Many things herald the end of the long cold and dark of winter and the long anticipated arrival of the warmth and light of summer. The clocks change. The temperature rises. The natural world erupts into colour and growth once again. But in Cambridge one thing makes it official – when the open air Roof Terrace of the Varsity Hotel opens for the season. And that time has come.
Up On High
There’s something almost magical about high vantage points. People will build or climb all sorts of edifices just for the incredible view it affords. Seeing London from the top of St. Paul’s cathedral is to see over the mid-rise regency architecture of its central core. So much more personal than the sweeping vistas you might get from the Shard, the Gherkin or the BT tower.
But the ultimate is where you can link up the height and the view with a restaurant or bar of some description. So you can lazily take it all in at your own time in good company. Many a skyscraper offer “rooftop” bars of one sort or another. The vast majority of which tend to be mostly or fully enclosed, like that of the Shard, or the Sears tower in Chicago. Few are actual, open air restaurants/bars built onto the roof. And most that are tend to be both beyond 5 star venues and prohibitively expensive.
But the Roof Terrace at the Varsity Hotel is the genuine article. To arrive you walk up stairs through a hatch onto the flat decked roof, with only the sky above you. And while you might argue that the roof of a six storey building isn’t tall enough for great views, it is actually plenty. For Cambridge is a largely low rise city built on flat land. With only a couple of church spires and the University Library itself rising this high. From the Terrace you can enjoy close up views of the river, nearby parks and the city itself. With sweeping vistas beyond that.
As you might expect, this sort of view coupled with an excellent bar and an array of significant nibbles to munch on makes the Roof Terrace very popular. Which can itself be an issue. As a general rule, we don’t take bookings for the Terrace, for one simple reason: it’s an open air venue, and we live in England – a country stereotyped for its rainy climate. When it rains, or the wind is too high, we close. We don’t want to take a booking and then be unable to honour it. So typically the Roof Terrace operates on a first-come first-serve basis. At peak times we have to strictly monitor the numbers on the Terrace for safety reasons, and you’ll see a queue forming at street level.
But there are always exceptions to any rule. We may not take table booking for the Terrace, but if you wanted to hire out a whole section of it (or the whole thing) for an event, that’s a different matter. Not only can we section off the area for you, but also make arrangements for a bad weather replacement venue within the hotel should the weather on the day not co-operate.
So if you’re looking for a spectacular venue for a work party this summer, get in touch. The Sales department of the Varsity Hotel are always happy to hear from you.