A Brief History of Quayside Cambridge


No visit to Cambridge would be complete without a visit to Quayside. Situated next to the oldest river crossing in Cambridge, the former docks are now a vibrant centre of life, with many bars, restaurants and cafes close by.

A Brief history of Quayside

Quayside began as a Roman river crossing over 2000 years ago, marking the intersection of the River Cam as it flows north and the Roman road, which connected Colchester in the south-east to Chester in the north west.

Following the retreat of the Romans, Cambridge became a thriving market town.The area now known as Quayside were the main docks for merchants transporting cargo though the River Cam. The oldest pub in the city is located next to Quayside, and first opened its doors to merchant traders in 1608.

Magdalene College Redevelopment

Quayside sits opposite Magdalene college, which owns the land and many of the buildings around Quayside. Following the redevelopment of the area in 1989, a few new features were added to acknowledge Magdalene college. The college motto ‘Garde ta Foy’ has been carved into a large block and an intentionally unflattering statue of Benedict Spinola was placed next to the river.

Quayside Cambridge

Quayside today

Quayside is now the centre for punting in Cambridge and home to a number of small and large punting companies. Anyone walking through the Quayside area who gives the slightest indication that they might consider going punting will be asked numerous times to join a tour. Quayside prices vary depending on the company and availability, so it’s alway best to book online to secure the best prices, which are often 50% cheaper than buying in person. 

Aside from punting, Quayside is home to a range of restaurants and bars to cater for any occasion, such as the River Bar & Steakhouse for those looking for somewhere special to Las Iguanas for somewhere a bit more casual. 

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