Grantchester is a village on the River Cam or Granta in Cambridgeshire, England. It is a tranquil little village not to far off from the heartland of Cambridge city. The place is known for it’s nice iconic scenery and great English breakfast offerings. The area is also said to have the world’s highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners, presumably most of these being current or retired academics from the nearby University of Cambridge. It is listed in the Domesday Book (1086) as Grantesete and Grauntsethe.
The entrance to Granchester is surprisingly not a far walk from my college, all you need to do is to take a shortcut through few blocks of houses from Barton road past the college main gate and you will be greeted by the distinctive park gantry gates in no time. My dorm block mate and myself cycled to the area in a quickie, meeting a senior from queens who have her dormitory located inside the housing estates. It’s a very isolated and remote old block which used to be a school until it was brought over by the college to house senior students out of the campus grounds and into the nearby residential.
From there, there was a shortcut through some park and mashes before hitting the river’s main trail. There we met few more others from the trekking group of the morning and off we started on the walk into the heart of Grantchester itself. The path trail is a popular route for joggers and trail bikers alike. We passed few iconic eateries and pubs, namely the Green Man and the main town. The highlight of the trip will of course have to be our breakfast spot at The Orchard tea house.
The Orchard tea house is a small English garden seemingly located in this corner of England where time stands still as the outside world rushes by. It started as a plantation orchard, conceived in 1868. The Orchard then became a Tea Garden purely by chance- a group of Cambridge students who often visited the orchard for tea in the house one day asked the then carekeeper Mrs Stevenson of Orchard House if she could serve them tea beneath the blossoming fruit trees instead. It was then, on that spring morning in 1897, that the iconic Cambridge tradition started and been around ever since, particularly for Cambridge students ourselves! The tea house survived 2 world wars and still stands today over 100 years old.
The place is frequented by quite a number of famous people too. It’s a clam chill out place excellent for morning coffee or a light luncheon, with an atmosphere of a bygone age, in adherence to the footsteps of generations by sharing in the great English tradition of afternoon tea. A large garden, with tables and chairs (many deckchairs) around tables among the trees. Although it gets crowded, there are some relatively peaceful corners among the apple trees in a deck chair.
You can read out more of The Orchard Tea Garden and Coffee House located at, 45-47 Mill Way, Grantchester on their website.
It’s does get exceptionally busy during lunchtime, especially when the weather is good even in winter! Our morning breakfast visit had a reasonably light crowd, with the exception of our big group of 10 over. The food there is not cheap, but it’s still well worth a visit given the quality, prices are of reasonable value.
The menu is not extensive and focuses more on quality rather than quantity. Tea with a huge scone with jam and clotted cream sets you back about £5, freshly baked daily and very tasty. The bread for the baguettes is also very fresh. Tea or coffee for two was served in a small pot, but the staff will be happy to provide another pot of water on request. Tap water and ice is freely available with plastic glasses. You will be given an electronic call device when you order hot food- it flashes when your order is ready for collection back at the counter.
The tea garden is not all what Granchester have to offer too, our walk back on a different route by the River Cam saw many breathtaking views with vast open greens, plains and countryside- sights we never even thought existed in our own backyard! Of course what the least we can do but go trigger happy on our shutters for some great shots of our trip.
The trip to Grantchester was sure a blast, it’s a place of my personal recommendation and one I will see myself patronizing again, let be introducing visiting guests too. It’s part of the Cambridge experience.