Sitting pretty in a garland of gardens, Wimpole Hall was constructed as the ultimate status symbol, advertising the wealth of a series of earls and viscounts. Queen Victoria came to tea, and Rudyard Kipling’s eccentric daughter took up residence before the house passed to the National Trust. Stay in nearby Cambridge and you can beat the rush to the gorgeous grounds – and duck into the Imperial War Museum at Duxford for a bonus dose of history. Book these hotels with Culture Trip.
With two acres (0.8ha) of its own grounds and a fringe of woods and parkland, Rectory Farm is more country house than farmhouse. Behind the huge frontage, enormous rooms with statement curtains and space to swing an afghan hound look over neatly pruned gardens. You’d never know that the M11 passes nearby. Extra perks include a pool and tennis courts.
Hidden behind Peterhouse College, the Graduate is a genuine surprise. The university theme is not unexpected, but rooms have been designed with playful flair. Framed pictures of rowers, and bookshelves styled like rowboats stand beside beds with headboards upholstered in India-inspired fabrics. For dinner, head to chef Adam Wood’s Garden House restaurant, which sprawls around a huge oval bar beneath an ornate ceiling.
Cambridge’s Hotel du Vin spills across three Georgian townhouses filled with period details and tastefully modern bedrooms. It’s the bathrooms that leap out, though: freestanding copper-and-ceramic tubs are found in all but two of them, and some suites have ritzy side-by-side tubs for couples. Egyptian cotton sheets, subtle colours and fine French food complete the luxe picture; there’s even a suite with its own cinema.
Rising grandly beside one of Cambridge’s historic greens, the University Arms looks like it’s been here for generations, but much of what you can see is a lavish reconstruction, replacing a little-missed 1960s annexe. Inside, there’s a strong university theme, with blazer-coloured bedsteads, two-tone colour schemes, and a library full of design books – the perfect place to retreat with a brandy. For dinner with your drink, the hotel’s bar and brasserie is a striking, Belle Epoque space facing the green.
The Clayton has one foot in the past and one foot in the present, with rooms that pay a respectful nod to wood-panelled college halls, reinvented using straight lines. It’s handy for the station and botanic gardens, and an easy walk from the academic areas. Eat in style at the vast art deco dining room before browsing the cosy library, stacked with timeworn tomes.
Fellows House sounds like a college-themed museum piece, but in fact, it’s stylish and contemporary, decorated with a New York loft vibe. Rooms and apartments are decked in easy-on-the-eye greys and blues, with rainfall showers and big-picture windows looking onto a quiet corner of Cambridge. It’s away from the hubbub but minutes from Jesus Green, with a quiet, private pool and a big open-plan restaurant and bar.
A cheerful Cambridge pub just a stone’s skim from the Cam, the Waterman is light-filled and relaxing both upstairs and down. The saloon bar has a friendly spread of stools and leather benches, with real ales and European imports on tap; upstairs are angular rooms enlivened by quirky artworks, reclaimed timber and fun fabrics. It’s like art-school student digs taken upmarket.
A patchwork of fields encircles Biggslewade’s Green Man, a cottage-like pub to the west of Wimpole Hall. At heart, this is a vintage coaching inn, but the building is going through an imaginative modernisation, transforming frilly bedrooms into contemporary spaces complete with shiny new bathrooms. There’s a family-friendly menu in the pub restaurant, while the best rooms sit away from the bar, dotted around the courtyard.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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