By Felicity Moxon

Cambridge is known for its famous university, which is one of the oldest in the world, but there’s more to this beautiful city than brainy students.

Less than an hour on the train from London, it’s the perfect destination for a UK city break.

We checked into University Arms, Cambridge’s oldest hotel, which was recently given an £80 million makeover.

It’s also home to Parker’s Tavern, one of the city’s best bars and restaurants, which is worth visiting even if you’re not staying at the hotel.

University Arms Cambridge lob


Although this is a city centre hotel, the grand entrance at University Arms Cambridge makes you feel as if you’ve arrived at a country estate.

We felt immediately welcomed as the porters greeted us at the door to help with our bags.

As we walked in, the smell of the hotel was the first thing we noticed; an incredible scent of Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Geranium and Sweet Orange. In a nice touch, we later learned you can buy the fragrance for your diffuser, so you can get that hotel feeling at home.

University Arms Cambridge library


Each corner of this boutique hotel is stylish – and you’ll definitely want to dress up while you’re here.

Decor is a mix of old school Edwardian glamour and modern furnishings, with wood panelling, low ottomans, stained glass windows and bespoke writing desks.

The grand lobby is modelled on the halls of the Cambridge University colleges. Big leather sofas and open fireplaces adorn the hotel library. There is even a ballroom, complete with chandeliers.

University Arms Cambridge bedroom


There are 192 chic rooms at University Arms Cambridge, ranging from Cosy Doubles to Superior rooms, and a Terrace Suite with a balcony which overlooks Parkers Piece green, the birthplace of football.

Beds are comfy with quirky headboards. Larger rooms come with cosy armchairs and 42-inch flatscreen TVs.

Bathrooms are tiled in marble and come with heated floors, rainfall showers and an amazing selection of D.R Harris & Co. toiletries. If you want a room with a freestanding bath, book one of the two Suites.

Cambridge University Arms hotel
Credit: Cambridge University Arms


University Arms Cambridge is home to chef Tristan Welch’s Parker’s Tavern, which has quickly established itself as one of the hottest places in town for a stylish dinner and drinks.

Sip cocktails and people watch at the bar before heading through to the grand dining room, which serves a range of afternoon teas in the day. Picnics in the park are also available.

We visit for a delicious dinner, and try the Tempura Courgettes and Goat’s Cheese baked in Nettles to start (both £8). This was followed by the Roast Rib of Beef cooked over coals for two (£60).

Pudding highlights include the Duke of Cambridge Tart (£7.50) and the Cambridge Burnt Cream (£8), a take on a Crème Brûlée. If you’re visiting in a group, try the Ripture Rapture, an eruption of ice creams, parfaits, sauces and sweets for up to six people (£38).


You can’t come to Cambridge and not go punting on the river. It’s one of the best ways to see the city. Rutherford’s offer some amazing experiences from cream tea to gin and champagne punts. Another great way to get around is by bike.

See the famous Corpus Clock, mooch around the many museums (Cambridge has the most outside of London) and stroll amongst lush greenery in the 40-acre Botanic Gardens.

Cambridge University Arms bicycles
Credit: Felicity Moxon


We loved hiring the beautiful University Arms’ blue bikes to cycle round the city. They are free to use for guests.


A luxury hotel, which is the perfect place for exploring the city, we can’t recommend University Arms Cambridge enough. From the chic decor to the food – and the dreamiest of bath tubs – it’s a 10/10 stay.

Rooms start from £140 a night

Book a stay at Cambridge University Arms here

Photos courtesy of University Arms Cambridge

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