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 / Unsplash
Photo of Callum Davies
25 November 2020

With its antiquated buildings and pristine college greens, Cambridge can come across as a very expensive destination to those traveling on a budget. Thankfully, this isn’t the case – with a huge student populus, lots of independent businesses and good transport links, Cambridge is a great place to pass through on a shoestring. There are plenty of places to stay around this university town that don’t sacrifice comfort for affordability – here are some of our top picks.

YHA Cambridge

Budget Hotel, Hostel
Map View
YHA Cambridge
Courtesy of YHA Cambridge / Expedia
For the real backpacker experience, YHA Cambridge is the way to go. It’s a stone’s throw from the train station, as well as being tantalisingly close to the Botanic Gardens. The rooms are, as you’d expect, fairly spartan, ranging from full dorms with bunks to single rooms. There’s a cafe-style eating area with indoor and outdoor seating, serving breakfast and lunch, and there are laundry facilities and even a garden on-site.

The Red Lion

Budget Hotel
Map View
Red Lion
Courtesy of The Red Lion / Expedia
A 10-minute train ride south of Cambridge, the Red Lion is in Whittlesford – a tranquil, attractive option, which offers peace and comfort at a reasonable rate. Originally a coaching inn dating back to the 14th century, it is now an 18-room hotel with a pub-style restaurant, a spacious lobby with a fireplace, cooked-to-order breakfasts and lots of garden space around the perimeter. If you don’t mind being a little further from the action, this is a great choice.
Everything you need to know

A & B Guest House

Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse
Map View
A & B Guest House
Courtesy of A and B Guest House / Expedia
With very close proximity to the train station, A&B Guest House has 10 spacious ensuite rooms complete with smart TVs, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and a dining area where breakfast is served. It takes around 20 minutes to reach the city centre, and the guest house is just far enough away from the station to avoid any noise pollution. The small size means that a stay there has a very personal touch – guests can expect to be very well looked after.
Everything you need to know

Rectory Farm

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Rectory Farm
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 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.
Everything you need to know

The Blue Cow

Budget Hotel, Hotel
Map View
The Blue Cow
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 almost as a cottage, it offers complete privacy while also offering all the comforts you’d expect from a larger hotel. The cottage has kitchen facilities but breakfast is also offered, and the Duchess pub – a short walk away – serves dinner and lunch. If you prefer privacy, there’s nowhere better in the area.
Everything you need to know

Why Book With Culture Trip?

  • Free cancellation

    In these uncertain times, cancel or change for free on select properties.

  • Price-match guarantee

    Find a better price on your booking and we’ll match it. Simple.

  • Unbiased & trustworthy

    Book from recommendations handpicked by travel experts.

  • Crown and Punchbowl

    Budget Hotel
    Map View
    Crown and Punchbowl
    Courtesy of Crown and Punchbowl / Expedia
    Like the Blue Cow, the Crown and Punchbowl is in a village on Cambridge’s outskirts – Horningsea. The hotel itself is a five-room inn with a gastro pub beneath. Cambridge can be reached within 10-15 minutes by car, or you can spend an hour tracing the River Cam into the heart of the city. The hotel’s outdoor terrace is an appealing spot to sit for a drink, and the pub offers hearty meals, including the cooked breakfast guests are offered in the morning.
    Everything you need to know

    Madingley Hall

    Budget Hotel
    Map View
    Madingley Hall
    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 hall 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 boasts a small but interesting menu with dishes such as braised pheasant and teriyaki salmon.
    Everything you need to know

    Riverside Inn

    Bed and Breakfast
    Map View
    Riverside Inn
    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.
    These recommendations were updated on November 25, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.