Updated on December 11, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Cambridge has the edge when it comes to beauty, history, and culture. This elegant yet compact city boasts spectacular architecture in the shape of Colleges, chapels, churches, and courtyards combined with green parks, wide-open spaces, and the River Cam, which winds through its heart.
It is also a city for all seasons and a special city, a place where visitors can feel at home. Getting out and about is easy – be it by bicycle or on foot – and there is a range of accommodation to suit all budgets from stylish hotels to countryside bed and breakfasts.

Cambridge has the atmosphere of a market town with many parks and historical buildings, yet it is only 60 miles north of London making it a popular commuter destination.

Listed below are some of the city’s tourism sector statistics, facts, and trends.


  • Cambridge city has over 800 years of history to explore and many of them are free to enter.
  • Cambridge has a strong international profile aided by easy access from London.
  • Its tourism and hospitality sectors have been growing strongly in recent years with visitors increasing by 50% since 2013.
  • The visitor economy is a key economic driver for Cambridge with 8.1 million visitors a year contributing around £835 million to the Cambridge economy and accounting for around 22 % of local employment.
  • The city’s proximity to London has been a great asset but with four trains an hour, it has reinforced the day-trip mentality.
  • The vast majority of its 8.1 million visitors are day visitors.
  • Visitors perceive the city as a day trip destination.
  • Cambridge greatly benefits from the university and its museums, with the highest concentration of renowned collections outside of London.
  • Many of the eight University museums are free, offering talks, trails, and activities for visitors.
  • The Fitzwilliam is the most well-known of the museums, featuring over 500k works of art dating as far back as 2500BC.
  • The visitor economy in Cambridge has been especially hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as it was so reliant on international tourism.
  • The main attractions and things to do in Cambridge can easily be explored on foot and you can walk from one side of the city center to the other in under 20 minutes.


  • Around 3 in 10 visitors to Cambridge visit for a holiday.
  • Holiday visitors to Cambridge are significantly more likely than average to engage in cultural activities, visiting Castles or Historic Houses the most popular.
  • Overseas holiday visitors to Cambridge tend to be older than holiday visitors to the UK in general.
  • They are significantly more likely than average to be visiting in the summer months.
  • Visiting historic parks are the most activities conducted by holiday visitors to Cambridge.
  • About 88% of visitors don’t stay more than a day.
  • The vast majority of the millions of tourists that visit Cambridge are day-trippers; arriving in heavily polluting coaches, large groups get dropped off, spend an hour or two, and then get back onto coaches. 
  • Many visitors tend to experience the other sides of the triangle between Cambridge, York, and Oxford.


  • Tourists get attracted to the city due to its history, worldwide educational reputation, and its overall ambiance.
  • Around 1 in 4-holiday visitors to Cambridge use a seaport as a gateway to the UK and 3 in 5 via the airport.
  • London is the most likely gateway region followed by the South East.
  • Most international visitors come from France, Germany, the USA, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, and The Nordics.
  • Visit Cambridge is the city’s official destination management organization. The website provides ideas and information about events, tours, and experiences.
  • Many visitors see Cambridge as being the University and punting, the city’s current objective is to change this perception by promoting Cambridge and the county.
  • In the 5 years up to 2019/20, International visitors to the Town of Cambridge were more likely to be visiting on Holiday, accounting for 38.5% of all visitors.
  • August is the busiest season for tourism in Cambridge, so lodging and other accommodations may cost more than usual.
  • Historically, international events hosted in Cambridge attract greater delegate numbers than in other destinations; interesting landmarks, museums, and galleries give delegates the opportunity to enjoy a rich and varied social program too.
  • Visit Cambridge and Beyond is the official tourism service for Cambridge and the surrounding areas, responsible for marketing Cambridge to the domestic UK and established European and other international markets and for showcasing the best that Cambridge has to offer.
  • Cambridge is facing an over-tourism challenge, the city is at risk of being “submerged by visitors” especially at peak tourist seasons.
  • The city is a major draw for Chinese tourists, largely because of a famous Chinese poem, Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again, whose first and last lines are inscribed on a granite stone inside the grounds of King’s.
  • Cambridge and Oxford have the largest number of boutique hotel bedrooms.
  • Tourism is one of the UK’s largest and best performing industries (for more UK Tourism statistics, check out our guide here).
  • Around 550,000 students come to the UK for periods under one year to study English as a language.
  • While these visitors comprise less than 1.5% of the total number of visitors to the UK, the £1.2bn that they spend in the country constitutes almost 5.5% of the UK’s total annual tourism earnings.
  • The average expenditure of educational visitors being £2399 per visit, is four times the expenditure of the average visitor to the UK.
  • The UK tourism industry is the fifth largest in the world based on value, contributing £26bn per annum to the UK economy in export earnings.
  • Over the last two years the revenue generated by the UK tourism industry has increased by 15% from £127bn to £146bn.
  • The UK tourism industry has recently signed a sector deal with the government under the Industrial Strategy which aims to make the UK the most competitive tourism destination in Europe by 2025.