A day at the Mill Road Winter Fair

From green pastures to a vibrant community – Street Food galore on the first Saturday of December. It is hard to imagine, that not so long ago Mill Road was on the edge of town; green pastures instead of lines of Victorian terraced houses. Maybe it isn’t hard to imagine at all if we look at what is happening at the moment in Cambridge. The green pastures on the edge of town e.g. Trumpington meadows are filled in again with houses, because of a shortage of places to live.


The edge of town on the East side of Cambridge used to be the Mill Road Cemetery, which was created in Victorian times as an overflow area for the 13 main parishes in the area. An Interesting fact is that these parishes only own their share of the cemetery. The Bishop of Ely owns the paths and avenues. Expansion of the railway network drove the building of housing for railway workers to the East side of the railway line and the majority of the houses were built in the ten years after 1885. Some people have described this change in those days as an eyesore, but today you can find ‘far’ away from the main tourist attractions of the colleges, a  vibrant community, which organises a fantastic yearly street festival on the first Saturday of December.


About the Mill Road Winter Fair

Although the Mill Road Winter Fair is a Christmas Fair all about uniting and celebrating the community, you could easily think it is a Food Festival. Since the start of the fair in 2005, it has grown from strength to strength. Visitors from far afield make their way to Mill Road these days and have added it to their calendar of yearly events. The closure of Mill Road for this event has really made a huge difference as visitors can now enjoy the day without having to worry about the traffic and to be honest it makes enjoying the day so much better as there is a lot going on in the street itself from a Carnival parade to people roaming around dressed up and wearing their own created hat with the chance of winning a price  to buskers and dance groups.



How to prepare for & what to do on this magnificent day

1. Take good walking shoes

2. Take a good sense of humour

3. Bring a good appetite (don’t have breakfast)

4. Make sure you have time on your hands as it is full day out

5. Don’t forget the after Fair parties in the pubs where musicians play on an impromptu basis

6. Eat small portions of the best thing here is to enjoy the array and diversity of food


The Mill Road Winter Fair should definitely be in your diary, if you are a local, from further afield or from abroad. It is certainly a reason to head off to Cambridge for the day or for a Foodie weekend.


What is Mill Road like?

Have you ever been to Mill Road? What to compare it with? With the diversity of shops, nationalities, great pubs in which many of them you will find at certain times of the week local bands, you could compare it to the Jordaan in Amsterdam. A down to earth area lived in by the locals with great pubs and local music.


See you at the Mill Road Winter Fair!



Gerla de Boer

Gerla de Boer is the founder of the award-winning Cambridge Food Tour in Cambridge, UK. She is a globetrotter foodie and always keen to get under the skin of a city or country she visits. She likes to get off the beaten track to get to know the latest food, fine local produce, visit their local markets and check out the hot places to eat in town. These experiences she takes back to Cambridge to create amazing food tours and events. Connect with Gerla on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram