Graduate Hotel in Cambridge, England

SDCambridgeHotels › Graduate Review
Updated: May 18, 2022

• Location: Granta Place Mill Lane, on the River Cam.
• Hotel website:
• Hotel phone: +44 (0)1223 259988
Check prices for Graduate

Graduate Cambridge Hotel Review

The family-friendly Graduate hotel features spacious rooms with balconies and large beds right by the River Cam.

Graduate – Big brand comfort in the heart of the historic city.

The hotel sits on a deeply ‘Cambridge’ spot. Behind the Brutalist façade is the hotel’s greatest asset – a delightful garden running down to the river. Just to the right are the colleges and the punts beckoning you to float past them. Service is friendly and welcoming, with cookies to greet guests on arrival. The rooms are sleek, modern, and spacious, featuring oversized beds and rain showers. Guests can upgrade to ones with private balconies, or to suites with spacious living areas. The mod-cons continue in the hotel’s facilities: the pool and spa have been refurbished, and there is a well-equipped gym. The whole hotel is well-adapted for accessibility and family-friendly to boot. The restaurant and bar both open out onto the garden, where guests can relax on a sun-lounger with a coffee or glass of gin, and watch the world pass by.

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Graduate – Location

  • Address: Granta Place Mill Lane.
  • Area: Central, quiet location in a garden by the river – this is, in fact, the only hotel in the city center directly on the River Cam. A punting station is just outside, and around the corner is the Fitzwilliam Museum. There’s a pretty view of the most impressive colleges and the Backs, which start 2 minutes away; Market Square and Great St Mary’s Church are just a bit further. Close to an array of good central restaurants, shopping in the Grand Arcade, and several famously lovely riverside pubs.
  • How to Get There: If coming from London, take one of the frequent trains from London King’s Cross station to Cambridge. From Cambridge train station, take the U bus to the Pembroke Street stop, 3 minutes’ walk (0.1 mile) from the hotel. National Express buses are a good transfer option from London Stansted or London Luton airports; these stop on Parkside, 15 minutes’ walk (0.8 mile) or a short taxi ride away.
  • Private Transfer: We use and recommend Welcome Pickups car service. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more than a taxi – about £72 from Stansted Airport and about £96 from Luton Airport – but can be worth it to avoid the long taxi queue and for the convenience of paying ahead.
  • Handy to: The Fitzwilliam Museum, King’s College, the Backs.

Graduate – The Basics

  • Ages: Guests tend to be a good mix of professionals during the week, plus couples and travelers on a city break, and families with children.
  • View: Rooms at the back of the hotel look out over the gardens and the river; the best views also take in the spires of the neighboring colleges.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
  • Laundry: In-room laundry and dry cleaning services available (additional charge).
  • Parking: On-site parking, including valet parking, is available and costs £21 per day.
  • Extras: Cookies are served on arrival and free cold drinks are available. Hotel staff will mark a birthday or special event, e.g. with complimentary Prosecco. Check the website for special offers, which may include punting tickets and afternoon tea, or a Girls’ Night In package (with Prosecco, DVDs, and bathrobes) as part of the room rate. Punts, bicycles, and kayaks are available for hire.
  • When to Book: Book 2-3 months in advance for the late June-August high season. Consider avoiding mid-April to mid-June as this is exam term and colleges are closed to visitors.
  • How to Book: will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +44 (0)1223 259988
  • Email:
  • Website:

Graduate – Amenities

  • Pool: Indoor swimming pool and hot tub.
  • Spa: Leisure Club includes the gym, pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam room.
  • Fitness Center: Well-equipped gym with cardio and weight equipment.
  • Laundry: No common laundry room.
  • For Disabled Guests: Five specially adapted rooms are available. The whole hotel is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act and includes accessible parking, lifts, and ramp access to the lobby and the garden.
  • For Families: Children under 18 stay free using existing beds, and extra beds and cots are available on request, with no extra charge. Triple rooms come with a double and a single bed each, and junior suites have sofa beds, so each option already sleeps 3 people. Children’s activity packs and puzzles are available in the restaurant and bar, along with a kids’ menu, and games such as croquet in the garden.
  • Other Facilities: Service animals (but no pets) are permitted.

Graduate – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant: Garden House, with huge windows opening onto the garden and the river, serves lots of classic British dishes. It offers a traditional Sunday carvery 1-2:30 pm. Afternoon Tea is served 1-6:30 pm daily, either here or on the terrace, and has a gin-inspired menu option. $$. • Garden Room features Afternoon Tea in the beautiful Garden Room. • Light snacks, cocktails, and craft beer are served outdoor in the Garden by the River Cam.
  • Lounge/Bar: Garden Bar is comfortable and stylish, with plush seating in mustard and wine tones and a light conservatory area. It serves light food, as well as drinks from beer to cocktails. There are pop-up bars on the terrace in summer.
  • Breakfast: Continental breakfast, either included in the room rate or £18.95 per person per day. Served 6:30-10 am Monday-Friday and 7-11 am weekends in the restaurant. Also available in the room.
  • Room Service: Room service available from the Riverside Brasserie around the clock.

Graduate – Rooms

  • Room Types: Twin Room/King Room • King Room with Riverview • Twin Room/King Room with Balcony • Triple Room • Junior Suite • Penthouse Suite • List of all Rooms
  • Smoking Rooms: The hotel is 100% smoke-free.
  • Best Room: Choose room 327, a King Room with Riverview, for a gorgeous view of the river and colleges. Or the ultra-spacious Penthouse Suite with its 2 rooms, dining area, and roof terrace.
  • For Families: Triple Rooms sleep 3 people, and 4 with an extra rollaway bed. Junior Suites have plenty of space to add an extra bed and come with a sofa bed each.

Graduate – Local Transport

  • Walking: The Fitzwilliam Museum is around the corner, and the University Museum’s 5 minutes away. It’s a 5-minute stroll to the most popular colleges, while the river and the nearest punting station are just outside. 12 minutes’ walk (0.6 mile) to the central bus station and about 25 minutes (1.2 miles) to the railway station. Walking is often the best way of getting around central Cambridge with its pedestrianized streets.
  • Bus: The U bus runs from the nearby Pembroke Street stop direct to the railway station in one direction, and to the central bus station in the other; other local buses and coaches to London airports depart from there.
  • Taxis, Uber: A taxi from the train station to the hotel costs around £6. An Uber is slightly cheaper.

Graduate – What’s Nearby?

Recommended Nearby Tours

  • Punting – One of the most popular things to do in Cambridge (particularly in nice weather) is to go punting: using a long pole to steer and propel your punt along the River Cam, past the city’s many colleges. Punting companies such as Scudamore’s, Let’s Go Punting, and Cambridge Punters are found by the bridge at the top of Bridge Street (0.8 mile), at the north end of the city center. Scudamore’s also has a second location by the bridge on Mill Lane, near Queens’ College (100m). You can rent a punt by the hour or else opt for a guided tour, whereby you’ll glide past the colleges and get to hear about their history from your knowledgeable punting guide (often a current Cambridge student).
  • Walking Tours – The tourist office by Market Square (0.4 mile) runs a range of walking tours. These range from a quick hour to a more leisurely stroll, visiting several colleges. There is also a Friday night ghost tour where you can hear about some of Cambridge’s creepier history. Prices start at £10 per adult and go up to £25 per adult for the longer tours.
  • Hop on Hop off Cambridge Bus Tour – Buy a 24-hour pass for an open-top bus tour that circles Cambridge’s main sights and then some. Take in the river, the medieval churches, even the WWII Cambridge American Cemetery. A good place to hop on is Downing St, an 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).

Best Nearby Restaurants

  • Smokeworks – BBQ, cooked slow and served fast, to the delight of meat-lovers. Finish off your meal with a beer, bourbon, or alternatively a milkshake (there are alcoholic options here too). (0.3 mile).
  • The Senate Bar & Bistro – A great central spot for a quick bite, opposite King’s College Chapel. The Mediterranean-style menu runs from breakfast to a steak dinner, via tempting antipasti sharing boards. (0.4 mile).
  • Trinity Restaurant – The place to go for a high-end treat. The menu emphasizes carefully sourced meat and fish, beautifully presented, and service is attentive. Order oysters and champagne for that Cambridge May Ball feeling. (0.5 mile).
  • Parker’s Tavern – A new star spot on the Cambridge scene, found inside the historic University Arms hotel. British classics reinvented with precision and attention to detail. For dessert, build your own ice cream sundae. (0.6 mile).
  • The Oak Bistro – Classy local bistro which simply does fantastic-looking, delicious food. Emphasis is on local produce with big flavors – duck, beef, and lamb. Elegant inside, with a cozy walled garden. (0.6 mile).
  • The Old Bicycle Shop – Industrial chic gastropub – formerly the country’s oldest bike shop – now serving brunch, drinks, lunch, and dinner. Offers tempting vegetarian and vegan options like green tea marinated crispy tofu and pulled jackfruit kebabs. (0.7 mile).
  • De Luca Cucina & Bar – Tasty modern Italian fare, including lunchtime sharing plates – look for the Cicchetti menu. Their top floor piano bar won Cambridge’s Bar of the Year 2018. (0.7 mile).
  • Stem + Glory – Friendly vegan place that’s serious about creating delicious food to tempt everyone, from lasagna with creamy cashew bechamel to raw raspberry cheesecake. Drop by for a quick coffee and cake, or a leisurely brunch or dinner. There’s also a fine vegan bar. (0.7 mile).

Best Nearby Bars and Breweries

  • The Anchor – Opposite Queens’ College and on the river, this pub is great for before/after hiring a punt at Scudamore’s punt station, right outside. Alternatively, sit on the terrace in the sun, enjoy a jug of Pimm’s or some comforting pub food, and simply watch the action on the river. (0.1 mile).
  • Eagle – Sip a pint and drink in the air of history in this cozy 16th-century coaching inn. Cambridge scientists have been drinking here for years; most famously, Watson and Crick first announced their discovery of the structure of DNA right here. (0.3 mile).
  • Granta – A pretty waterside pub, perched by a mill pond. The riverside beer garden offers the perfect spot to relax with a gin or ale and watch the punters pass by. (0.3 mile).
  • Pint Shop – Cool yet friendly bar specializing in craft beer and gin (over 100 varieties). The food – dry aged steaks, coal-cured salmon – is likewise award-winning. (0.4 mile).
  • NOVI – Specialty coffee by day; craft cocktails, beers, and organic wine by night. Open till 3 am, a rarity for Cambridge. (0.5 mile).
  • The Clarendon Arms – Open since 1812, this pub serves up traditional atmosphere, real ales, and a clever food menu. (0.7 mile).
  • Thirsty and Hungry – This quirky bottle shop/bar/café serves a good selection of low-intervention wines and craft beers from Northern Europe. Oh, and the food is by a Michelin-star chef. (0.7 mile).

Best Nearby Cafes

  • Fitzbillies – The oldest bakery in town has been serving its famous sticky Chelsea buns since 1920, and is still going strong. Drop in for brunch, a traditional Afternoon Tea, or just take away some sweet treats. (0.2 mile).
  • Aromi – Sicilian café with a window stuffed full of sourdough pizzas, arancini, and cannoli. Everything is handmade, authentic, and delicious, as the busy interior suggests. Finish things off with the extra thick hot chocolate. (0.3 mile).
  • Hot Numbers Coffee – Chilled out cafe with its own micro-roastery, so you know they’re serious about their coffee. Serves single origin coffees, as well as cakes from local favorite Fitzbillies. (0.4 mile).

Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops

  • Bene’t Street/Peas Hill – Arty accessories and cute gifts at Podarok and Ark, and handmade jewelry, ceramics, and glass at Cambridge Contemporary Crafts. (0.3 mile).
  • Grand Arcade/Lion Yard – As close to a shiny shopping mall as Cambridge gets. A good mix of British and international brands, from the affordable (JD Sports, Topshop) to the high-end (Fossil, Rigby & Peller). Tech lovers can head for the Apple Store, Menkind, or Raspberry Pi. (0.3 mile).
  • Fudge Kitchen – A place of sweet, creamy delights opposite the gates of King’s College. The fudge is handmade daily in front of hungry tourists. Come in for a free sample and you’ll be sure to buy. (0.3 mile).
  • St Mary’s Passage – Pick up a handmade leather bag from The Cambridge Satchel Company or stop by Ryder & Amies for an official Cambridge University sweatshirt (or scarf/tie/cufflinks if you prefer). (0.4 mile).
  • John Lewis – Taking up a prime spot at one corner of the Grand Arcade is this high-end department store, a British institution. Fashion to furniture, beauty, and electronics across 4 floors. (0.4 mile).
  • Cambridge Market – The market has been the city’s hub since the Middle Ages, and still runs daily. You can find everything from books to clothes and jewelry. It’s also great for fresh fruits and vegetables, and a whole range of street food stalls, particularly on weekends, serving anything from falafel to Chinese dumplings and curry. On Sundays, local craftsmen show off their wares at the arts and crafts market. (0.4 mile).
  • Green Street – Cobbled street full of individual boutiques. Find cool, relaxed womenswear at OSKA, funky footwear at Modish, and complete your look at Laird Hatters. (0.5 mile).
  • Ted Baker – Polished but quirky British mens and womenswear designer. By the Grand Arcade. (0.5 mile).
  • Heffers – A Cambridge institution since 1876, this bookshop is a true pleasure to browse. There’s a brilliant children’s department, a vast range of board games, and regular events. (0.5 mile).

Nearby Attractions

  • Queens’ College – A pretty medieval college of red brick, Queens’ sits right on the river. It features a 15th-century Old Court, leading to a stunningly decorated Old Hall, a Tudor President’s Lodge, and the tower in which Erasmus once stayed. The graceful Mathematical Bridge, which joins the older part of the college to the new, is rumored to have been designed by Newton and originally built without nails (both untrue). (0.2 mile).
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum – One of the first public art museums in the UK, this palatial neoclassical building holds a seriously impressive collection. Choose from antiquities drawn from the Near East, Egypt, and Rome; brightly illuminated manuscripts; artworks that span the 13th to the 21st centuries; and several more treasures. (0.2 mile).
  • King’s College – Unmissable, the most iconic place in Cambridge. The chapel is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture; buy a ticket online or from the visitor’s center across the street, then walk in to stare up at the largest fan-vaulted ceiling in the world. The chapel remains accessible from Senate House passage in spring when the rest of the college is closed to visitors. During term time, fans of choral music can hear evensong sung by the famous choir each day for free; book well in advance for the legendary Christmas concert. (0.3 mile).
  • University Museum Of Zoology – Gasp at mammoths and giant ground sloths and peer at insects and molluscs from one of the best collections of its kind. Connected to the history of the science as it is, the museum holds specimens collected by the great naturalists of the past, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, which led to their work on evolution. Good for families. (0.3 mile).
  • Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – Explore 2 million years of human history through objects, including a large collection from the voyages of Captain Cook, and see the work of contemporary indigenous artists. (0.3 mile).
  • Great St Mary’s Church – The university church stands gracefully above the market, at the center of Cambridge today as it was when erected in the 14th-century. Climb the 123 steps of the Tower for sweeping views of the colleges and the city (tickets are £4 for individuals and £12 for families Monday-Friday, and £5 and £15 respectively on weekends). (0.4 mile).
  • The Polar Museum – A small but rich museum of polar exploration, communities, and research. See equipment and poignant journals from expeditions by Scott and Shackleton; art, scrimshaw, and clothing from people native to the Arctic; and active work by the Scott Polar Research Institute looking at ice, climate, and of course, penguins. (0.6 mile).
  • Trinity College – The richest and largest of the colleges, Trinity has an academic grandeur to match, boasting more Nobel Prize winners than all of France. Walk through the Great Gate, under the frowning eye of college founder Henry VIII, and wonder at the scale and elegance of the 16th-century Great Court. Behind this are the graceful cloisters of Neville’s Court and the famous Wren Library, where visitors can see Isaac Newton’s copy of the Principia Mathematica and AA Milne’s original Winnie the Pooh, among other treasures. (0.5 mile).
  • St John’s College – Red brick and very handsome, John’s is second in size only to its neighbor Trinity. Venture through the spectacular gate, and you will find a series of majestic courts, leading to a beautiful 19th-century chapel and Cambridge’s own Bridge of Sighs. Over the river is the neo-Gothic New Court, known as the ‘Wedding Cake’, the college gardens, and beautiful views of the Backs of Trinity and beyond. (0.6 mile).
  • The Round Church – A rarity even for a town loaded with history, this is one of only 4 round churches in the country. Built in 1130, it transports visitors back to Norman times. It also houses an exhibition on the history of the university. (0.6 mile).

Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores

  • Cambridge Market – The best selection of fresh produce in town (particularly on weekdays), plus an excellent cheese selection, and food stalls on weekends. (0.4 mile).
  • Marks and Spencer Food Hall – Grocery section of respected department store. On the pricey side, but high quality food. (0.5 mile).
  • Sainsbury’s – Main city branch of quality supermarket. Good selection of groceries and essentials. (0.6 mile).

Graduate – The Hotel

The hotel is located along the river bank.

View from the river. The Graduate hotel stretches out along the bank, with a lovely terrace and garden area. Punts and kayaks are available for hire just outside your window.

The Riverside Brasserie serves classic British fare.

The Riverside Brasserie serves classic British dishes and indulgent afternoon teas.

Twist Bar serves bottomless brunches.

Twist Bar offers plenty of quiet space to enjoy drinks and light food, including a bottomless brunch.

The conservatory has stunning garden views.

The conservatory in Twist Bar is warm and sunny, with a stunning view of the garden, of course.

The garden is very popular with guests.

The garden at the hotel features games such as croquet. Guests can also simply enjoy a drink or afternoon tea watching people punting by on the river.

The King Room with Riverview is on the 3rd floor.

Room 327 on the 3rd floor is a spacious, modern King Room with Riverview on 2 sides.

Extras include a welcome fruit basket.

Service is warm and friendly, with little extras on offer, including a welcome fruit basket.

Room 327 has excellent views.

The view from Room 327 is very special, showing the river, the University Library tower on the left, and glimpses of several colleges, including the spires of King’s College Chapel.

The bathrooms are modern.

Bathrooms are sleek and modern, with free Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries.

Bathrooms feature baths and/or showers.

Bathrooms are also equipped with a bath or a rain shower, or both in the suites.

Even the smallest room is spacious.

Even the smallest King Room is large and comfortable, with a work area and minibar/fridge. Rooms with twin beds are available too.

The Junior Suite offers great river views.

The Junior Suite comes with a king bed, double sofa bed, and balcony from where you can sit and enjoy the lovely river view in peace.

The impressive Fitzwilliam Museum is opposite the hotel.

Around the corner and southeast from the hotel, you will find the Fitzwilliam Museum, or ‘Fitz’. Cambridge’s answer to the British Museum holds a seriously impressive collection of art and antiquities.

The chapel at King's College is world-famous.

Stroll north and you’ll come to King’s College, Cambridge’s ultimate attraction. Here the world-famous chapel is seen from the Backs, in all its spiky Gothic splendor.

The Great Gate at Trinity College is worth a see.

Trinity College, the richest and largest, is a bit further along from King’s. Here is the Great Gate, where Henry VIII’s statue clutches a chair leg as a result of a student prank.

The historic round church is nearby.

The Round Church is just up the street from Trinity. A rare building, dating back to 1130, it will transport you back to Norman times.

The wooden Mathematical Bridge close by is a Cambridge landmark.

The pretty and medieval Queens’ College is visible from the hotel, just up the river. The wooden Mathematical Bridge is a Cambridge landmark, and the building on its right is the oldest, still standing building on the river.

The Oak Bistro serves delicious food.

The Oak Bistro serves up fantastic-looking, delicious food. Find it at the Regent Street/East Road crossroads, opposite the church.

Old Bicycle Shop serves great vegan and non-vegetarian food.

Just a few steps from the Oak Bistro is The Old Bicycle Shop, a great food option for vegetarians, vegans, and their meat-loving friends.

Clarendon Arms serve great ales and food.

Head across the green of Parker’s Piece to find the Clarendon Arms. This classy 19th-century pub gives you real ales and really good food.

Thirsty and Hungry has a Michelin-star chef.

Thirsty and Hungry is where you’ll find low-intervention wines, craft beers, and food by a Michelin-star chef.

Trinity is known for oysters and champagne.

Trinity, opposite its namesake college, is a suitably classy and high-end place. Celebrate here with oysters and champagne.

Granta is a picturesque riverside pub.

Looking for a picturesque pub on the river? Look no further than the Granta, across the fen just behind the hotel.

Eagle is a historic pub nearby.

If you’re in the mood for a pint served with a side of history, head to the Eagle, 6 minutes away, near King’s. This was Watson and Crick’s local pub, where they first announced the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Aromi is a great Sicilian café.

Across the street from Pint Shop, Aromi is a great Sicilian café, tempting passersby in with a window stuffed full of fresh delicacies.

Pint Shop has a menu selected by the Michelin guide.

Fans of craft beer, gins, and food selected by the Michelin guide should all go straight to Pint Shop.

Hot Numbers has its own coffee roastery.

Hot Numbers Coffee are the local coffee kings, with their own micro-roastery. Their Trumpington Street branch is past the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Cambridge Market is popular through the week.

Cambridge Market is the true heart of the city, and still runs daily. Here you can see Great St Mary’s Church rising behind the stalls.

St Mary's tower offers great views.

Scale the tower of St Mary’s Church for wonderful views of the market and the rooftops of Cambridge.

The Grand Arcade is a popular mall.

The Grand Arcade is Cambridge’s shiniest shopping mall, with a good mix of British and international brands.

Cambridge Comtemporary Crafts sells cute, arty gifts.

Bene’t Street is the place to go for cute, arty gifts. Look for Podarok and Cambridge Comtemporary Crafts (pictured here).

Heffers sells a good selection of books and board games.

Heffers is a wonderland of books, including children’s literature. There’s also a pretty fantastic collection of board games. Find it opposite Trinity College.

Green Street has a lot of boutiques.

Green Street – cobbled street full of cute, unusual boutiques. Fashion from hats to shoes.

The central branch of Saunsbury's is the best place for groceries.

The best place for groceries is usually the central branch of Sainsbury’s at the end of Green Street.

Punting past the colleges is a favorite pastime.

Punting past the colleges is a quintessential thing to do in Cambridge, and punters take to the River Cam regardless of the weather. You can rent a punt either from the hotel or from 2 main locations, including the one on Mill Ln. Check rates and availability: Graduate

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