As we emerge bleary eyed from lockdown here's the lowdown on what's new near you in Cambs and Suffolk - from toasties to tipis!
The Graduate Hotel (Cambridge)
I don’t you about you but my thoughts are turning to the best alfresco spots to drink rosé. It’s never far from my thoughts if I’m honest, but I am delighted to hear that a new hotel will open in Cambridge this summer in the prime location that previously housed the Hilton Doubletree. There’s no better summer spot for watching the punts, swans, and herons, or the summer spectacle of tourists staring in shock as cows wander down the riverbank towards them. The Graduate hotel chain, predominantly in the US and uniquely focused on university towns, has bought the brilliant site and refurbishment is in full flow. We can’t wait to see the makeover, based on the beauty of some of their other hotels: think quirky, cute, and vintage chic, we’re talking Condé Naste Traveller level. We think this is set to be the hot new place to be, save me a spot by the river!
The Wine Rooms (Cambridge)
The Wine Rooms at the corner of Station Road and Hills Road has been taking shape over the last few months, and I walk past it longingly on a regular basis. With a sleek and sophisticated vibe, the Wine Rooms will open as a wine shop on April 14th and for drinkers and diners on May 18th. Expect a relaxed unpretentious atmosphere, a wide range of delicious wines you may not have tried before, great advice from sommeliers, and fab food to accompany your quaffable beverages by consultant chef Liz Young of The Mondern Table.
Cocktails and Toasties Anyone?
I sometimes dream of grilled cheese sandwiches. Ever since I watched Chef the Movie I have been a bit obsessed – the crunch is important is all I can say. Hotfoot it over to Bury (now that you’re allowed to) and you will find that the legendary toastie stall on Bury St Edmunds’ market- Wright’s has moved into a flagship location right in the centre of town. The feel is very upmarket, you could easily imagine yourself in New York rather than Bury St Edmunds. Post-lockdown (not long to go) there are plans to expand into an evening service with a new menu plus draft beers and cocktails. Martini please!
L’Escargot Sur Mer (Aldeburgh)
A pop-up of this famous London restaurant appeared in Aldeburgh last year – and great news- L’Escargot Sur Mer is here for the foreseeable and open again for outdoor bookings (limited tables) from April 12th! All I can say is the Lobster, Oh the Lobster!
GARDENS TO BOOK NOW
Psst – we have the scoop on the places that have done a right proper glow-up on their gardens in readiness for our long spring/summer of drinking outside (more on this next week). Check out the Spring garden at the Northgate in Bury St Edmunds, open for drinks from April 14th. It will no doubt be a splendid space, joining the popular ones which were open before Xmas in some of the other Chestnut Group locations, such as the Weeping Willow, The Packhorse Inn, and The Eight Bells.
Glorious Gardens at the Gonville
The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge has gone all out with its ‘Spring Terrace’ that has views of Parker’s Piece ready with heaters and blankets if it gets a tad chilly too. At the back, ‘On the Lawn’ there will be a lavishly decorated marquee with fairy lights, croquet sets, outdoor games and regular live music too. Fab summer food and drink from fizz to Pimms and club sandwiches to sirloin – so you can basically pretend you’re on holiday. Open from 12 April.
A is for?
My favourite of all shops – Anthropologie – is coming to Cambridge! I can hardly contain myself – watch out for the woman draped in boho chic, with lots of fab prints, jewellery, scarves, and hats.. no it’s not Edie from Ab Fab sweetie, it’s me after shopping at Anthropologie! Plus, I might be carrying bags of their lovely homeware too. Find the new shop in Cambridge centre in the old Cath Kitson site on Market Hill.
A Fond Farewell…
One of our best-loved Cambridge boutiques sadly closed its doors earlier this year – Elegant Atelier on Rose Crescent. However, they are currently selling some of their fantastic stock online. Beautifully curated clothes, shoes and jewellery from some of the best international brands are all available at knockdown prices, so go on treat yourselves and give this lovely shop some farewell support.