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Last updated: 31 October, 2022
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

Cambridge’s hippest address, the Varsity sits on the banks of the River Cam, and envelops guests into the city’s rich academic history.   

Each room is named after a college, and has decorations connected with famous alumni – from paintings of Wordsworth to photos of T E Lawrence. All boast floor-to-ceiling windows, offering lovely views over the river towards the city centre. 

But the biggest draw here is Six Bar & Restaurant; spread across the roof of the hotel, with spectacular views of the colleges and city skyline.

There’s a second restaurant – the River Bar Steakhouse – set on a quay right by the water; both are hugely popular with the student population – book in advance to get a table, particularly on the roof. 

Surrounding Area

Tucked away on quiet Thompsons Lane, the Varsity is actually the city’s most central hotel, just moments from busy Bridge Street, home to many of the beautiful university colleges.   

Quaint cobbled passages link the busy streets that throng with students whizzing around on bikes, and if it all gets a little hectic, the banks of the river Cam – just outside the hotel’s door – are a great bet for a tranquil stroll. 

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Key facilities

Airport transfers: Not available
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
: Nearby *
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Free

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Jacuzzi (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed

Bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Punting on the River Cam

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.1 miles]

Quintessential Cambridge and the best way to enjoy the glorious architecture of the university colleges and their ‘backs’ – the gardens that stretch down to the river.

Best for ages: 6+ | £20 | 2 hours

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Overview >

Kettle’s Yard art gallery

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.3 miles]

An impressive collection of 20th-century art, including works by Joan Miro, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, housed in the collector’s former home.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Cambridge University Colleges

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.7 miles]

One of the world’s most illustrious universities, Cambridge consists of 31 magnificent colleges rich in history, architecture and stories, most open to the public.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Fitzwilliam Museum

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[1.2 miles]

A world-class collection of art and architecture, ranging from illuminated manuscripts to sculptures from Ancient Greece.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest, closest first

View of the River Cam and the Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.3 miles]

Queen Victoria was said to have loved this elegant, covered bridge more than any other spot in the city. Straddling the Cam between the Third and New Courts at St. John’s College, it dates back to 1831.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Overview >
View of St. Mary's Church on a clear day in Cambridge

Climb St. Mary’s Church Tower

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

Climb the 123 steps to the top of St. Mary’s Tower for lovely, 360-degree views of the city’s rooftops, and to see the unique architecture of the colleges from above.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

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Overview >
Overhead shot of colourful market stall awnings in the centre of Cambridge

Market Square

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.6 miles]

Traders have been running stalls on the city’s central square since the Middle Ages, and today visitors can buy everything from fresh food to jewellery, clothes, books and second-hand music.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Overview >
View of St. John's College chapel

King’s College Chapel

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.6 miles]

Perhaps the most famous of all the university buildings is King’s College Chapel, founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. The 12 large stained-glass windows on each side of the chapel are considered some of the finest in the world.

Best for ages: 18+ | £10

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Overview >

Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay


Cambridgeshire , United Kingdom (UK)

A picturesque, charming city steeped in learning, architecture and history. It’s home to two world-class art museums and one of the world’s oldest and most famous universities.

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Overview >