Hotels, B&Bs & Self-Catering in Cambridge - Cool Places to Stay in the UK

Cambridge

Cambridge needs little introduction. Its name is a synonym worldwide for academic excellence. The 31 colleges of its university have nurtured an influence out of all proportion to its size. Yet Cambridge appeals as much to the heart as to the head. Smaller and possibly more charming than its great rival Oxford – ‘the other place’, as it’s known in academic circles – it is a cornucopia of historical nooks, crannies and glorious vistas; soaring Gothic chapels and hushed Tudor courtyards; narrow cobbled streets full of bicycles; gowned choirs in chapels at Christmas. And, of course, it is a town where you can punt gently down the River Cam. Small wonder over four million people visit each year, which puts pressure on the local accommodation choices, though there is in fact a decent mix of places to stay, taking in budget hotels and hostels, reputable chains and stylish boutique hotels. Cambridge also boasts some charming B&Bs and spacious Victorian guesthouses, though if you're looking to truly immerse yourself in the Cambridge student experience, most of the university colleges offer reasonably priced rooms in student halls of residence.

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Eat and Drink

As you'd expect from a city with a colossal 30,000 students hailing from over 120 countries, Cambridge cuisine reflects its multicultural population. And being student central, prices are commensurate with the life of the impoverished scholar so dining out won't cost you the earth. German cafe Trockel, Ulmann and Freunde is great for a quick snack while Italian institution La Mimosa is great if you're looking to push the punt out a bit.

If libations ye seek, quaint little locals favourite Free Press serves up some decent real ales. The Anchor on Silver Street can be a bit of a tourist trap but its Cam-side location can't be beat on summer's days.

Shop

Shopping in Cambridge is a joy for the treasure hunter. An amble down any one of its quaint thoroughfares will find you innumerable quirky, independent retailers including one of the city's most renowned second hand bookshops Sarah Key Books. There's a daily market on Market Hill selling everything from organic produce to vintage clothes. The gargantuan Grafton Centre just off East Road leading out of the city should take care of any unsatiated chain store cravings.

Things to Do

Where to start?! Most visitors to the city take a punt down the Cam for the quintessential Cambridge experience. Inescapably, Cambridge is a living monument to academia so most sightseers are here for the heritage. But beyond the hallowed hallways and cloisters of Cambridge's intellectual places, there's plenty of cool museums and contemporary arts events to be seen. The city is also one of England's greenest, with Jesus Green, the Botanic Gardens and Grantchester (just outside the city-proper) a must for any sunny day.