My husband and I thought we should spend the first of January doing something more noble than nursing the regrets of our NY’s hangovers. The previous night we’d revelled at Restaurant 22 for the countdown, but the weeks of cheese feasting and no childcare had taken its toll. On New Years Day we set off to PAUS hoping to experience something a little different from the usual fry-up. What we found, in fact, was our new favourite place.
PAUS. is owned and operated by the disarmingly friendly couple Alexandra & Bart, who set up Bathing Under The Sky 6 years ago. They are hands-on from dawn ‘til past dusk, filling tubs and topping up the cedar woodfire burners as we bob about in the 40 degree water, drinks in hand. It’s a concept that the Scandinavians take for granted, but which seems so alien and luxurious to us here in the fens. Nestled on a hillside in Bourn with views across the countryside, PAUS is a relaxation centre, an event space, and a hilltop terrasse serving incredible food.
If you’re looking to do something different on the weekend, this really is the thing. A 3 hour break ticket, including wood-fired hot tubs, Finnish dry barrel sauna, cool pool and one complimentary drink (Prosecco or G&T) is £29. Alexandra recommends the coldest days for the most invigorating experience and indeed, the temperature change of the fresh air or the cool pool (I wasn’t so brave) followed by reimmersion in the steamy water brings your senses alive. It’s a winter activity! And lets face it, we could do with a few brilliant winter activities around here.
There are daytime and stargazing sessions, as well as workshops and days out. Family Saturdays (hello) offer a break for parents in the sauna & tubs whilst the kids get involved in creative activities. Other upcoming events include the Santosha Yoga Retreat, Sketching Retreats, the Coffee & Canvas Workshop, and right up my street - Boot Camp; a series of high volume workouts followed by sauna and tubs… and in my case prosecco and lunch.
So to lunch. The hilltop terrasse serves food until 5.30, and drinks until 7.30. If like me (and most of Cambridge) you’re still in mourning over the closure of Afternoon Tease, this is where you can find Jo’s cake selection. On New Year’s Day we feasted on savoury ‘Kreppes’ (crepes) with fillings, an unctuous bean stew and the ‘Green Hummus Board’ - which was vegan - and served with some of the best bread i’ve ever had in the city. And i’m not just saying that: the food at PAUS was one of the rare eating occasions when my chef husband had nothing to say but praise. There’s also Jack’s Gelato, proper coffee and a full gin list. You can read the daily menu here.
We left PAUS relaxed yet re-invigorated, with clearer heads, smoother skin and full bellies. Clutching vouchers for people we thought just had to experience this place for themselves too, we started planning our next trip. Please do pay them a visit and support this wonderful independent!
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