Anglesey Abbey Winter Garden is part of a National Trust property located near Lode, Cambridgeshire. The Winter Garden is one part of a much larger garden but is at its peak in the dead of winter. The colors, textures, and shapes are only visible in winter and provide a surreal and beautiful experience in the low winter light. This winter, they are opening the garden at night as part of the Winter Lights at Anglesey Abbey program (December 8,9,15 and 16). Otherwise, the garden is open daily 10:30 to 4:30.
Step back in time at the picturesque tea rooms of Grantchester, a place now entrenched in Cambridge folklore. There are few finer ways to spend an afternoon than punting up the River Cam to enjoy afternoon tea and scones underneath the fruit trees here. The list of former visitors here reads like a historical who's who of English high society, and there may even have been a poem written about it ...
For stunning views right across Cambridge, head to Castle Street just north of the city centre. Halfway up the hill you'll see the Castle pub (well worth a visit on it's own) and just past this there's a turning to the city council offices. Take the turning, then immediately to your right you'll see the mound and the path up to it. Enjoy views right across Cambridge and the surrounding areas.
Castle Hill, Castle Street, Cambridge
Google map: bit.ly/zAcwr6
I like to take visiting friends on a walk through a cluster of modern university buildings, just outside the main city area of Cambridge. From West Road university library through to Sedgewick Street. Many interesting buildings. Faculty of Divinity by Ted Cullinun, Faculty of Law by Foster, Faculty of Music by Lewlie Martin, Faculty of History by Stirling, Faculty of English by Allies and Morrison.
Walk down Garret Hostel Lane from Trinity Street in the centre of Cambridge. Cross over the river and cross Queens Street at the lights. Continue up the footpath until you reach the university library. Walk across the front of the university and continue on a straight path through the buildings, until you reach Sedgewick Street and then turn left back into the town for pubs and cafes.
Google map: bit.ly/q1u0x5
My wife and I visited Cambridge last weekend. Prior to visiting, however, we came across a concierge company that offers independent concierge services. We were intent on doing the usual stuff, like punting down the River Cam and looking at the University buildings, and maybe seeing a play or two, but weren't really sure what else we could do. Anyway we ended up arranging the whole weekend via the private concierge company. Upsides - we found out about some places in Cambridge we definitely would not have done otherwise. Downside - it was a little bit more expensive than doing everything yourself. To be honest though, I didn't mind paying the extra bit, as we could call them anytime during the weekend if we had any problems etc, or just wanted some advice on extra places to go. I'd recommend it:)
The various colleges of Cambridge University employ award-winning gardeners. The layout and depth of the gardens are absolutely beautiful and are not inundated with too many tourists. Take pictures, smell the lovely scents and where possible have a picnic!
Gather together a group of friends, a couple of bottles of freshly made Pimms & lemonade, sandwiches and snacks and head down to Scudamore's (c1910) on Mill Lane.
There you'll notice an array of punts, choose one of those and you'll be sure to have a wonderful day.
There's nothing quite as British, historical and enjoyable on a summers day as punting along the cam. Between 6 of you it'll set you back £18/hour or £90 for the day. Just hire on the day or if you're sure the weather will be nice you can pre-book.
The Rainbow Cafe is my favourite vegetarian restaurant of all - and I make it my mission to check out as many as possible across the globe! It is Cambridge's only fully vegetarian restaurant and I never visit Cambridge without stopping in. As a vegan myself, I find it has a vast array of choices that cater for me (clearly marked on the menu) as well as lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The menu has an eclectic feel with cuisines from across the globe you don't usually find on other vegetarian menus. My favourite thing about the restaurant is its daily specials dessert board - spoiled for choice with a range of desserts made freshly on the premises that day, including at least one vegan cheesecake (the best I have ever had!) The staff are always friendly and there is even free organic baby food for little ones.
9a King's Parade, Cambridge, CB2 1SJ
It is situated down a little passageway opposite the gates to King's College but there is a sign pointing it out so it shouldn't be too hard to find
the website has a little map as well as the menu
Google map: bit.ly/hq6qUs
Amid the elvish-named Gog Magog Hills of Cambridgeshire lies the enchanted world of Wandlebury, 110 acres of woodland paths and chalk grassland. As you walk the winding pathways of the shire's best kept secret look out for a 5th century BC Iron Age ring ditch and the Godolphin Arabian horse grave.
Wandlebury, tended and protected by Rangers and volunteers of the "Cambridge Past Present and Future" charity, has activities for young and old. Right now wade, ankle deep, through flame-coloured leaves in Jubilee Wood and Wormwood Hill, catch a glimpse of ripening blue sloes shimmering in the undergrowth and dodge overhanging boughs laden with berries and rose hips.
Among several events arranged over the next few weeks are a half day dedicated to the secret life of bees and a Hallowe'en storytelling. In November stride out with the Rangers for a moonlit guided walk through Middle Earth, but don't forget to pack your lembas bread.
Wandlebury is anything but a grim fairy tale: the stillness of a misty winter day, the colourful regeneration in spring and lazy abundance of summer make it a year-round spectacle for all ages.
Car Parking: £2.00 (Cambridge Past, Present & Future members FREE)
By car: off the A1307 Cambridge to Haverhill Road, 2.5 miles south of the Addenbrookes Hospital roundabout.
By bus: from Cambridge - Stagecoach Citiplus X13 and X13a service between Cambridge & Haverhill.
Wandlebury Ring, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB22 3AE
Google map: bit.ly/cYS966
It's free! OK, it's only one day so no camping as such but you'll be struggling to find such a mixture of attendees from hardcore hippies to grans and granchildren, plus a fine selection of music.
Midsummer Common, Cambridge, 6th June 2009 www.strawberry-fair.org.uk
General festival tips
1. Music can be better appreciated from a great height. Make friends with tall men next to you in the crowd (girls and guys) so they can put you on their shoulders.
2. Try and drink spirits rather than beer if you are deadly keen on getting a decent spot in front of your favourite band. There’s nothing worse than having to leave to pee right before they make their entrance.
3. Construct a timetable of all the bands and acts you want to see before leaving home.
4. Use Spotify to check out and listen to every band playing at the festival. Chances are you’ll be madly in love with at least one band you haven’t already heard of this time next year.
If you are going to the Secret Garden Party check out some of the surrounding countryside. Godmanchester is a lovely village very close to Huntingdon. Stroll pass canal boats, check out the Fenland countryside or visit a nice village pub. A bit further afield St Ives has a great old bridge and river front with a nice tea room vibe.
Also - someone has to mention it - Pear Cider at Glastonbury!
It was good to read of someone who appreciates the unsung delights of the Cambridgeshire fens (Rowan Pelling, Guardian Travel 14-2-09), especially since my partner and I spent Valentine’s Day in the same area, around Denver. But we didn’t have the “iron-grey” sky that she describes! The sky was blue and the winter sunshine brought out the best of the vast landscape of the Fens, with its big sky.
She visited the famous Denver sluices, impressive indeed. But how can she have missed the other attraction nearby, the Denver windmill with its wonderful tearoom and home bakery (where you can buy fresh bread of various kinds), and accompanying bookshop and leather worker?
From Denver, via Downham Market, you can pick up the A1122 which winds its way to Wisbech through a landscape criss-crossed with waterways. And just to the north of Wisbech, at West Walton village, is a great rarity: a church with a tower, but the tower separated from the church, standing 50 metres away. The church was originally built by Normans in 1240 and, with later modifications, is a real mixture of styles. It is quiet and communicates a great sense of peace.
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