(ad- press visit)
Until last week it had been a good few years since I’d visited the beautiful city of Cambridge. The racing of bicycles weaving along the pavements and roads, the grandeur of the architecture which makes even the local Lloyd’s bank mimic something from Harry Potter and it’s time-gone-by nostalgia.
Whether you’re punting along the river indulging in far-fetched stories of raucous student mischief or nibbling a Chelsea bun from the infamous Fitzbillie’s as the rain smatters down outside; it’s easy to slip into character mode in this city and pretend you’re starring in your own very quintessential British drama (just, y’know… without the drama).
Anyway, in a rather glamorous way to return, I was invited back to the city to visit one of their newest treasures- The University Arms. A beautiful hotel situated conveniently between the city centre and train station; overlooking the lush green of Parkers Piece and a short walk away from the colleges and riverside. It was somewhere I’d spied online before; with it’s duck-egg blue walls and cheerful yellow accents and Wes Anderson-esque reception and interiors piquing my (very limited) design eye.
But the hotel is so much more than pretty pictures, velvet sofas, bulging bookshelves and elegant touches. It feels like a home from home; with it’s library and open fire, dining room at Parker’s Tavern (home to a truly delicious menu with the spaghetti and rice pudding souffle being two favourites) and plenty of pockets to unwind and relax in; you could quite easily while away an evening without setting foot outside the hotel and it certainly wouldn’t be time wasted. And as tempting as it was to cosy up indoors; the city called- and having been a while I was excited to revisit a couple of old and new spots in the short but sweet time we had. Fortunately, the hotel are also able to organise some lovely things to do if you’re in need of inspiration- with their own punting partnership with Rutherford’s, and bikes to hand in case you fancy an independent adventure too.
Whilst punting in the rain feels almost like a Cambridge rite of passage (despite that it still always feels magical come rain or shine), I was so excited to visit Kettle’s Yard for the first time- the most stunning gallery and home; filled to the brim with beautiful pieces and artworks and a true and untouched look into the lives of Jim and Helen Ede. With the latest exhibition in the gallery being the fascinating and stirring The Liberty of Doubt by Ai WeiWei; there are constantly brilliant things going on here and it feels like such a special and authentic part of the city, hidden in plain site and a true gem in Cambridge’s crown.
Despite our stay only being a whistle-stop I’m already counting down until my return visit- with a David Hockney exhibition popping up over the spring and summer, I’ll gladly take that as my excuse to get cosy on one of these cloud-like beds again and dive straight back into another bowl of that spag bol too…