By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
2014 sees the start of a new revolution in accommodation. First there was the boutique hotel, then the luxury bed and breakfast followed by the urban-chic hostel and even a trend towards spare room rentals. Now, it’s student accommodation as a city break solution.
Throw away those pre-conceived ideas about student accommodation meaning musty rooms and rock hard beds – over the past ten years universities have been investing: think crisp white sheets, en-suite bathrooms, plus perhaps breakfast and three-course dinner thrown in – all for a fraction of the price of a hotel.
UniversityRooms.com is one of the UK’s best-kept secrets – where guests can pay a song to stay in a College or hall of residence for as little as £35 out of term time – including Oxford and London from just £40 – the ideal central location for a city break, sometimes in architecturally stunning surroundings steeped in history.
From the grandeur and historical significance of Oxbridge and Durham and to the more modern but equally conveniently located surroundings of Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff and Exeter – there’s a university room in most of the major UK cities, as well as over 40 cities in Europe, Canada and Australia.
Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in history on a city break for two, put up your relatives for a special occasion or wedding, stay for a reunion, conference or graduation, there’s something for everyone.
So how about exploring some of the UK’s secret escapes with a literary theme?
Enjoy self-catered accommodation in recently refurbished student residencies. An affordable alternative to staying in a hotel, visit the vibrant city of Bristol and enjoy a taste of its literary heritage by taking the Walking Britain Bristol Literary Trail
http://www.walkingbritain.co.uk/walks/walks/walk_b/2214/ The 2.4km long trail lasting six hours is the perfect way to see all of the city’s literary offerings, notably the romantic poets Southey, Coleridge and Wordsworth.
Bed & Breakfast accommodation in the beautiful colleges of Cambridge, some of the most famous and revered in the world set in the heart of a city rich in literary history. Famous graduates include poet William Wordsworth and scientist turned author Charles Darwin, while the city is featured a huge amount in both Victorian novels and tales of pilgrimage. If you’d rather take an organised tour than just wander the city streets http://tourcambridge.co.uk/ offer a huge selection.
With both self-catered and Bed & Breakfast, single, twin and en suite double accommodation available Edinburgh offers something for everything, as well as having fantastic literary connections, making its UNESCO City of Literature award well deserved. Famous authors include Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, romantic poet William Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott, crime writer Ian Rankin and author of the world famous Harry Potter series, J K Rowling. Why not take a break and go for a coffee in The Elephant House, the cafe where Rowling first began writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? City of Literature offer a free downloadable walking tour as well as providing information of where to find a more formal guided walking tour in the city. http://www.cityofliterature.com/ecol.aspx?sec=3&pid=400
With single, twin and double rooms available choose an Exeter University room as your base from which to discover this wonderful city. With connections to poet laureate Ted Hughes, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Arthur Conan-Doyle, Exeter has a rich literary past. If you’re a real crime fiction fanatic then take the Christie literary trail http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/agatha-christie-literary-trail-p1291693from Torquay.
Centrally located Bed & Breakfast rooms are available on the York University campus. Home to many notable authors, York offers the delights of the Bronte sisters, Joanna Harris author of Chocolat and crime writer Kate Atkinson. Take a look at http://www.yorkshire.com/what-to-do/literary-yorkshire/literary-trails for the best routes to take.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to stay in one of the world’s most famous cities, that of ‘dreaming spires’ by choosing a Bed & Breakfast room inside one of the prestigious colleges of Oxford University. The city has been home to many in the limelight with an uncountable number of notable Oxford graduates as well as having literary connections second to none. Oxford over the years has hosted novelist Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, poet Gerard Manley-Hopkins, Narnia’s author CS Lewis, fiction author of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman, author and poet John Ruskin, Oscar Wilde and Lord of the Rings creator, JRR Tolkien. To walk in their footsteps see http://www.visitoxfordandoxfordshire.com/see-and-do/Literary-Links.aspx for suggestions of where to visit, and http://www.visitoxfordandoxfordshire.com/official-tours/default.aspx for themed, guided tours.