Hotel Duke House in Cambridge, UK

Updated: November 1, 2019

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Review of Duke House in Cambridge, UK.

Duke House – Boutique bed & breakfast that makes guests feel like aristocracy.

A Victorian townhouse getaway near the heart of Cambridge, full of comfort and charm. Home to the Duke of Gloucester in the sixties, you might feel as though you’re visiting a very hospitable aristocratic relative. Duke House offers just five beautiful, airy rooms, each named after English Dukes, as well as a self-catering apartment. Liz, the owner, ensures that guests feel truly welcome; there are many loyal repeat guests, so it is worth booking well in advance. Each room is tasteful and individual, with period features, and the bathrooms tend to be luxurious and grand, with complimentary natural toiletries. Breakfasts here are famously generous, featuring delicious produce sourced from local suppliers.

Duke House – Location

  • Address: 1 Victoria Street, Cambridge CB1 1JP.
  • Area: Enviable location on a quiet street of Victorian houses near the city center, moments away from the public gardens of Christ’s Pieces. Drummer Street central bus station is very close. Market Square and Great St Mary’s are just an 8-minute walk away. Close to pretty much everything – an array of good central restaurants, shopping, colleges, and the green riverside spaces of Midsummer Common and Jesus Green.
  • 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 A or D bus to the Parkside stop, a 4-minute walk (0.2 mile) from the hotel. National Express buses are a good transfer option from London Stansted or London Luton airports; these also stop on Parkside.
  • Handy To: King’s College, Trinity College, Market Square.

Duke House – The Basics

  • Ages: Guests are a mix of professionals and couples looking for a city break or visiting children at university. Families with children are welcome, though there are only a few specific amenities for children.
  • View: Rooms overlook pleasant Victorian terraced streets and the Unitarian church at the front of the house.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
  • Laundry: In-room laundry service (additional charge). The apartment has its own washer/dryer.
  • Parking: Free parking is available on-site for 3 cars (booking required).
  • Extras: Complimentary tea and coffee machine downstairs, newspapers, port and sherry, and cake daily. Umbrellas and guidebooks are available for borrowing. The balcony is open to all for relaxing, as is the Duchess sitting room.
  • When To Book: Book 3-4 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.
  • Phone: +44 (0)1223 314773
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: dukehousecambridge.co.uk

Duke House – Amenities

  • Pool: No pool.
  • Spa: No spa.
  • Fitness Center: No fitness center.
  • For Disabled Guests: No lift, but the Victorian building has been adapted with handrails, and some steps have been removed. The Apartment is on the ground floor with one step into the hall. Accessibility details are on the website, and it’s advisable to call to discuss your needs with the hotel on booking.
  • For Families: Cots are available for the larger rooms on request.
  • Activities: Occasional events e.g. talks on globalization and sustainability in the Duchess sitting room.

Duke House – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant: As a traditional bed & breakfast, Duke House does not serve lunch or dinner, but there are numerous restaurants a few minutes’ walk from Duke House.
  • Lounge/Bar: No bar, though complimentary port and sherry are available.
  • Breakfast: Breakfast is included in the room rate and served looking out onto the terrace. Hot English breakfast and vegetarian options are cooked to order. In addition, there is a delicious buffet spread – organic yogurt, breads, and granolas; and fruits, fresh apple juice, and jams from a local nursery. Almost everything is locally sourced. Served 7:30-10 am Monday-Friday, 8-10:30 am weekends.
  • Room Service: Guests are welcome to request breakfast to be served in their rooms.

Duke House – Rooms

  • Room Types: Double • Superior Double/Twin • Mini Suite • Apartment
  • Smoking Rooms: Duke House is 100% smoke-free.
  • Best Room: The Cambridge Mini Suite comes with a plush double bed, a sitting area, and even a private balcony with a telescope for star-gazing. It can also accommodate a third guest. The Wellington is beautifully light, spacious, and airy, decorated in aqua and ivory.
  • For Families: The Apartment is self-contained and sleeps 4, with a double bed in the bedroom and a double sofa-bed in the sitting room. It also offers the option of self-catering with its fully-equipped kitchen. The Cambridge Mini Suite can sleep 3 people, with a child on the single sofa bed in the sitting room.

Duke House – Local Transport

  • Walking: It’s a 10-minute stroll to the most popular colleges, the river, and the central Market Square. Shopping options in the Grand Arcade and the university museums are even closer. The central bus station is steps away, and the railway station is 20 minutes (1 mile) on foot. Walking is the best way of getting around compact central Cambridge with its pedestrianized streets.
  • Bus: The A and D buses run from Parkside, a 4-minute (0.2 mile) walk away, to Cambridge railway station. National Express bus transfers from London airports also stop on Parkside. Drummer Street central bus station is moments away for local bus links.
  • Taxis, Uber: A taxi from the train station to the hotel costs around £6. An Uber is slightly cheaper.

Duke House – 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, 16-minute walk), at the north end of the city center. Scudamore’s also has a second location by the bridge on Mill Lane, near Queens’ College (0.7 mile, 15-minute walk). 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 (0.6 mile, 12-minute walk) 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

  • 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. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Cotto – For some time, one of Cambridge’s foodie destinations, now housed in a sleek glass extension at the Gonville Hotel. Chef Hans Schweitzer’s 3-course menu, costing £70 on weekdays and £75 on weekends, offers superb fine dining; dishes have surprising touches, such as venison with juniper berry sauce and roasted cocoa. Advance reservations a must. 9-minute walk (0.5 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. 10-minute walk (0.5 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. 10-minute walk (0.5 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. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • 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). 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Midsummer House – The fanciest table in town, Midsummer House stands alone as Cambridge’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, and it has 2 of them. Chef Daniel Clifford’s kitchen serves cutting-edge reinventions of British dishes. There’s an 8-course tasting menu and a more modest lunch menu; in both cases, vegetarian and vegan options are available. Advance booking essential. 12-minute walk (0.6 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. 13-minute walk (0.7 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. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).

Best Nearby Bars and Breweries

  • The Clarendon Arms – Open since 1812, this pub serves up traditional atmosphere, real ales, and a clever food menu. 1-minute walk (100m).
  • The Free Press – Find this backstreet pub and enjoy a beer or ale by the log fire in winter, or in the beer garden in summer, accompanied by delicious food. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
  • NOVI – Specialty coffee by day; craft cocktails, beers, and organic wine by night. Open till 3 am, a rarity for Cambridge. 6-minute walk (0.3 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. 9-minute walk (0.4 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. 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • The 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. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • 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. 15-minute walk (0.8 mile).

Best Nearby Cafes

  • Espresso Library – Friendly, airy space, where bicycles hang from the ceiling and you can dig into the likes of smashed avo on toast and eggs Benedict, accompanied by specialty coffee (including single origin). Good for vegetarians and vegans. 7-minute walk (0.4 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. 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • 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. 13-minute walk (0.7 mile).

Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops

  • 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. 7-minute walk (0.3 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. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Ted Baker – Polished but quirky British mens and womenswear designer. By the Grand Arcade. 7-minute walk (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. 11-minute walk (0.6 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). 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Bene’t Street/Peas Hill – Arty accessories and cute gifts at Podarok and Ark, and handmade jewelry, ceramics, and glass at Cambridge Contemporary Crafts. 12-minute walk (0.6 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. 12-minute walk (0.6 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. 13-minute walk (0.7 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. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).

Nearby Attractions

  • 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. 10-minute walk (0.5 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. 11-minute walk (0.6 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, £5 and £15 respectively on weekends). 12-minute walk (0.6 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. 12-minute walk (0.6 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. 13-minute walk (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. 14-minute walk (0.7 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. 14-minute walk (0.7 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. 14-minute walk (0.7 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. 15-minute walk (0.8 mile).
  • 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). 17-minute walk (0.9 mile).

Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores

Duke House – The Hotel

The Duchess sitting room offers free tea and coffee daily.

The Duchess sitting room is an elegant, peaceful space for guests to gather. There is a complimentary tea and coffee machine, newspapers, and port, sherry, and cake to enjoy daily.

The breakfast room is bright.

A delicious hot breakfast and buffet is served in the breakfast room. The room is charming and full of light from the glass doors opening onto the terrace.

The compact York Doubles are very comfortable.

The York Double is on the compact side, but still very comfortable.

The York bathrooms are large.

The York bathroom, in contrast, is very large, with a separate bath and shower amid gleaming white tiles.

The Wellington room is very bright.

The Wellington is a Superior Double/Twin room in aqua and ivory tones, full of light from the huge sash windows.

The bathroom has a large shower.

The bathroom of the Wellington is equipped with a large shower.

The Cambridge mini-suite can sleep 3.

The Cambridge mini-suite is a very special room on the top floor. Here you can see the bedroom and the sitting room, which can sleep a third guest.

The suite's bathroom features original rose-colored marble.

The Cambridge also features a generous bathroom with a shower and bath. The beautiful original features here include rose-colored marble.

The hotel has a public and a private balcony.

The closer balcony is available to all guests, while the one further away is private.

The apartment bedroom is airy.

The apartment in the adjoining building has an airy bedroom, and is decorated in keeping with the main house.

The apartment can sleep 4.

Through an arched doorway from the bedroom is the sitting room, with a large double sofa bed. The apartment sleeps up to 4 people.

The apartment has a fully-equipped kitchen.

There is also a fully-equipped kitchen in the apartment.

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

Walk 13 minutes west 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 the road north from King’s, or a 14-minute walk from the hotel. Here is the Great Gate, where Henry VIII’s statue clutches a chair leg as a result of a student prank.

St John’s College is next door to Trinity.

St John’s College, next door to Trinity. Walk through the stunning red-brick-and-gold gate to find the Cambridge Bridge of Sighs (no relation to the one in Venice) and beautiful views of the Backs.

The historic round church is nearby.

The Round Church is steps away from St John’s. A rare building, dating back to 1130, it will transport you back to Norman times.

The impressive Fitzwilliam Museum is opposite the hotel.

Southwest of the hotel and 11 minutes away, you will find the Fitzwilliam Museum, or ‘Fitz’. Cambridge’s answer to the British Museum holds a seriously impressive collection of art and antiquities.

Midsummer House has 2 Michelin stars.

Midsummer House is Cambridge’s fanciest and most famous table, with 2 Michelin stars. Find it in a Victorian House on Midsummer Common, just 13 minutes’ walk north.

The Oak Bistro serves delicious food.

Cut diagonally across Parker’s Piece to reach the Oak Bistro – intelligent food crafted from local ingredients. Reservations are a good idea even at lunchtime. 10-minute walk.

Stem + Glory serves gourmet vegan food.

Stem + Glory is unassuming, friendly, and serves gourmet vegan food for all. 10-minute walk.

Thirsty and Hungry has a Michelin-star chef.

Head just down King St to Thirsty and Hungry, and you’ll find low-intervention wines, craft beers, and food by a Michelin-star chef. 9-minute walk.

Clarendon Arms serve great ales and food.

The Clarendon Arms is 1 minute away, on the same road as the hotel. This classy 19th-century pub gives you real ales and really good food.

Cotto at the Gonville Hotel offers exceptional fine dining.

Step inside the Gonville Hotel, 9 minutes away across Parker’s Piece, to find Cotto. This is exceptional fine dining, and one of Cambridge’s foodie destinations.

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

Around the corner is The Old Bicycle Shop, a great food option for vegetarians, vegans and their meat-loving friends. 10-minute walk.

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. 11-minute walk.

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, 12 minutes away, near the Pint Shop. This was Watson and Crick’s local pub, where they first announced the discovery of the structure of DNA.

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. 10-minute walk.

Espresso Library is a great vegan-friendly place.

A quick 7 minutes away, just off East Road, is Espresso Library. A great vegan-friendly place serving the likes of avocado on toast as well as specialty coffee.

Fitzbillies is known for the famous Chelsea buns.

Fitzbillies is a local institution, just 13 minutes away near its namesake museum. Order their famous Chelsea buns – sticky and delightful since 1920.

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. 11-minute walk.

Great St Mary's tower offers great views.

It’s worth paying to climb St Mary’s tower for great views of Cambridge rooftops.

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. 7-minute walk.

Cambridge Contemporary Crafts sells cute, arty gifts.

Bene’t Street, 12 minutes from the hotel, is the place to go for cute, arty gifts. Look for Podarok and Cambridge Contemporary 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, 14 minutes away.

Green Street has a lot of boutiques.

Green Street – cobbled street full of cute, unusual boutiques. Fashion from hats to shoes, 12 minutes away.

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, a 12-minute walk, at the end of Green Street.

Punting past the colleges is a favorite pastime.

Punting past the colleges is quintessential thing to do in Cambridge and punters take to the River Cam regardless of the weather. You can rent punts from two locations, including the one on Bridge Street. 16-minute walk.

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