TeamCocopup: The Graduate Cambridge, an idyllic dog friendly retreat on the River Cam

There is something about Cambridge that instantly makes you fall in love. [...]

There is something about Cambridge that instantly makes you fall in love. Maybe it’s the punters, drifting along on the River Cam, maybe it’s the allure of the city’s cobblestoned streets, or even the hallowed halls of the numerous famous universities that call it home. Whatever it is – TeamCocopup certainly felt the love during our dog-friendly visit to the Graduate Hotel Cambridge – which takes all these elements and turns them into a truly unique hotel stay.

Part of the wonderfully quirky Graduate Hotels Group, Graduate Hotel Cambridge is an idyllic retreat located on The River Cam that was inspired by this university town’s rich traditions. Academic influences are rife, with plenty of handsome leatherbound books occupying the shelves a hanging double-helix centrepiece, and 100 year-old punting boats hung gleefully on the walls.

Colourful college crests adorn the main desk in the lobby which is manned by the lovely hotel staff. Beyond that is the Garden Bar, a striking wraparound bar, with leather barstools and cosy booths and plenty of charm. There is a broad range of cocktails and bar snacks on offer here, plus a vast array of specialty beers. It is also dog friendly – and perfect for well-behaved pooches like TeamCocopup.

We stayed in one of the hotel’s Graduate Riverview King rooms with a balcony. Overlooking the River Cam, the rooms offered all the creature comforts – with plenty of vibrant design details. An Indian-inspired headboard is matched with a bright green armchair, with punter-inspired shelving and checked curtains. The mish-mash of colour, texture, and print works very well here – and envelope you in a comfy and quirky atmosphere.

The Garden House, the hotel’s main restaurant, boasts a delectable seasonal menu that celebrates the best of East Anglian cookery. Helmed by Executive Adam Wood, this open grill kitchen is a cacophony of aromas as soon as you enter. For starters, we sampled the grilled cockles, which offered just the right kick. This was followed by the delicious, glazed beef short rib with brussels and celeriac, and impossibly-tender grilled Herdwick lamb, salsify and quince. Paired with a bottle of the restaurant’s gorgeous Argentinian Malbec and you would be hard-pressed to find a better spot for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal.

This fabulously dog friendly hotel is perfectly situated in the town’s historic centre, within walking distance to all the tourist sites, local pubs and colourful shops.

We recommend visiting Cambridge Wine Merchants for its diverse range of wines and spirits – or better yet book in for a tasting. The Old Bike Shop is an excellent, dog friendly spot for lunch and the Cambridge Botanical Garden is also another lovely dog friendly day out.

You can’t go to Cambridge and not go punting and Scudamore’s station on Granta Pi is right next to the hotel. Here you can see the Mathematical Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs and all of Cambridge’s most idyllic sites.

There is no better way to end the day than at The Graduate’s own garden, which is situated right on the River Cam. Charlie loved sitting in the freshly cut grass, while we enjoyed a nice pot of tea watching the punters slowly drift by, as they have done for hundreds of years. The Graduate is truly an idyllic retreat on the River Cam – and the ideal location for a Valentine’s Day staycation that’s more than a bit extraordinary.

Visit graduatehotels.com for more information or to make a reservation

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