A former coaching inn spiked with English eccentricity, The University Arms is every bibliophile’s bliss. Thumb through classics in the library, bed down in rooms named after famed alumni, or tuck into the restaurant’s quintessentially British dishes. No Cambridge degree required.
Have you been to Cambridge before?” the manager asks. “Oh yes! The last time was after my interview, when I cried into the river under the Mathematical Bridge because I knew I hadn’t got in!” I reply brightly. To give him credit, he only looks bamboozled for a second before responding, “Well! I hope your stay with us will be MUCH more enjoyable.”
Despite immortalising the crest of my failed alma mater in stained glass, the University Arms is a bibliophile’s bliss that you don’t need a Cambridge degree to decipher. A former coaching inn that had morphed into a Frankenstein of architectural add-ons, last year it was licked into shape by architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki. The result is a bookish homage to the city’s history spiked with English eccentricity – the carpets are patterned with university ties, the wallpaper is made of old tomes and there’s a recording of Alan Bennett reading The Wind in the Willows in the loo.
Review by Olivia Squire
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