I’ve visited Cambridge once before and fell in love with the architecture and vibe of the city, so I knew I’d return one day. This time staying two nights at University Arms hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
We lucked out with the weather and enjoyed punting on the River Cam and made use of the cute Dutch bicycles available to all guests. There’s no better way to explore a city than by bike and when in Cambridge, do as the Cantabrigians do!
University Arms is the oldest hotel in Cambridge, originally built in 1834 as a coaching inn. Beautifully rebuilt in 2018 by architect, John Simpson and interiors by Martin Brudnizki (of Annabel’s and the Ivy), it’s located on the historic Regent Street right next to Parker’s Piece common.
There are 192 rooms ranging from cosy, classic, superior to suites. My favourite being room 910 with a lovely terrace and the most amazing bathroom which occupies one of the turquoise turrets, of which there are three. Make sure to request one of these rooms when booking!
All rooms come with Hypnos beds, 300-thread count sheets, tea, coffee and D.R. Harris toiletries in the bathrooms. Fine dark chocolate and champagne awaited us on arrival, a very nice touch!
We were lucky to have experienced two different rooms and stayed in the Hawking Suite on our second night. The named suites inspired by local scholars are each filled with bookshelves. The light-filled bedroom fitted with a sofa and the perfect reading nook in front of the Regency-style curved bow windows is perfect for all book lovers.
Standard rooms at University Arms start from £178.
Click here to book.
Designed to look like a college dining hall, Parker’s Tavern is an all-day British brasserie serving comfort food. We thoroughly enjoyed dinner here on our first night. We opted for the hand-dived scallops and homemade burrata for starters, followed by Parker’s classics, the nut brown buttered sole and their daily changing pot pie.
For dessert, you can create your own ice cream sundae with toppings like caramel popcorn and peanut brittle or go for the Cambridge burnt cream (what the French call crème brȗlée). End the meal with a nightcap at Parker’s Tavern bar.
Due to the current pandemic, there is currently no buffet but a “Build your own Breakfast” served at your table. You have a choice from a selection of juices, fruit, yoghurt, cereals, pastries and cooked dishes like a Full English. Served in Parker’s Tavern, opt for a seat in the bar area for that relaxed home feel.
Pizza Punting Experience
Date night on the River Cam can be arranged by the hotel with Rutherford’s. We had the most wonderful time cruising along the river enjoying sourdough lobster pizzas from Parker’s Tavern and a bottle of champagne. Who needs Venice when Cambridge has its own Bridge of Sighs!
Exploring the neighbourhood
As you step out the doors of University Arms, you’ll find cafes, restaurants and shops within easy reach and just less than a 15-minute walk to the River Cam. Explore either by bike or foot and marvel at the 16th-century collages and chapels along the way.
For coffee lovers, head to Bould Brothers Coffee.
Fitzbillies for their famously sticky Chelsea bun. They’ve been making them since 1920!
For a quick lunch, head to the markets for some Nigerian fare from Africfood.
Jack’s Gelato for some seriously good gelato churned daily.