The Crown and Punchbowl
High St, Horningsea
This village gastropub has a boutique hotel with nine double en-suite rooms, most of them named after influential Cambridge scientists. It’s worth noting that breakfast is an extra charge, and that the hotel offers good-value Sunday night stays and two-night dinner packages with a meal in the restaurant.
Cambridge’s oldest hotel, the University Arms started life in 1834 as a coaching inn overlooking Parker’s Piece. It reopened in 2020 after being redeveloped and restyled by top architects and designers and is one of the city’s finest (and priciest) hotels. The interior echoes the Cambridge colleges, with panelled walls and rows of books in the library-style lounge area, while recordings of The Wind in the Willows read by Alan Bennett are transmitted in the public loos. The 192 rooms include 12 suites named after Cambridge alumni, including Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking, and the hotel has branded bikes to hire and can arrange punting tours and picnics on request. It has been named as one of the top five hotels outside London, and one of the top 100 places to visit in the world.
39 High St, Buckden
Contemporary styled hotel next to Buckden Towers with a cocktail bar and restaurant. Each of the ten rooms are individually designed and are named after a different ‘George’, from George Eliot to Washington. It sits directly opposite The Lion Hotel.
The Lion Hotel
44–46 High St, Buckden
One of England’s oldest coaching inns (1492), this characterful hotel has some lovely old features in the bar/dining area, with old beams and a huge fireplace. Bedrooms have traditional decor, and some include four-poster beds and views of Buckden Towers. There’s also a separate annex with modern rooms.
The Old Bridge Hotel
1 High St, Huntingdon
Once a private bank, this ivy-clad boutique hotel is now owned by an interior designer and wine merchant. Expect stylish bedrooms, a sunny terrace and garden, comfy lounge/bar and decent restaurant. There’s also an in-house wine shop. Set by the river, it’s a short walk into Huntington town centre or Godmanchester. Pricier than other hotels in the area but worth it.
The Bell Inn
Great North Rd, Stilton
The home of Stilton cheese, this large 17th-century pub and hotel has a long history – the highwayman Dick Turpin is said to have stayed here. Built around the old courtyard, the traditional guest rooms have contemporary touches which feel in keeping with the listed building. There’s a choice of good value doubles, singles, family rooms and suites.
Haycock Manor Hotel
This landmark coaching inn reopened in 2021 after a major refurbishment. They have 49 traditionally styled bedrooms, plus an in-house restaurant, bar and private dining areas.
The Bramley House Hotel
15 High St, Chatteris
Overlooking Market Hill in Chatteris, this Georgian house has ten bedrooms, a sunny breakfast room and a guest lounge. They also run monthly workshops floristry and chocolate-making workshops. Prices are reasonable and guests often mention the great hospitality.
The Old Hall
One mile outside Ely, this Jacobean country house is surrounded by stunning gardens and lakes, with fantastic views to Ely Cathedral. The 15 guestrooms all feature handmade furniture and antiques. Several include roll-top baths, and the luxury suite includes a four-poster bed. Expect top-notch service, with prices to match.
The Pike & Eel
Overcote Ln, Needingworth
At the end of a long track, this hotel, stylish restaurant and marina has spacious lawned grounds beside the River Great Ouse. The eight wildlife-themed rooms, above the restaurant, are fresh and modern, and many have views of the river. There are more rooms in separate chalets. The Ouse Valley Way footpath leads past, and you can walk a mile or so to Holywell village and Ouse Fen Nature Reserve.
St Mary’s St, Ely
Ely’s finest hotel (and one of Cambridgeshire’s best) is named in memory of the fenland author Sybil Marshall who lived in one of the property’s three converted townhouses. All 21 rooms have stunning copper bathtubs and waterfall showers, and the rooms at the front have views of Ely Cathedral. Expect a mix of original features and contemporary interiors, plus a smart dining room, contemporary bar area and a garden. Rates are at the pricier end.
39 Station Rd, Melbourn
Ten individually styled boutique rooms at a 400-year-old watermill with renowned restaurant. The décor complements the mill’s traditional features, with stripped wooden beams, leaded windows and views of the old mill pond on the River Mel. Rooms range from singles to suites.
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