Friday 1pm: Arrive at The University Arms
You can’t ask for a better base than the University Arms for your 24-hour stay in Cambridge. Located right in the heart of the city, overlooking the picturesque Parker’s Piece, it’s a stone’s throw from all the best shopping areas and main landmarks. It’s also drop dead gorgeous, thanks to the classic-meets-contemporary, art filled interiors by Martin Brudnizki.
You can’t officially check in until 4pm, but you can get stow your bags away and enjoy the hotel’s hospitality, including…
Friday 1.30pm: Afternoon Tea at PT
One of the hotel’s biggest draws is the fabulous restaurant – which offers an unashamedly indulgent celebration of British comfort food. The afternoon tea is a particular treat, featuring Eton Mess, oversized scones, truffle sausage rolls and generous wedges of Victoria sponge cake. Team it with a glass of champagne and you’ve got a perfect welcome to Cambridge.
Friday 2.30pm: Walking Tour of Cambridge
Since you’re only in town for 24-hours, you’ll need to be savvy with your sightseeing. A great way to see a lot of the landmarks in one hit is with a walking tour, like those offered by Cambridge Tour Guides. Taking place daily at 2.30pm, the ‘Historic Cambridge’ tour visits colleges such as King’s, Trinity and Corpus Christi, as well as historic gems including Great St Mary’s church, the 11th century St Bene’t’s Church and the historic Eagle pub.
Friday 5pm: The City View
Wander back to the University Arms, but this time make a right onto Parker’s Piece, where you’ll find the City View Wheel. Cambridge’s answer to the London Eye, this huge Ferris wheel offers riders a bird’s eye view of the city from 118ft in the sky. ‘Gondola’ tickets are available every half hour between 11am and 7.30pm, and VIP options, which include champagne, are available.
Friday 7.30pm: Restaurant Twenty-Two
If you’ve only got time for one dinner in Cambridge – make it Restaurant Twenty-Two. A luxuriously refurbed Victorian townhouse on the Chesterton side of the city, it serves stunning tasting menus and has a national reputation for excellence. Advance booking is a must.
Friday, 10pm: A Nightcap at Thirsty
If you’ve still got the energy, toddle a few metres down the street to Thirsty, the beloved bottle shop and bar on Chesterton Road. With a friendly, unstuffy atmosphere and a vast choice of expertly chosen wines, craft beers and spirits, it’s a favourite for locals and visitors alike.
Saturday, 10am: Breakfast on Mill Road
Head back across Parker’s Piece – keeping an eye out for ‘Reality Checkpoint’ – and over to Mill Road. A few minutes’ walk but a world away from the city centre, this part of Cambridge has a slightly more eclectic, independent character. It’s also got loads of great places to eat, such as Urban Larder, a cosy little coffee shop with a country-modern feel. Here you can find bacon baps, buttery banana bread and amazing toasties. After you’ve eaten, take your time to explore the shops in this vibrant corner of the city – you’ll find everything from antiques to second-hand books.
Saturday, 12pm: Get a Culture Fix
Why not use your final few hours to enjoy one of Cambridge’s fantastic museums? The city is so compact that you can easily take in a couple within the space of a few hours. Explore the animal kingdom in all its majesty at the Museum of Zoology, gaze at awe-inspiring historical artefacts at the Fitzwilliam, and discover adventure and exploration at the Scott Polar Museum. If art’s your thing, don’t miss Kettle’s Yard – an incredible collection of contemporary art in a beautiful and unique residential house.
Saturday, 2pm: Lunch at Cambridge Market
Cambridge Market, which has been running in the city’s historic Market Square since the Middle Ages, sells everything from crafts and books to clothing and flowers. It’s open daily, and it’s a great spot to pick up lunch, with stalls offering gourmet burgers, mac and cheese, dumplings, falafel, and more.