I’ll be upfront here from the start. This may be the first time I’m featuring University Arms in Cambridge on FFG, but it most certainly won’t be the last. I have fallen, hard. Full disclosure – I’ve always been in love with Cambridge. Just a short trip out of London (50 minutes by fast train), this university town has always held a special place in my heart. There is a magic here, found in every step taken over each and every worn cobblestone. There is an air of greatness, an academic edge, if you will. You find yourself easily imagining that the young gentleman sitting next to you in the pub might be the first to cure cancer or write the next great novel. Ok, that’s me totally romanticising it and also me completely regretting not attending Cambridge so many years ago myself. But, these are the thoughts already rattling around in my brain as I approach this beautiful city. However, mixing that with a stay at the beautiful and luxurious University Arms, makes this a destination that’s made even more majestic, something I didn’t even think was possible.
The University Arms may be the newest hotel opening in Cambridge, but its building history dates back to 1834. In its old life, the hotel was a coaching inn. Fast forward nearly two hundred years and £80 million and you have the beautiful manicured building that now occupies a sizeable chunk of one corner of Parker’s Piece. It has found its feet as the picture of decadent perfection, in a new century, with three archways inviting in guests of the hotel, visitors looking for tasty cocktails and foodies willing to discover the new chef in town with a true talent for creating comfort food. For my fleeting visit, I was in town to experience all of the above.
With 192 rooms, all with names honouring famous Cambridge Alumni, the University Arms is sizeable, yet has the charm of a boutique establishment. The hotel staff are charismatic and attentive. The rooms are all unique and showcase features that are reflective of the community in which it sits. Each room comes with a book collection featuring local authors, a desk designed to inspire creativity and the famous Cambridge Blue dotted throughout. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind where this hotel is situated. There is a city pride here that is unprecedented. Even the public bathrooms have a soundtrack of a man reading Winnie the Pooh. I swear, there’s delightfulness found in every corner.
While guests will come from all parts of the world to stay in this hotel, it’s clear it will also become a local haunt for those seeking out delicious cocktails and a good meal. Parker’s Tavern, the in house restaurant and bar, takes up a large portion of the ground floor. From the library, serving a most memorable afternoon tea, to the restaurant in the back, with a beautiful view of Parker’s Piece, there’s a little something here for everyone. For our time at University Arms, we got to experience it all. I can confirm that the burger is indeed order worthy and will have everyone in the restaurant staring as it makes its debut at the table. It’s large and in charge and you will struggle to wrap your lips around it, but no burger is a real burger without a bit of a mess. Tristan Welch has showcased he is a chef deserving of great attention and is presenting a menu that will surely shakeup the culinary scene in Cambridge.
In short, this is a place that should be on your radar. If you’re a Londoner, book it for a weekend retreat. Throw a bag over your shoulder, hop the train, book an afternoon punting and rest your head on a University Arms pillow that night. You’ll come back to London a renewed person. For those visiting the UK, I cannot urge you enough to make this part of your agenda while in the country. The city itself is a spot on this globe not to be missed and the University Arms will see that your stay here is as magical as it should be.
For more information, visit University Arms.
Fashion Foie Gras stayed as a guest of The University Arms.