The world-famous university city of Cambridge is one of the most delightful destination that has so much to offer the discerning traveller, as Iwan Davies found out after staying at the impressive Holiday Inn...

A magnificent city, steeped in history, culture and exquisite architecture, it has provided the inspiration for a host of the most innovative thinkers in history, Newton, Darwin and Hawking to name but three giants.

The marvel of DNA, the wonder of Wordsworth, the music of Pink Floyd and comedy genius of Peter Cook and John Cleese all owe a debt to this wonderful place of ancient colleges and cobbled streets.

It’s a genuinely stunning place, brimming with beautiful buildings, pretty pubs and a host of things to do, from punting to partying as there is a great selection of places to enjoy a drink or two with taverns of real character at regular intervals.

A firm favourite, and for good reason, is The Eagle on Benet Street, a charming watering hole which was a favourite of the discoverers of DNA, James Watson and Francis Crick, who were from the nearby Cavendish Laboratory, and a plaque inside commemorates the former locals.

One of the former coaching inn’s other fascinating quirks is that one of its ceilings still bears the signatures of RAF and US airmen who drank here during the Second World War, their autographs made with Zippo lighters, candle smoke and lipstick before they headed off on dangerous bombing missions.

Another great boozer is the Anchor on nearby Silver Street, a beautiful riverside pub near a punting station offering fabulous views, especially in the restaurant upstairs.

And a great base to explore the city is the Holiday Inn, a couple of miles, or just a few minutes in a taxi, away from the centre.

The hotel has fabulous, comfy rooms at competitive prices and offers the incentive of children aged 17 and under staying for free when sharing their parents’ room.

Up to four kids, aged 12 and under, can also eat without charge at any time of the day in its restaurant.

The Junction Restaurant serves the award-winning Holiday Inn breakfast and is a decent place to grab lunch or dinner, with a fine selection of steaks, burgers and specials.

The hotel, which also has a gym and indoor pool, is also blessed with its lovely staff who make you feel at home.

One of the best ways to discover the city is by taking an official guided tour which is run by the official visitor information centre, Visit Cambridge (www.visitcambridge.org).

The walk included a visit to the magnificent King’s College and Chapel and the imposing Great Gate of Trinity College.

For more information on the Holiday Inn Cambridge, Lakeview, Bridge Road, Impington, Cambridge, CB24 9PH, call 00800 80 80 0800 or go to: www.hicambridgehotel.co.uk 

For a host of ideas on what to do, go to Visit Cambridge, The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridgeshire, CB2 3QJ, 01223 791500, www.visitcambridge.org.