Gonville – Period elegance and modern luxury meet in this boutique setting.
Originally a nineteenth-century college house, Gonville is now one of Cambridge’s swishest hotels. Think clean lines and period details like crushed velvet armchairs in jewel tones. All rooms are spacious, with sitting areas and artful decor such as classic scenes of Cambridge decorating bathroom walls. Guests can choose between two restaurants, including fantastic fine dining. Behind the main building, and surrounded by a peaceful private garden, sits Gresham House, a Victorian villa that now houses eight deluxe feature rooms and a spa. Each room has an individual botanical design, plus creature comforts (cashmere mattresses, Smart TVs, etc.) and standout features – roll-top baths, private patios, and four-poster beds. Attentive service will ensure you feel spoiled.
Gonville – Location
- Address: Gonville Place.
- Area: Poised on the edge of the historic center, the hotel looks out over the grass of Parker’s Piece. The best museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, are within 10 minutes of walking. So is shopping in the Grand Arcade, and in the opposite direction, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. There are great places to eat on neighboring Regent Street and independent shops on Mill Road, which starts 6 minutes away on the other side of the green. The central colleges and the river are 15 minutes on foot.
- 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 Citi 1, Citi 3, Citi 7, or Park & Ride bus to St Paul’s Road, 4 minutes’ walk (0.2 mile) from the hotel. National Express buses are a good transfer option from London Stansted or London Luton airports; these stop on Parkside, 7 minutes (0.3 mile) away. Alternatively, call ahead if you want the hotel to pick you up or drop you off in a Bentley.
- 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 Polar Museum, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Fitzwilliam Museum.
Gonville – The Basics
- Ages: Guests tend to be professionals during the week, and couples looking for a high-end, romantic hotel on weekends, though families with children are welcome.
- View: Rooms at the back of the main building and in Gresham House look out over peaceful private gardens.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools/jacuzzis.
- Laundry: Dry cleaning service (additional charge).
- Parking: On-site parking costs £15.
- Extras: A tour in one of two Bentleys (worth reserving in advance), complimentary bike hire, turn-down service, pillow menu, and virtual concierge service via iPads in every room. Added to this, feature rooms come with the chef’s ‘Hans-made’ chocolates, coffee machines, and Bose wireless speakers.
- 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: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +44 (0)1223 366611
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: gonvillehotel.co.uk
Gonville – Amenities
- Pool: No pool.
- Spa: Gresham House Wellness is located in the Victorian villa inside the hotel’s walled garden which also houses the feature rooms. It offers a full range of treatments, from facials and massages to waxing and nails, and uses ESPA natural skincare and beauty products.
- Fitness Center: No fitness center.
- Laundry: No common laundry room.
- For Disabled Guests: A number of rooms come with wheelchair-accessible wet rooms with handrails. Guests can also request adjoining rooms and twin or double beds as needed. There is a lift to rooms on the upper floors in the main building, though not in Gresham House.
- For Families: For children under 12, there’s a £15 charge per night each, and extra cots or cribs for under-2s cost £15 also. The number of family-sized rooms is limited, so call the hotel to discuss your needs. There are no special facilities for children, but there is a kids’ menu in the Atrium Brasserie restaurant.
- Activities: Bentley tours, outdoor cinema in summer (for an additional charge).
- Other Facilities: Dog-friendly; for a £25 charge, your 4-legged friend will receive a welcome pack – a mat, water bowl, and tasty treats. Not available in the feature rooms.
Gonville – Food and Drink
- Restaurants: Terrace Restaurant serves multination cuisine with indoor and a pleasant outdoor terrace seating options. $$. • Atrium Brasserie is a more casual dining option, serving up British classics in a relaxing, conservatory setting. Afternoon tea is worth booking in advance. Open noon-3 pm & 6-9.30 pm. $$.
- Lounge/Bar: Atrium Bar – Relax in a velvet armchair and try a locally produced gin or a bespoke cocktail, such as the Burnt Breakfast Martini. Adding to the cool vibe, there is free live jazz every Friday and Saturday night. Open daily until 11 pm.
- Breakfast: Continental as well as hot food cooked to order. Option to include in the room rate, otherwise £19.95 per person per day. Served 7–10 am Monday-Friday, 7:30–10:30 am Saturday, and 8–11 am Sunday in Atrium Brasserie. Also available in the rooms.
- Room Service: Available from Atrium Brasserie around the clock.
Gonville – Rooms
- Room Types: Classic Twin Room/Classic Twin Room with Bath • Classic Double Room/Classic Double Room with Bath • Superior Double Room • Deluxe Double Room • Deluxe Double Room with Balcony • Deluxe King Room (Deluxe rooms correspond to the botanical-themed feature rooms) • List of all Rooms
- Smoking Rooms: The Gonville Hotel is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: Delphinium, Lavendula, and Tulipa are all ground-floor rooms with access to the hotel’s private garden, and Tulipa also features a dramatic 4-poster bed.
- For Families: No family rooms per se.
Gonville – Local Transport
- Walking: 10-minute walk to the University Museums, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the Grand Arcade for shopping. 15 minutes to Market Square, the most popular colleges, river, and nearest punting station. The green spaces of Midsummer Common and Jesus Green are strollable. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile) to the central bus station and 14 minutes (0.7 mile) to the railway station. Walking is the best way of getting around central Cambridge with its pedestrianized streets.
- Bus: Buses from the nearby St Paul’s Road and Downing College stops run directly to the central bus station in one direction and the railway station in the other.
- Taxis, Uber: A taxi from the train station to the hotel costs around £4. An Uber is in the same range, though cheaper for longer trips.
Gonville – 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 (1 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 (0.7 mile). 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) 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, a 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
Best Nearby Restaurants
- 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. (0.1 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. (0.1 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. (0.1 mile).
- Parker’s Tavern – 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. (0.2 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). (0.4 mile).
- Bedouin – North African restaurant whose interior looks like a brightly-coloured tent, and whose kitchen serves up generous, flavorful tagines. (0.5 mile).
- Clayton Hotel Cambridge – Hidden inside a swanky hotel by the station is an indulgent afternoon tea venue. The original venue, the pretty Garden Room, is being renovated, but the pink velvet chairs are as soft and welcoming as ever. (0.6 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- NOVI – Specialty coffee by day; craft cocktails, beers, and organic wine by night. Open till 3 am, a rarity for Cambridge. (0.2 mile).
- The Clarendon Arms – Open since 1812, this pub serves up traditional atmosphere, real ales, and a clever food menu. (0.4 mile).
- 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. (0.5 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. (0.6 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
- 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. (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
- 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. (0.4 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).
- Chocolat Chocolat – By the entrance to the Grand Arcade, find this charming purveyor of all things chocolate – homemade chocolates, ice cream, and rich hot chocolates. (0.4 mile).
- Ted Baker – Polished but quirky British mens and womenswear designer. By the Grand Arcade. (0.4 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. (0.6 mile).
- Gwydir Street Antique Shops – Head here, part of Mill Road’s vibrant community of independent businesses, to find hidden treasures at Cambs Antique Centre and The Hive. (0.7 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. (0.2 mile).
- Arts Picturehouse – Arthouse cinema with a welcoming café-bar. Screens a good mix of new releases and classics of world cinema, and hosts the Cambridge Film Festival in Autumn each year. (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. (0.5 mile).
- Cambridge University Botanic Garden – Come for the feeling of finding lush woodland in the city, and discover a diverse plant collection and a rich scientific resource. Children will enjoy exploring different habitats, including the tropical greenhouse, and there are family events, especially during school holidays. (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. (0.5 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. (0.5 mile).
- Little St Mary’s Church – Next to Peterhouse and formerly its chapel, this church from 1352 is light and open, with fine stained glass windows. By the entrance is a memorial to 18th-century minister Godfrey Washington, with the ‘stars and stripes’ of his family crest, which he passed down to his great-nephew, George Washington. (0.6 mile).
- Pembroke College – The third oldest, and one of the prettiest colleges in town. Golden stone walls, lovely gardens, and a chapel by Sir Christopher Wren, his first completed work. Notice the memorial to the college’s war dead near the front gate. (0.7 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. (0.7 mile).
- Cambridge Junction – Independent arts venue, a little out of the center, but worth it for the range of live music, theater, spoken word, comedy, and family shows on offer. 17-minute walk (0.8 mile) or easy bus ride.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Co-op Food – Small branch of cooperative supermarket. Good selection of groceries and essentials. (0.3 mile).
- Sainsbury’s – Small branch of quality supermarket. Good for essentials. (0.3 mile).
- Culinaris – Gourmet grocery selling delicacies, including East Anglia’s widest range of cheeses. Also good for gifts. (0.5 mile).
Gonville – The Hotel
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