From riverside relaxing to village rambling and historical landmarks, Cambridge is famed for boat races, academics in old-fashioned robes, and of course, dog-friendly drinking holes. Step back in time and let us give you a classic English education as we wrap up the very best that Cambridge, and it surrounding area, has to offer for thirsty hounds and their human companions.
1. Champion of the Thames
The clue’s in the name – The Champion of the Thames was the Cambridge pub that received the most votes in the 2016 Dog-friendly Pub Awards. Its name hails back to the 19th Century when an oarsman who won a rowing race on the Thames moved into a house on Kings Street. Because of his rowing success, he liked to be address as “Champion of the Thames” – and the name has stuck. Visiting dogs can expect a warm welcome from the staff and water bowls are provided for thirsty pooches. Treats are even available for the best behaved pooches. There’s only bar snacks served here if you’re feeling peckish but you can enjoy the Champion’s finger food in the bar with your furry friend at your side while you both warm yourselves by the fire. Once you’ve sampled the delights of this top Cambridge pub, head across the road to any one of city centre green spaces, including Midsummer and Jesus Green, where you can walk along the banks of the Cam.
2. The Chequers
Situated away from the hustle and bustle of central Cambridge, village charmer The Chequers is the perfect spot to escape the city. Sourcing their seasonal food menu from the local area, they pride themselves on being a traditional community pub that welcomes families and dogs. The Chequers’ Sunday carvery is worth sampling. Wash it down with one of their well-kept ales, while your dog can chill under your table. The team are very relaxed about dogs in the pub, all they ask is they don’t annoy other customers or disrupt their famed food service. Your dog will get a warm woofy greeting from Snoop the Border Collie regular who can usually be spotted playing in the garden, where there are benches, tables with umbrellas so you can enjoy the outdoor sun trap while your four legged friend plays and sniffs or enjoys the shade. The garden does back directly onto a small car parking area which is right next the road, so if your dog is prone to wandering off, you might want to keep them on lead whilst enjoying the garden. Once you’re full, you can walk off your lunch in the local Cambridgeshire countryside.
3. The Haymakers
Roll up to The Haymakers on a sunny afternoon and your pooch will be given a warm welcome by resident Lurcher-Greyhound-something-mix Benson, who’ll make sure you get a water bowl and introduce you to the whole dog-squad of locals. On any given day you’ll find more than a dozen dogs dozing and enjoying the company of their humans as they relax with a pint or one of the pub’s famous pizzas. Owners are simply asked that they keep dogs on lead whilst in and around the pub as it can get very busy due to the popularity of the pub grub. The dog ‘bathroom’ is situated under a bushy tree to the back of the car park and poo-bags are supplied if your pooch is caught short. On colder days the fire will soon warm you up and if you’ve been roving with ‘Rover’ in the nearby recreation ground or Stourbridge Common isn’t too far away. And if you’re stopping in to whet your whistle after a walk you needn’t worry about muddy boots as it’s a tiled floor.
4. Ancient Shepherds
Recently refurbished, the Ancient Shepherds is a community-owned pub flanked by 16th Century cottages. With enough garden space around the back of the building for a dog to play in, you can enjoy your pint at one of the garden tables. Head back indoors and there’s a variety of spaces to hole up and while away the hours with your dog at your side. The only space that’s dog-free is the restaurant area at the back of the pub which is reserved for human diners only. You can eat with your dog by your side in any of the other areas, while your dog chills under your table, or begs for a few scraps from your plate of delicious food. With Ditton Meadows, Stourbridge Common and the River Cam towpath all within easy walking distance, you and your dog will be spoilt for post-lunch stroll choices.
5. Fort St George
With sections of their premises dating back to the 16th Century, Fort St George is more than just a patriotically named English pub. Set on the picturesque banks of the river Cam, this is the perfect dog walking (or punting!) pit stop. The pub has wooden floored and tiled in the snug area, so don’t worry too much about your muddy boots if you’ve been for a wet ramble on Midsummer Common, Jesus Green or the banks of the River Cam. The picturesque river tow path backs directly onto the pub’s patio. Here you can soak up the summer rays while your tired dog enjoys the shade provided by the water-side Weeping Willows. During winter you can warm yourself by the fire in the snug while your dog grabs a nap. For hungry humans, enjoy a plate of Bangers and Mash or one of several burger-combo options. Well behaved dogs are allowed in the in the bar, but there’s a dog-free zone in the restaurant which is reserved for dining.
6. The Clarendon Arms
Dogs have free range of city centre pub the Clarendon Arms there’s no area that’s off-limits to four-pawed friends – the only rule is that they should be kept on lead at all times. If you want to eat, you’re best off booking ahead, and when you arrive your taste buds will be treated to one of the very best pub fares in the area. Tuck into a delicious Sunday roast or fish and chips, wash it down with one of their well-kept ales or a thirst quenching glass of wine. After you’ve supped your full, stroll down the historic streets of Cambridge and soak up the architecture of the famous colleges on your way to the banks of the Cam, or enjoy a run around in Parker’s Piece, where it’s thought the game of football was invented, or Christ’s Pieces where you can follow in the footsteps of poet John Milton.
Have you sipped and slurped at one of Cambridge’s top dog-friendly pubs? Or has your favourite Cambridge drinking hole been missed off the list? Let us know in the comments below!