After 2 or 3 years using hotels.com, we finally got our reward for booking our 10th night on the platform. It works like a coffee reward scheme, and after 10 nights, you get a night free which is equivalent to the average cost of the 10 nights that you booked. Pretty good deal.
Angelique wanted to spend it away for her birthday and for some reason I thought why not Cambridge. A search for hotels in Cambridge popped up this beauty: University Arms. It looked so good and with excellent reviews that we planned the night away around this hotel.
We went for a Sunday night. Cambridge is only 50 mins away on the fast train out of Kings Cross, and University Arms is only 10 mins walk from the historic centre of Cambridge. The hotel is excellent with superb branding and little touches all over the place.
We went for a walk towards the historic colleges and headed towards The Backs, a walk that goes behind the colleges. We were there in term-time and not all the colleges are open to the public. We went past Corpus Christi, then down to the River Cam to see the Mathematical Bridge.
From here we strolled to Clare College and the back of Trinity College. From here we found out about an Evensong service at Clare College Chapel which was a gem of a find. I’d had a quick pint beforehand at the Cambridge Brew House (decent craft beer-focused pub), and we were just on time getting to the Clare College service. When we got in, the choir were lined up to sing in the marbled entrance foyer, in their white and red robes. The elegant and compact chapel was fairly full and looking around, there were lots of academics in black gowns and students.
The choir singing in the entrance was incredible and you couldn’t come close to replicating that huge sound in a CD or on Spotify. Our stroke of luck was that this service was commemorating the 250th anniversary of the completion of the current Clare Chapel. The Bishop of Ely led the service and afterward there was champagne for the church-goers.
After this we went to The Eagle, a famous pub where Watson and Crick reportedly announced the discovery of DNA, and also where RAF personnel used to meet and drink in the back bar during the Second World War. The ceiling and walls here still bear the written and signed names of RAF personnel and it’s a wonderful sight with great atmosphere.
Then we had a fine dinner in the Cambridge Chop House for some juicy steak and venison.
The next morning, we went for breakfast at a Cambridge institution, Fitzbillies, famous for its sticky Chelsea buns.
Then we went to the highlight of the trip, Kings College. Its chapel hosts the world-famous Carols at Kings College. The chapel is just stupendously impressive:
We did all that in 24 hours and if we had more time, we would have caught an evensong at King’s College Chapel, just to hear the world-famous choir sing. Their most famous performance each year is their Christmas Carol service on Christmas Eve, where we heard that people start queuing for entry at 4am that morning!
I’d also have had a few glasses of wine at the very highly-regarded Cambridge Wine Merchants. Oh well, next time!