07/01/2022

Walk’n’Talk: The best days outdoors at National Trust sites around Cambridge

Pack a picnic and invite family and friends to enjoy a stroll and chat at these glorious heritage locations representing the breathtaking beauty of Cambridgeshire’s countryside

1. Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill

A Jacobean-style building surrounded by 114 acres of gardens and a working watermill,Anglesey Abbey is a feast for the senses in the summer. The gardens are famous for their 40 different varieties of rose, which scent the air as visitors pass; for the dahlias that provide bursts of colour among the 230 varieties of plants in the herbaceous borders; and for the 25 acres of joyful wildflower meadow, filled with delicate blooms, fluttering butterflies, busy bees and well-fed birds.

Anglesey Abbey, Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge CB25 9EJ, just a 20-minute drive from University Arms. For more details, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

2. Wimpole Estate

A working estate for more than 2,000 years, Wimpole features a Bridgerton-esque mansion with beautiful gardens and 300 acres of parkland to explore as well as Home Farm – one of the largest rare-breed centres in the UK – home to unusual species of cattle and sheep, as well as horses, pigs and goats.

Wimpole Estate, Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8 0BW; a 20-25 minute drive from University Arms. For further information, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

3. Wicken Fen Nature Reserve

The National Trust’s oldest nature reserve, Wicken Fen is the most famous fen in the United Kingdom and Europe’s most important wetland. Home to more than 9,000 species of wildlife, Wicken Fen is quite simply a natural oasis and one closely watched by scientific communities around the globe. Konik ponies – a hardy Polish species that once roamed the Eurasian steppe but is now close to extinction – have been imported here to munch their way through the grasses and reeds of the wetlands and assist in conservation efforts.

Explore by bike, boat or on foot to experience The Wicken Fen Vision, which aims to expand the landscape for wildlife and people from the fen to the edge of Cambridge city.

Wicken Fen, Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 5XP, a 30-40 minute drive from University Arms. For more details visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

4. Ickworth

You may think you’ve stumbled into Renaissance Italy at Ickworth, where a glorious Italianate palace is set in 1,800 acres of prime Suffolk parkland, formal gardens, pleasure grounds and woodlands. Bikes, picnics, and dogs are all welcome (although they are required to be on a leash if sheep are about), and it is the ideal spot to commune with nature – followed by tea and cake at one of its delightful cafés.

The Rotunda, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP29 5QE, a 45-50 minute drive from University Arms.For further details, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.