Trains from London King’s Cross and Liverpool Street take about an hour. Grantchest­er is a pleasant 45-minute walk from Cambridge, or a short hop on the no.18 bus. www.thetrainli­; www.stagecoach­


The best place to stay is the University Arms, which has been hosting visitors since 1834. Its rooms, painted in soothing Cambridge Blue, are cosied up with colourful textiles on headboards and ottomans, while elegant drapes frame views of Parker’s Piece (one of Cambridge’s most famous open spaces) or bustling Regent Street. There’s a distinct collegiate air, too, in the leather-padded writing desks, the curated selection of books and art, and the stripy hallway carpets, reminiscen­t of university ties. You can aspire to a Cambridge intellect in the panelled library, and free bike hire is available, so you can whizz around town like a local.­


The University Arms has an excellent restaurant, Parker’s Tavern, with big windows overlookin­g Parker’s Piece. It manages to evoke the feel of a wood-panelled Cambridge dining hall – minus the dons and gowns, and with added elegance. The brasserie-style menu concentrat­es on British dishes with a twist, in dishes such as honey and thyme slow roast Norfolk duck, and crispy coronation chicken salad.

For tea and cake, it has to be Fitzbillie­s, a Cambridge institutio­n founded in 1920. Cambridge isn’t short of historic pubs; try The Eagle, thought to be the city’s oldest pub, where in 1953 scientists Francis Crick and James Watson announced that they had discovered the double helix structure of DNA (a plaque commemorat­es the event). www.parkerstav­; www.fitzbillie­;

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