It’s tough as a London based event manager to find new and exciting locations for our UK off-sites, retreats and conferences. The parameters are usually always the same; one to two hours maximum out of London, easily accessible via train, and then not too far a journey from the train station to the property.
The University Arms Cambridge may just be that property you have been looking for.
With a direct train from Kings Cross to Cambridge taking me just under 40 minutes and a transfer of only seven minutes, the property is centrally located and is indeed as gorgeous as it is easy to get there.
Arriving (via train and a few driving) at The University Arms we all met in The Library (Parkers Tavern) for afternoon tea. The Library is one of the properties two main event spaces and is perfect for a small intimate meeting or, as we were lucky enough to experience, an afternoon tea. Afternoon tea in Parkers’s Tavern is inspired by the great literature Cambridge has given the world and that combined with a high degree of creative flair make it gorgeous. I live for sausage rolls and as they feature on the menu, I was pretty happy. Combined with a glass (or two) of bubbles and signature teas meant it was a lovely experience for our members and a great start to our FAM.
Up next, we packed up what we hadn’t yet devoured and took the short walk to the River Cam for a spot of putting. Our guide took us up and down the river, explaining the history, the sights and the sounds along the glorious river banks and it was such a wonderful experience. We weren’t sure quite what to believe as I believe a few porkies are part and parcel of a punt down the river however we had a great time none-the-less. This would make a wonderful activity for your delegates – you could even hold a meeting as they go… imagine that?!
After our punt, we headed back into the hub of Cambridge to The Cambridge Gin Distillery where we were fortunate enough to have our very own gin masterclass. We made three cocktails, learnt the art of the lemon zest, the difference between martinis and above all – we learnt who likes them strong! Haha it was another great idea for your delegates, whilst the group size they can take tends to be quite intimate, you could easily have half on a punt and half in a masterclass and then swap them over. Such a great experience.
Three gins down and a little giggly, we headed back to the hotel for a site visit of the property before sitting down to our lovely dinner in the hotel’s signature restaurant, Parker’s Tavern.
The University Arms has recently undergone a refurb (2018) and its classic Edwardian interiors are something of splendour. The foyer will evoke many an Instagram shot and its picture lined walls from iconic moments in Cambridge’s history are something to be marvelled at. You could spend hours looking at them. The 192 bedrooms with bathrooms that I can only describe as art deco toned down are lovely and I knew as soon as I saw them I was going to have a great comfy sleep.
The property has one main meeting room/event space that can be broken down into three rooms. You can find further details on the ballroom here.
“a return to good unpretentious British cooking”
Parker’s Tavern is a quintessentially all-day British brasserie where you can expect a seasonal menu where they pride themselves on “a return to good unpretentious British cooking”. The risotto I can honestly say was amazing as was the beef and a few of us even had ice cream to finish (ok and I also took some chocolates to bed). We had such a lovely evening chatting all things life, love and events and hadn’t even noticed the time edging towards midnight. It really was a great night and as we were due for breakfast and then a guided walking tour of Cambridge the next morning at 8.00 am sharp… it was off to bed.
Our walking tour of Cambridge was something special and would be a necessity for your groups when visiting Cambridge. There is so much history (as you can imagine) and we had probably the most knowledgeable engaging tour guide there was… We have even given him his own newly created hashtag #tonythetourguide. Mr Tondy Rodgers of Cambridge Tor Guides is quite frankly, a legend and I will forever remember that there are:
- 31 colleges with Cambridge
- The wealthiest is called Trinity
- The oldest is called Peterhouse
- The newest is called Robinson
- There are about 19,000 students currently there
We learnt so much so that we only allowed an hour for the tour and we went to two and didn’t even realise. Highly recommended for business or leisure and you can contact Tony here.
We LOVED our FAM to Cambridge, a huge thank you to Tracey Chatters and Irene Moreno who hosted us and a huge thanks to Philip Green and Kathryn Signature Sales for arranging the FAM.
For further information on The University Arms Cambridge or, on any of the activities we participated in, please do reach out to us.