From £212
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OVERVIEW

This handsome hotel, the oldest in Cambridge, looks over Parker's Piece by the city centre and offers understated luxury in a location heaving with cultural significance. Its stylish bistro, Parker's Tavern, is one of the most popular places in Cambridge to eat. Book one of the light-filled bedrooms that come with views of the common.


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Rooms available from £212 per night

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Your expert reviewer

Mary Novakovich
Travel journalist
An award-winning travel journalist based in Hertfordshire, Mary writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Times. She is also the author of My Family and Other Enemies: Life and Travels in Croatia's Hinterland, which was shortlisted for the 2023 Edward Stanford Travel Book of the Year.

OUR REVIEW

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

The hotel sits on the southeastern corner of Parker's Piece, just a couple of minutes' walk from the Grand Arcade shopping centre and less than 10 minutes from the market square. Cambridge's main railway station is about a mile away and it's only a few minutes to the zoology and anthropology museums. It's surrounded by the bars and restaurants of Regent Street as well as the greenery of Parker's Piece.

By car: The hotel is a 2-hour drive from London and a 1 hour 45-minute drive from Birmingham.

By train: Trains from Kings Cross to Cambridge take around 1 hour, trains from Birmingham take around 3 hours. The hotel is a 5-minute taxi ride from the station. Book trains to Cambridge.

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THE LOOK AND FEEL

Everything about the University Arms exudes a cosy bookishness that's sumptuous and full of style. The library-like lounge is the epitome of this: walls of bookshelves, wood panelling, an enormous fireplace, comfy chairs and an atmosphere that says: "Sink into a chair, grab a book and just relax". The bar is sheer sophistication and a source of excellent cocktails.

THE FACILITIES

Staff are friendly, professional and cheerful, with an affable concierge on hand to organise dinners, activities and tours. There's a large, well-equipped gym, as well as several opulent function rooms and a ballroom that's much in demand for weddings. The library is the setting for regular talks with local authors.

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Fitness centre
  • Library
  • Free bikes
  • Free Wi-Fi

BED AND BATH

Edwardian-meets-the-Fifties in the 192 rooms and suites, where the décor is plush yet streamlined, and the walls are painted in Cambridge blue or a suitably subtle shade. There's a supply of books and the bathrooms are full-on Edwardian, with black and white tiles and some with roll-top baths. Some have balconies or roof terraces.

Room types: Cosy Room, Classic Room, Superior Room, Suite

Key amenities: ensuite shower or bath with complimentary toiletries, hairdryer, TV, Wi-Fi

FOOD AND DRINK

Decked out like an opulent boating clubhouse, Parker's Tavern does creative and delicious things to British classics and ingredients - Norfolk seafood, Fenland produce and Cambridgeshire farmed meat. Standout dishes include the nut brown buttered sole with samphire and tiny Norfolk shrimps. Chef Tristan Welch's take on spaghetti bolognese has become a cult classic.

Parker's Tavern: brasserie-style, dishes include Norfolk seafood and suckling pig. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mains from £16.

The Bar: drinks and cocktails.

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