A Little Further Afield: Grantchester

Grantchester is a beautiful, very traditional, unspoilt village on the River Cam (or Granta as it was previously known).

It’s two miles south of Cambridge, so quite close by and easy to visit. Perfect for a Father’s Day treat. If you are feeling very brave you can always take a dip! The wildswimming website describes a range of swimming opportunities along 2km of the meadows ending at the Orchard Tea Garden.

If an al fresco swim is not your thing, why not pack up a picnic and head off for a stroll along the river bank or have a meal in one of the three pubs (the Red Lion, The Green Man, or the Rupert Brooke) or find out for yourself if there is ‘honey still for tea’ at the Orchard Tea Rooms.

The Orchard was first planted in 1868. One late spring morning in 1897, a group of Cambridge students asked Mrs Stevenson, of Orchard House, if she would serve them tea beneath the blossoming fruit trees, rather than as usual on the front lawn of her house, unaware that they were starting a great Cambridge tradition. The students enjoyed their rural tea and word spread around the colleges. Very soon the Orchard became a popular upriver resort with students walking or cycling along the Grantchester Grind and through Grantchester Meadows, or by punting upstream on the River Granta.

In fact, for over 700 years, students such as Newton, Darwin, Cromwell, Milton, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Tennyson, Marlow and Spense have walked, ridden or boated from Cambridge to Grantchester Village.

The Tea Rooms has a number of walks with maps on it’s website which guide you around local places of interest such as The Old Vicarage, Byron’s Pool Nature Reserve and the Mill Pond.

The Old Vicarage was constructed 300 years ago and incorporated parts of an earlier house. Since 1780 the house has no longer been used as a Vicarage.

Rupert Brooke rented three rooms of the house in 1910 and wrote to his friends that ‘the garden is the great glory, there is a soft lawn with a sun dial and tangled antique flowers abundantly: and a sham ruin … and no drains’. It is now owned by Jeffrey and Mary Archer.

Byron’s Pool was named after Lord Byron who frequented the weir pool in the area, the site has only been a reserve since 2005 – Kingfishers and Grey Wagtails can be seen on the weir.

Journey time from Royston: 25 minutes
Cost: FREE