Scholars café bar at the YHA Cambridge


YHA – Hidden City Gem With New Looks – I hope you had a great day yesterday on father’s day and that you spoiled your father very much. I was travelling back from a short break to France and unfortunately missed the opening party of the YHA in Cambridge. In the Scholars café bar they had live music, a BBQ and on tap was the Cambridge Brewhouse’s Boat house bitter. I am sure you’re wondering where the Scholars café bar is. A new kid on the block? It’s not actually, but it’s one of those well-kept secrets. Not much longer though!

YHA Cambridge scholar cafe menu

The Scholars café bar is just a stone throw away from the station and Parkers piece. It’s part of the YHA Cambridge, which has been in Station road for quite a few years. The YHA Cambridge has just undergone a £1.4m refurbishment. It’s back and better than ever, ready to welcome tourists to one of the oldest university cities in England. One of my favourite parts of their funky vintage interior is the amazing mural on one of the walls of the Scholar café bar of the people of Cambridge, who made our city so famous.

YHA Cambridge

Although the new Scholars café bar is open throughout the day, as a house guest you can prepare your own meal in their communal kitchen. I quite like that idea as I prefer small breakfasts when I travel so I can indulge in lunch and dinner. The YHA Cambridge has increased their capacity to 122 beds including four doubles and 11 rooms all of which are now en-suite.

So if you’re planning to come to visit Cambridge soon for a short break and like to stay in a central location, but don’t want to pay over the moon, then the central located YHA Cambridge is a perfect place to stay. It might not be the first place, that springs to mind though. Or maybe it does as you might be a regular guest of the YHA, but this place really has taken me by surprise!

YHA Cambridge activities

I have to admit, that I was surprised by an invite from the YHA to check out their new look of their Cambridge location. When I think of youth hostels I think of big dorms with rowdy guests. Well, that might have been in the past, but as many things in life, the YHA have moved on too. They have some amazing properties on their portfolio from small B&B’s to swanky hotels such as the Qbic, which is on my bucket list to stay in when I’m next in London. Although they still have dorms, they now have now rooms too. So now you have the best of both ways; good locations, communal kitchens and good rates!

One of their nicest properties are Ilam Hall, it’s a fantastic Victorian Gothic house in beautiful grounds and only a stone’s throw from the famous Dovedale stepping stones. It’s not just our rural ones that trump many 5* hotels, though. For location, you can’t beat Ambleside right on Lake Windermere or London St Pancras which, from the right room, provides stunning views of the station and hotel straight opposite.

YHA cambridge station road

A very exciting project is the Eden Project hostel and campsite that they’re opening up very shortly in coordination with the Project. With that, Pen Y Pas’s massive refurb and a new Brighton hostel on its way at the end of the year it’s sure to be another exciting one for them here!

I am very pleased, that we will be working together with the YHA on our walking food tours programme, both scheduled and private tours. I was very happy to welcome my first YHA guest the other day on the Classic Cambridge Food Tour. This German London based female traveller was raving about the YHA. She is quite a globetrotter and stays always in a YHA, even in Australia and she stayed in the UK in some amazing stately homes owned by the YHA too.

YHA Cambridge terrace

The YHA in Cambridge is just around the corner from the railway station and a 15-minute walk from the city centre, accommodation at this backpackers’ hostel gives you easy access to the colleges, museums and art galleries. It’s perfectly situated for the foodie traveller too with FoodPark, which is the weekly street food market, right on their doorstep and the restaurant scene in Regent Street and the multicultural food scene of Mill Road just minutes away. The food scene of Kings Parade, Peas Hill and the market square is only 10 minutes walk.

I am a big supporter of travelling sustainably and responsible travel and was pleased to find out, that the YHA does more than just operating youth hostels.The YHA is a non-for profit organisation. It’s a charity so when you stay with them you are helping them to keep their prices affordable, maintain their hostels in beautiful locations and give as many young people as possible a chance to enrich their lives. And you have been helping them do this since they started.

They are stronger than ever thanks to the continued support of all the people who stay with them, ate with them, and volunteered or fundraised for the YHA. Thanks to each and every one of their guests they can carry on putting 100% of everything they earn straight back into YHA and continue to offer everyone the chance to experience what they do.

YHA Cambridge scholar cafe food

How can you help?

It’s easy. Stay with the YHA. And while you are There buy a coffee, a slice of homemade cake or a delicious dinner. Become a member, volunteer, donate, fundraise or just tell your friends.
Whether you help THE YHA to run or maintain their unique hostels, donate once a month or once a year, or cycle, run, swim or walk, any help is more than welcome. And then tell your friends and family. The more people that stay with them, the more they can do. So share your YHA photos and your fun stories and experiences whenever you visit.
Ways you can help:




Become a member


YHA Cambridge interior

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