Explore Independent Cambridge: The Varsity Hotel & Spa


With the recent launch of the third edition of Independent Cambridge - the definitive guide to ‘real’ Cambridge - Cambridge Network resumes its weekly exploration of the best independent shops, cafés, restaurants, venues and events in Cambridge and the surrounding area. This week: The Varsity Hotel & Spa.


Heading off Bridge Street near the River Cam is Thompson’s Lane – an unassuming little street in this historic part of Cambridge. Halfway down the lane and also unassuming, from the outside at least, is The Varsity Hotel & Spa.

The Hotel is the vision of a group of Cambridge University graduates and from the moment you step inside, it’s obvious they intended to create something quite special in such an historical and beautiful location.

Each of the 48 rooms are individually designed and named after Oxbridge Colleges, however if you are now thinking of a traditional, understated look then you would be wrong. Instead, think New York loft meets contemporary English style with incredible views of
quintessential Cambridge, and you have The Varsity.

And the higher up you go, the better the views get, until you reach the simply stunning roof terrace (pictured) with its panoramic view across the Colleges, River Cam and rooftops of Cambridge. Open to hotel and non-hotel guests alike, the terrace also transforms on some evenings into an open air cinema with large screen as part of the annual Cambridge Film Festival.

More beautiful views of the river can be found at the River Bar Steakhouse & Grill, located just next door and the menu looks pretty good too, with steaks that are dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days and a selection of fish freshly cooked on the grill.

To complete the experience is the Elemis spa, offering customised facials through to hot stone massages. There is also a wonderful jacuzzi overlooking the Cam with sauna and steam room on hand.

A fully-equipped gym and studio with an array of classes are on-site too for the more energetic.

The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Thompson’s Lane (off Bridge Street)
Cambridge CB5 8AQ
01223 306030


Discover unique boutiques and boutique hotels mingled with communities of artists and craftspeople. Sample an award-winning restaurant or thriving little café tucked away in a back street – all easy to locate with the 200 page full-colour Independent Cambridge guide.

Handily presented with a map and an index at the beginning of each section, this book is the indispensable key to finding out what’s on offer from the independents of Cambridge. Get your copy from Waterstones, Heffers, many of the independent shops or online at www.independent-cambridge.co.uk


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