8 Prettiest Villages Near Cambridge, England

Looking to travel off the beaten path while in Cambridge?

I travel to Cambridge at least once a year to see friends, and when I do, I love to explore nearby villages. Here are the prettiest villages within 25 miles of the city.

1. Houghton and Wynton

Houghton and Wynton is just three miles from Cambridge. This is a traditional British village with red telephone boxes and thatched-roof homes.

The most visited attraction in Houghton and Wynton is Houghton Mills. This National Trust property is one of the oldest mills in the country. Situated on a small island surrounded by ponds and meadows, it’s a must-visit.

2. Hemingford Abbots

Hemingford Abbots is a 25-minute drive from Cambridge. Much of this village is a Conservation Area where time has stood still.

Some of the best things to see in Hemingford Abbots include:

  • The Old Rectory: This grade II building dates back to the early 1800s.
  • St Margaret’s Church: This 12th-century church features iconic gothic architecture.
  • Hemingford Park: Designed in 1842 around a Georgian house, this 69-acre park features lakes and tree avenues.

3. Linton

Just 12 miles from Cambridge City Center is the picturesque village of Linton. Tucked between rolling hills in the Grata Valley, Linton is the perfect spot for hiking and scenic views.

Linton is one of the smallest villages in Cambridgeshire, with a population of roughly 4,500. However, there are still plenty of things to see and do here, including a 20-acre vineyard and a zoo.

4. Grantchester

Two miles south of Cambridge is the beautiful village of Grantchester. This is an excellent village near Cambridge to visit if you don’t have a car. You can walk here in under 3 hours or take the bus in less than 30 minutes.

Grantchester was once home to Nobel prize-winning authors Virginia Woolf and Jeffery Archer. As such, many students come from the city in search of tranquillity and inspiration.

If you’re visiting in the summer, head to the sweeping meadows alongside the canal here for a picnic. Alternatively, check out the annual Barrel Race on Boxing Day if you’re here for Christmas.

5. Buckden

Buckden is one of the furthest villages from Cambridge on this list, 24 miles south of the city. However, don’t let the distance deter you, as this village has a beautifully rich history.

One of Buckden’s most visited attractions is Buckden Tower, a medieval fortified house and bishop’s palace. Meanwhile, the nearby Upper Wharfedale is perfect for hiking, with wildflowers and scenic views over the village.

6. St Ives

Not to be confused with the St Ives of Cornwall is the village of St Ives in Cambridgeshire. This beautiful market town is situated on the Great River Ouse near Huntingdon and Ely.

If you are visiting in the summer, then St Ives is perfect for boating and paddleboarding. Meanwhile, the independent market stalls are a great place to pick up local food and handcrafted items.

7. Fulbourn

Just a 12-minute drive from Cambridge is the small town of Fulbourn. This town dates back to Neolithic times and commemorates its long history in the Fulbourn Life Wall, a piece of artwork created in granite.

If you love to hike, then Fulbourn is a must-visit. The town has a flat 25-mile marked trail along a dyke that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.

8. Great Shelford

Four miles south of Cambridge are the intertwined villages of Great Shelford and Little Shelford. Commonly referred to as The Shelfords.

The village was founded in 1100 and was the home of former US President Barack Obama’s ancestors, who sailed from here to Massachusetts in the 1600s.

If you’re visiting Great Shelford in the summer, then be sure to attend the Shelford Feast Festival. This three-day feast was founded in medieval times and revived in 1994 as a charity event with live music, stand-up comedy, food and drink.


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