Earlier this year, my boyfriend and I unexpectedly found ourselves back at university — sort of. This time round though, our term was short, just a weekend, and the only thing we were studying was a restaurant menu.
Cambridge is home to one of the UK’s top universities, and the city’s University Arms hotel reopened last year after a refurbishment overseen by architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki.
Entering through the giant timber door, guests are greeted by the concierge standing in front of a larger- than- life photo of Winston Churchill. The war- time PM has a cigar in one hand, and is dressed in
a pin- striped boiler suit. The striking photograph sits on a Cambridge
Blue- painted, panelled wall and as we explore the building we find classic mid- century prints, Victorian etchings and detailed botany drawings on other walls.
Our home for the weekend is the Hawking Suite, named after one of the university’s most famous students.
It’s a large enough room to have a bookshelf in the middle, dividing the bed from the lounge, and a TV on either side so you can curl up in bed or on the sofa and indulge in a film — The Theory of Everything, perhaps? The bathroom features retro tiles, a marble- topped bath stand and Harris & Co toiletries, including salts for the roll- top bath ( which I can confirm is big enough for two).
In Parker’s Tavern, the Cambridge Arms’ restaurant, we dine on British classic dishes before sampling the bar’s cocktail menu. Perched on turquoise leather stools with elbows planted on the copper- topped bar, we order a couple of signature drinks and retire to one of the comfy sofas.
No visit to Cambridge is complete without gliding along the river on a punt. As we drift under the Bridge of Sighs, I think: wouldn’t it have been lovely if our former university days had been as tranquil as this weekend escape?