Cooked breakfasts are offered, and a terrace bar and restaurant boast a small but interesting menu with dishes such as braised pheasant and teriyaki salmon.

6. Riverside Inn, for waterfront comfort in Ely

Bed and Breakfast

The cream exterior of Riverside Inn fronted by outdoor dining tables and boats on the River Great Ouse
Courtesy of Riverside Inn / Expedia

Of all the hotels on this list, Riverside Inn in Ely is the furthest from Cambridge. Train access is relatively easy, though – you can hop from one city to the other in 20 minutes and Ely is also well worth exploring with attractions such as Ely Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell’s House. The inn, a 19th-century house with three rooms, is cosy and well-furnished – guests will even find a complimentary fruit basket on arrival. Breakfast can be sent to the rooms and there are plenty of options for dinner in the vicinity.

7. Holiday Inn Cambridge, for lakeside lounging in Impington

Hotel

Indoor pool area at Holiday Inn Cambridge
Courtesy of Holiday Inn Cambridge / Expedia

Steep a bag of Earl Grey into your teacup while gazing out your window at anglers dropping lines into Cawcutts Lake at this stay, 3mi (4.8km) north of the city centre. With an indoor pool, spa and 24-hour lounge, cheap hotels near Cambridge don’t get more relaxing than this. With the little ones preoccupied with their one onsite children’s activities, you’ll be left to sip your tea while it’s actually hot for once.

8. The Waterman, for a cosy, budget-friendly stay in Cambridge

Hotel

Double room with modern artwork at the Waterman
Courtesy of the Waterman / Expedia

You don’t need to be a busker to land a spot on Mitcham’s Corner; just waltz into the Waterman and nab yourself a cosy, contemporary double room. This budget hotel in Cambridge has you covered from sunup to sundown: start your stay with a complimentary breakfast before heading next door for a coffee at No30 Cafe, then come back to the hotel bar for brews and vegetarian-friendly bites – naturally splitting the whole-baked camembert to save money, of course.

Want something really special? Discover our guide to the best luxury hotels in Cambridge and book now on Culture Trip.

Nick Dauk contributed extra reporting to this article.

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