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Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

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user reviews of the Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

The Champion of the Thames is another Cambridge pub with lots of character. There is a main room and a smaller side room, where we sat. As a Greene King pub, Abbot & IPA are the regular beers. Guests were Westerham British Bulldog, Moorhouses Premier Bitter & Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde. You can still do a decent crawl along this street.
blue_scrumpy - 27 Jan 2017 20:09
Excellent little pub, always worth visiting when in Cambridge.
Aztecgoat - 23 Nov 2014 09:23
Called in on a return visit at the weekend. Nice little pub with well kept beers and friendly locals. Watched the rugby and had some craic.
Would have stayed longer if there was some food; just snacky stuff please.
LickeyEndBooze - 23 Feb 2014 21:31
We entered with trepidation given it's a Greene King joint, but it's a superior example of that breed thanks to a friendly old time atmosphere and the classic surroundings and we were greeted affably. The ales were just fine - if another brewery got its hands on it, it could approach legendary status.
BoehmBawerk - 22 Aug 2013 18:04
One of the few GK pubs I would visit insofar it's historic character and perhaps the odd unusual (GK) beer - 10 years ago it was Suffolk strong, this times it was the Reserve. Worthy of any pub crawl inclusion even through beer range is a little narrow.
Booze_Allen - 10 Apr 2013 19:15
had gem and cumbria XB on. both seemed pretty well kept. gem particularly good. crowd middle aged and punkishly grumpy ... they all had stranglers tickets. dog sleeping on the floor also surly, looked a bit like steve martin's mutt from 'the jerk'.

the slightly nonplussed atmosphere gives it character, and probably sees off the kiddies, which may be intentional, given the area. and it's fine by me. good little boozer.
benscaro - 15 Jan 2013 16:57
nice old pub inside, not bad ale. we had a lock-in after 11pm
juninhocrunch - 29 May 2012 11:22
Last of the pub crawl. Great name for a pub. Lived up to its billing in the guide book.
Mappiman - 11 Mar 2012 21:33
This comes close to being my absolute favourite pub anywhere. I can't think of anything about it I'd want to change. It might be different, i suppose, if I was one of those who have objections to G.K. beers - but I haven't, and particularly not when they're as well kept as they are here. So - great beer, great atmosphere. This is what pubs used to be like, and what they ought to be like.
earlydrinker - 1 Oct 2011 23:01
Just to clarify my comments as I seem to have upset someone! I have nothing against Greene King or IPA. I was merely reporting the facts - there were only 2 ales on when I visited and one of them was Greene King IPA which isn't exactly an unusual beer in this part of the world. One of the previous reviews mentioned "Proper Job, Tribute and Bath Ale's Gem" hence I was expecting a similar selection...
undeaded - 5 Apr 2011 23:11
It's a small pub without much cellar space and a GK tied house (and always has been). So it's no surprise that it cells mostly GK beer and that one of them is IPA, it is after all GK's best selling brew

I know it's trendy to knock GK but IPA is also as it always has been - a relatively unassuming session bitter. That it should be the main beer on offer in this most traditional pub is as it should be, IMO
dodgy - 22 Mar 2011 10:52
Interesting pub which doesn't look like it has changed much in 100 years or so! - had an open fire on the go when we visited. Bit disapointed with the choice of real ales - only two on and one was Greene King IPA. Place seemed freindly enough and had a lot of character. Worth a visit...
undeaded - 21 Mar 2011 13:18
We visited this pub as part of a crawl around Cambridge. This was one of the more friendly places we visited throughout the day. The bar tender (possibly landlord) was incredibly welcoming. My friends weren't quite sure what they wanted to drink and the bar tender was more than happy to offer a sample to help make our decision. The pub itself was very well kept with a bit of character and the pork stratching were great too. We all commented at the end of the day that this pub was our favourite of the day. Keep up the good work.
Snails - 27 Sep 2010 11:13
I found this pub to be friendly and welcoming, with a good range of cask ales (Proper Job, Tribute and Bath Ales' Gem). I can't comment on the saloon bar but the snug was comfy. The staff were incredibly hospitable and polite and it had the feel of a village pub in the best sense.
kid_b - 26 Sep 2010 12:33
it is said to be a freindly place but i have never found it so. quite the opposite sometimes,even hostile from customers.i normally have one drink and leave.it is so cliquish in there they will not even acknowledge my presence.nothing wrong with me!.
s.bosward - 29 May 2010 17:08
A rainy may bank holiday visit. I dont think the pub has changed since my last visit. Small dark and almost empty but the fire was burning so very welcomign. Not many ales on offer so stuck to the IPA which was as expected for a greedy king ale. Friendly staff so will be visiting again soon.
CambridgeBlue - 4 May 2010 12:53
A top notch pub, one of the best in Cambridge. Well worth a visit if not for the seriously good ales then for the proper pub nature of the place.
hughbertesq - 3 May 2010 18:35
Okells' Old Skipper was great the other day. A top untouched pub (despite being GK) well run by friendly landlord Laurence and his Mississ. Lovely smiley barmaid too (apologies for sexism).
Killian42 - 2 May 2010 15:03
Great to see the place 100% intact and untouched tonight. Interesting guest beer from Okell's this time thus no need to drink Greene King unnecessarily - lol. Interior unchanged, and the community spirit mentioned by previous reviewers is as strong as ever. Lovely pub.
lad_newton - 17 Apr 2010 21:37
Second stop on our Saturday lunchtime crawl. GK pub with guest beers - we had a really nice pint of Okells Old Skipper. Great feel to this pub with nice snug seating built into the walls and low ceilings with dark wooden features. Plenty of interesting pictures to take the eye too. Friendly staff. can see why this has been a GBG pub for a long while....
hairy_hippo - 9 Mar 2010 23:04
This is a lovely pub if you are visiting Cambridge, the landlord is a friendly chap and the locals make a lovely atmosphere. Give it a visit if you are passing through.
mario_2 - 29 Jan 2010 10:43
Such is the skill of this pub that it's the only place I know which can make Greene King IPA taste not just palatable but actually rather pleasant. How on earth do they do it? What an agreeable pint when in good hands. Congratulations on the beer husbandry and for preserving this as the last unspoilt pub in the heart of Cambridge city centre. A real fire keeping out the Baltic temperatures of mid winter was another bonus. And the Jekyll's Gold guest was excellent. Alas, had to depart all too soon for the delights of the Radegund and the Elm Tree's fabulous Shefford Dark Mild. Will be back as soon as I can....
realalemadness - 5 Jan 2010 19:04
This was my favourite pub during my 2 day trip to Cambridge.

Very friendly staff and locals. Stowford Press on draught.

2 coal fires ... brilliant.

It was December 23rd and some of the locals were singing Christmas carols, which made our evening that little bit more enjoyable.

Great pub.


Pat_Bateman - 4 Jan 2010 15:53
Splendidly traditional unspoilt Greene King pub on King Street in the City Centre.

There's 2 small wood-pannelled simply furnished low-ceilinged bars either side of the central entrance. The pub sign and etched windows feature a rower.

This pub feels like a true community local and there were a small band of loyal regulars occupying the public bar on the left on my recent Wednesday afternoon visit.

In contrast to the reports of previous reviewers, there weren't any guest beers on when I visited, but both the GK IPA and the St Edmunds Ale ( priced at 1.99p and 3.00p respectively ) were in fine form. The pub is a CAMRA GBG regular.

As other people have commented this is an "authentic pub" experience and, despite the limited beer range, you should try to do this one when on a city centre crawl.


JohnBonser - 10 Aug 2009 13:24
Superb atmosphere following on from the St Radegund. A lively sing-song was in full swing on my arrival and the GKIPA was as good as it ever tastes. The same friendly landlord still runs this hostelry and indeed was participating in tonight's musical entertainment! The Champion remains unchanged in any way since last time I was here (a year or so back) and although Gkipa is not my favourite ale this is one of my first-visited and favourite Cambridge pubs.

Thanks for the Spanish Liqueur which I enjoyed as well as the beer. And, in the landlord's own words, Luther has left the building!
lad_newton - 28 Feb 2009 21:30
Called in on a recent visit to Cambridge. Took a little bit of finding but worth it in the end. No a fan of GK but like others the guest was fine...and no doubt the GK is too.
LickeyEndBooze - 11 Aug 2008 18:18
Friendly GK pub with a true guest. The staff were keen and knowledgable about ale and pubs in the area.
Rod_Hariga - 1 Jul 2008 20:40
A surprisingly good G/K traditional pub. Knowledgeable and passionate landlord and barman. Good to hear that they turned down a G/K refurb offered to them. The interior is great and looks original. IPA, Abbott, Alefresco and a genuine guest of Brains Reverend James. We were advised that they always serve genuine guest ale. Many of the previous guest clips are showing around the bar area. They certainly had a lot of local knowledge on the other pubs. A worthy regular in the GBG and certainly one to recommend.
Love_good_ale - 29 Jun 2008 02:26
Very nice find although a little small. Friendly landord who gave very good tips on what pub to head for next for decent ale choice. Visited saturday evening and had a well kept pint of fireside and some free cheese.
A very good choiuce if you are around the king street area of town.
CambridgeBlue - 12 May 2008 12:05
GK beers IPA, Abbot, but also Fireside - a new one to me. Quite busy and chatty Sat pm, studenty clientele. Pleasant & comfortable enough but where were those guest beers?
trainman - 28 Jan 2008 12:00
Proper pub, and just far enough away from the city centre to retain a fine 'local' atmosphere. Thankfully the place offers a couple of guest beers as an alternative to the Greene King stuff.
rpadam - 8 Dec 2007 18:57
Pleasant, lively and wecoming, GK ales but the guest was Tom Wood Bomber County, a strong characterful brew. Shrouded in scaffolding last night we feared the worst but open and flourishing. Football on tv but not to the detriment of conversation etc. Certainly worthgy of inclusion in any Cambridge crawl.
Maldenman - 4 Nov 2007 15:14
Definitely the most 'authentic' pub in city centre Cambridge, being somewhat less of a tourist trap than the 'RAF' pub. Good beer, varied clientele and a cosy, traditional interior.
Carlurmston - 3 Nov 2007 10:40
Definitely one of the best 'proper' pubs in the city centre. Friendly, two bars, well-kept beer although it is a GK house. I'd hate to visit Cambridge without dropping in for a couple.
Drinking_Bull - 9 Jul 2007 17:19
This was a lovely friendly pub, and although I was unsure what I would drink in a Greene King house, I had a Belhaven beer and enjoyed it. Would love to visit when it opens so that I can wander round as it was too packed to be able to look round properly.

gillhalfpint - 15 Apr 2007 23:55
I had a brief but very positive experience of this little gem, when it was packed to the rafters due to the nearby firework display on Midsummer Common. Excellent service was given notwithstanding this - the landlord caught my eye on entering and took my order from afar, thereby avoiding me having to push past the crowd to get served. Good man.
It seemed very friendly, populated by a mixed bunch, not only local drinkers. The beer is necessarily-limited as it is a GK house, but they were offering the rather more unusual "LBW" ale which was more interesting than the usual bland GK options. Well kept too.
Traditional is the order of the day, with plenty of genuine character and a warm welcome to enhance it. Cosy in Winter evenings.
If I lived here, which sadly I don't, I would make this a regular stop-off point.
TWG - 7 Nov 2006 11:08
This is my new favorite pub. The inside is really charming--old traditional style decor, but what makes it so great are the people that frequent it. I went here for a birthday pub crawl and started chatting with some people...as soon as they knew it was my birthday I got a serenede from the entire pub! In addition, some people were singing folk songs--we all had a grand time. The atmosphere was realy lovely, I didn't want to leave. Wonderful people here. I will go back again and again.
anonymous - 29 Apr 2006 10:05
I was trying to think what to say -but Dodgy's said it all. I agree with every word (and I've been drinking in Cambridge, on and off, for 40 years).
earlydrinker - 25 Apr 2006 19:14
It's definitely the only trad pub in the centre of town that has stayed exactly as it always was - I've been drinking in this city for 20 years and the Champion is an unchanging beacon of real pubness. Excellent beer, friendly staff and clientele, nice change of pace in the two small bars

Agree there are a lot of decent trad pubs in Cambridge as a whole but not many left in the centre
dodgy - 17 Apr 2006 21:08
A perfect no nonsense trad. English pub. No food, no music, no machines just excellent beer. I doubt if the pub has changed in the last 50 years.
kingoftheworld - 24 Mar 2006 15:57
Excellent St Patrick's Day atmosphere in the Champion last Friday. Started session with a Guinness, then went on to just about the best-kept Greene King IPA you'll encounter in Cambridge. Unchanged since last visit - Worth a detour.
lad_newton - 20 Mar 2006 11:15
"a fine traditional pub in a city where, so I'm told, there aren't too many"

Crikey. If you can't find a bundle of good pubs in Cambridge, you need a website like this! So not all of them have original wood panelling and horse brasses, but there's something for everyone here.

The Champion is a smashing pub. A wider selection of beer would make it smashing-er, but the Greene King Abbot is OK by me.
AshingdonMan - 27 Jan 2006 18:57
Little to add to previous comments by others - this is a fine traditional pub in a city where, so I'm told, there aren't too many. Just good beer, warm welcome and friendly locals. Well worth finding
JohnBonser - 27 Jan 2006 13:36
The Champion has always had a fine reputation for good beer, and nothing much has changed over the years. A real gem of a genuine English pub.
anonymous - 20 Sep 2005 16:26
Delightfully tatty old pub, very small. Most of the clientele seemed to have ... err, experienced life's ups and downs, and I suspect some of them had this pub as their second home. The usual Greene King stuff is on, I went for a bottled Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale (vintage 2000, for those interested).
Sigmund - 28 May 2005 23:56
A gem of a town centre/back street traditional local.
Al_Murray - 16 May 2005 13:52
This is an excellent place for a quiet drink, well-kept beer, friendly locals, and a fantastic interior.
mikewmiller - 2 Nov 2004 17:40
Small and quiet, but a good place to find a good pint of beer - milds included.
Phil - 2 Sep 2004 17:39
A very fine pub, whose landlords really take pride in the quality of their beer. A quiet place to relax with a great pint of Abbot.
Ben Woodward - 17 Jun 2004 01:44
This is one of the last few traditional pubs in the centre of town. Wood pannelling throughout the two main drinking areas one of which is a cosy snug with illuminated alcove featuring caricatures of locals. Signed sports photos adorn the walls. I had a very good half pint of Greene King IPA, and noticed Abbot and Batemans XXXB on handpump. No music heard during my visit but noticed an array of 1960s/1970s CDs. A great pub to include in a centre-of-town crawl.
Lee - Lee.A.Newton@jobcentreplus.gov.uk - 6 May 2003 16:50

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