Cambridge, United Kingdom

University Arms

Price per night from$317.65

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP245.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.


The Full English


Cleverly collegiate

Thanks to University Arms, collegiate Cambridge finally has an elegant, witty, literary hotel worthy of it’s Parker’s Piece location. The interiors, by man-of-the-moment Martin Brudnizki (of Annabel’s and the Ivy fame), have more than a hint of alma-mater nostalgia about them, with a touch of eccentric English manor house for good measure. After spending your day pottering, punting and Parker’s Tavern feasting, you can hunker down in front of the fire in the wood-panelled, Heywood Hill-curated library or sink a few Bloomsbury Boozers in the bar. Going back to school has never been more fun.

Smith Extra

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A gift-wrapped keepsake book and a cocktail each in Parker's Tavern


Photos University Arms facilities

Need to know


192 rooms, including 12 suites.


Check in is 4pm and check-out is 12pm. Both can be flexible, depending on availability.


Double rooms from £245.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates generally include a buffet breakfast. We recommend the sausages from royal warrant-holding butcher Musk’s, said to be a staple at the Queen’s table.


All the public areas and 11 bedrooms are fully wheelchair accessible. Hearing loops are also available.

At the hotel

Free WiFi, 24-hour gym, free bike rental, city guide, a complimentary walking tour on Saturdays. In rooms: desk, free bottled water, tea and Nespresso coffee, plug adaptors, daily newspaper on request, smart TV.

Our favourite rooms

It’s hard to go wrong here as every room is designed by Martin Brudnizki in Edwardian style with mind-boggling attention to minutiae. If pressed, we’d opt for a Superior Room, which has a bit more space, large windows and the perfect Cambridge-blue armchair for reading.

Packing tips

No need to lug any heavy books: they’re stacked by your bedside and there’s a library full of them. All the hotel’s volumes are curated by Heywood Hill, the Mayfair bookshop with the royal warrant.


Pop to the downstairs loos to hear Alan Bennett reading from The Wind in the Willows. Sadly it’s just a recording.


All ages are very welcome. Little Smiths are allowed in the bar until 7pm and in Parker’s Tavern, which has a children’s menu and build-your-own-sundae bar, until 7.30pm.

Food and Drink

Photos University Arms food and drink

Top Table

Nab a seat on one of the squishy central banquettes for prime people-peeping.

Dress Code

Wear your Sunday best, heritage brands preferred: Loake slip-ons and anything cashmere by Johnstons of Elgin.

Hotel restaurant

Designed by Martin Brudnizki to look like a college dining hall, Parker’s Tavern is a British brasserie serving comfort food and crowd pleasers. Highlights of this nostalgic menu include the naughtily named ‘classic British spaghetti Bolognese’, roast Norfolk duck and buttered sole. For dessert, the young at heart can create their own ice-cream sundae with toppings like caramel popcorn and toffee (check Nanny approves first) or opt for Cambridge burnt cream (it’s what the French call crème brȗlée). Nab a table in advance – they fill up fast.

Hotel bar

The bar is a jewel-toned Edwardian salon, inspired by literature – its marbled wallpaper looks like the flyleaf of a classic volume. As well as an extensive and ever-changing wine list and 39 types of gin, there are 10 signature cocktails inspired by the legends of Cambridge (discover the Secret of Life, inspired by the discovery of DNA, with Hendrick’s gin, English spiced vermouth and rhubarb bitters). There’s food here, too, like the Parker’s beef burger and a croque monsieur seafood roll with Norfolk crab.

Last orders

Breakfast is from 6.30am to 11am (à la carte finishes at 10.30). Parker’s Tavern is open for lunch, afternoon tea and supper from noon until late; the bar serves wine, cocktails, and coffee from 11am until the last guest’s gone to bed.

Room service

The full restaurant and bar menu is available as room service from noon to 10.30pm. If you’re up late, there are sandwiches, curries and pies on the night menu.


Photos University Arms location
University Arms
Regent St
United Kingdom

University Arms is in the collegiate heart of Cambridge, overlooking Parker’s Piece common.


London Stansted is 40 minutes away by car and has direct flights to cities throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. If you’re coming from further afield, London Heathrow is your best bet, a 90-minute drive from Cambridge. The hotel is happy to organise airport pick-ups; it’s £45 from Stansted and £90 from Heathrow.


Cambridge railway station is just a five-minute drive from the hotel. Trains arrive direct from London’s Kings Cross in under an hour and the hotel can arrange a pick-up for you.


You won’t need wheels in the walkable city of Cambridge. The nearest public car park is £25 a day and just a five-minute walk away; the hotel recommends dropping your luggage first and then the concierge can direct you.

Worth getting out of bed for

Admission is free to the university’s Fitzwilliam Museum which has Roman and Egyptian antiquities as well as 20th-century works by Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Cézanne. If your tastes are more contemporary, Kettle's Yard – once the home of Tate curator John Ede – looks like an unassuming country cottage but houses a remarkable collection of modern art, including pieces by Brâncuși and Miró. The hotel can organise walking tours of Cambridge’s colleges with a Blue Badge guide, and if the weather’s good, ask the kitchen to pack up a picnic for you to take on a punt down the Cam, England’s answer to the gondolas of Venice. We recommend letting an experienced punter do all the hard work (try the Cambridge Punt Company) while you sit back, pop the English Sparkling and enjoy the views; the river meanders behind the back of the university’s colleges (aka ‘the Backs’), under the Bridge of Sighs and the Mathematical Bridge. Don’t miss evensong at King’s College Chapel – its famous choir services are open to all.

Local restaurants

Borrow one of the hotel’s Tiffany-blue bicycles for a genteel jaunt to the Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester, which has been serving tea and scones under its fruit trees since 1897. Back in town, pick up some Chelsea buns to take home from Fitzbillies, beloved by students and Stephen Fry (who inadvertently saved the classic bakery from closure by tweeting about it). Chef Daniel Clifford reigns at two Michelin-star Midsummer House, a cosy Victorian villa on the Cam. If you’re wondering where the hungover students eat, we’ve heard they flex their undergraduate metabolisms on pork sandwiches and poutine at Bread & Meat or dumplings at Zhonghua Traditional Snacks on Norfolk Street. Something heartier? You'll find Specialty steaks, local ales and traditional Sunday roasts at Cambridge Chop House

Local bars

In 1953, Watson and Crick announced that they had discovered the double helix, ‘the secret of life’, in the 14th-century Eagle pub on Benet Street where, during World War II, American airmen scrawled their names on the ceiling. We think writing on the walls is frowned upon now, but you can certainly spend a happy evening soaking up the pub’s historic atmosphere…and the Suffolk cask ales.


Photos University Arms reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this brilliantly British hotel in Cambridge and unpacked their Chelsea buns from Fitzbillies, a full account of their brainy break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside University Arms in Cambridge…

Like a school boy in his Sunday best, University Arms looks buttoned-up but has a definite cheeky streak. Behind the glamorous Edwardian façade, the interiors – by smart Swede Martin Brudnizki – layer reference upon winking reference to Cambridge’s iconography: the hallways have the patterns of the colleges’ neckties, there’s a copy of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children in every room and the white-tiled bathrooms give the barest nod to ‘institutional’ (though we don’t remember our school having gold taps, heated floors and bespoke DR Harris potions). Downstairs, in dressed-up dining hall Parker’s Tavern, the chef dishes out witty takes on childhood comfort food, exactly like your school dinner ladies never used to make. So, if you’re ever feeling deeply nostalgic for a collegiate experience that literature promised and reality failed to deliver, enrol at University Arms for a long weekend: you can read yellowing novels in leather wingback chairs, ride a powder-blue bicycle through cloistered courtyards and generally live out all your EM Forster fantasies.

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Price per night from $317.65