The architectural city

The idea of as being more fashionable in 2022 than in any other year since, say, 1219 – that is, 10 years after a few ratbag scholar-monks who had just been booted out of Oxford pitched their mead-soaked encampments on the banks of the River Cam – is, on the one hand, frankly risible. Cambridge does not do fashionable. Never has. Never will. It is not that kind of place.

On the other hand, there are two very good reasons why Cambridge is a comfortable UK city breaks right now. First among them is the reopening of the hotel, which has been given a new lease of life by John Simpson and interiors guru Martin Brudnizki. The rooms, particularly the signature suites, named after famous Cambridge alumni, are wonderful; and the playful, sexy, buzzy bar-restaurant combo on the ground floor, Parker’s Tavern, is utterly ravishing.

By coincidence, Kettle’s Yard gallery, a 10-minute walk from the hotel, has also reopened after a dramatic expansion at roughly the same time as the University Arms. Which is the second reason why 2022 will be such a good year for visitors to Cambridge. Kettle’s Yard, with its exceptional collection of 20th-century British and European art, is one of the most intimate, idiosyncratic and moving exhibition spaces in the UK – quite as marvellous, in its one-of-a-kind way, as Cambridge itself. And not even remotely fashionable.