phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Discover: Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge
Image Credit: Edd Elliott

Discover: Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge

6 January 2017 | Edd Elliott

If you are feeling like some fresh air this year, there are few better places to trundle than Anglesey Abbey. A rolling estate nestled in the quaint Cambridge periphery, Anglesey is a paradise for those who enjoy rustic beauty. We explore its winding trails and Jacobean interiors, and tell you all you need to know about this captivating country manor.

Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust home just a short drive from the city of Cambridge. The site combines a series of diverse gardens and terraces with an historic stately home. Visitors are free to wander the 46-hectares of tranquil scenery year round, and the house is open to visit at selected times. Anglesey also curates a calendar of seasonal events, perfect for family outings.
 
Anglesey Abbey in Autumn
Photo Credit: Edd Elliott
 
Make no mistake, visitors to Anglesey will not be found wanting for greenery. The grounds border the East Anglian fens and benefit from the wetlands well-watered terrain. The estates’ central fields comprise an earthy scrubland left largely uncultivated, an ideal pasture for rural romantics. Cutting off south and east, a series of trails lead from the heath through the surrounding woodlands. The twisting system of pathways reveals a selection of themed gardens often accompanied by an array of classical statues and sculptures. A particular highlight includes a marble David and his lions ringed within a stretch of colonnades. The Pilgrims Lawn also has a certain austere beauty with its muted shrubbery.
 
The gardens host a particularly wide range of coniferous horticulture, and colours are on display no matter the season. The grounds’ Winter Garden is a moodier retreat for the colder months. A winding trail through a collection of silver birches and scarlet willows, it’s a peaceful walk for quiet February weekends. Visitors are advised to ready their noses, with Sarcococca, Mahonia and honeysuckle lining the garden’s beds. In summer, Anglesey’s cultivated gardens close to the manor offer a more manicured delicacy. The neatly arranged beds display everything from roses to chrysanthemums, exuding reds, oranges and yellows.
 
The Watermill at Anglesey Abbey
Photo Credit: Edd Elliott
 
The manor gardens lead through to the Lode Mill – a traditional watermill perched across a passing stream. The site is believed to have been used for grinding grain as early as the Domesday survey in 1086. The current building was erected in the 18th century and was fully functioning right through to the 1930s. The chalk-white paint cuts a stunning contrast to the surrounding foliage, especially in autumn, glancing off the mill’s gentle waterways for Monet-esque reflection, irresistible for any Instagramers ambling by.  
 
The Lode isn’t Anglesey’s only vaunt into the past. The central abbey dates back to the 12th century and is believed to have been founded by Henry I. The land was separated from the church during the Henry VIII’s Reformation and sold into lay hands, later converted into a stately house by the Fowkes family in the later 16th century.  It was not until the 20th century that the building we can now visit emerged. Lord Fairhaven and his brother bought the estate in 1926, and instigated an extensive series of renovations. The property was donated to the National Trust following Fairhaven’s death. Guests can now explore the manor and its medieval remnants. The home’s central staircase contains a series of gilded tapestries, displayed on its walls to view. The dining hall also has a curved gothic roof reminiscent of feudal feasts of yesteryear.  
 
Fairhaven Manor at Anglesey Abbey
Photo Credit: Andreas Von Einsiedel
 
Anglesey Abbey has plenty to offer those who are history-averse, however. The more recently constructed Hoe Fen to the east of the grounds provides a play area for younger visitors, complete with a story telling circle, wildlife observation spots, a log-run xylophone and, of course, the Lime Treehouse, a two-story lookout perfect for pretend pirates. Regular activities are hosted by the National Trust. Keep an eye on their website for seasonal events.
 
No matter how many times you visit Anglesey Abbey there will always be something more to uncover. It’s a place that rewards absentminded wandering, knitting together different lawns and vistas through daydreaming ambles. Come back in different seasons and watch the colours shift; collect conkers in the autumn and pick the daffodils in spring.
 
For more information regarding The National Trust’s, Anglesey Abbey and Lode Mill, please see online.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

Win Dinner for Two and Entry to an Exhibition!

Wallace Collection - Win Dinner for Two and Entry to an Exhibition!

Win dinner for two in the beautiful Wallace Collection Restaurant, with entry to Gilded Interiors: French Masterpieces of Gilt Bronze.

Oxford’s Hidden Gems: Best Places to Eat

Oxford’s Hidden Gems: Best Places to Eat

Oxford plays host to a cornucopia of different cuisines - so many, in fact, that it can be tough to choose between them. In the…

Top 5: Bring Your Own Bottle Restaurants in Bristol

Top 5: Bring Your Own Bottle Restaurants in Bristol

Bristolians love to eat out, but as we all know restaurant alcohol prices can be a killer. Bring in the magical label of BYOB, however,…

Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Keep It Local

Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Keep It Local

For centuries Bristol has prided itself on localism – whether in its freshly grown produce, its homegrown artistic exports (Derren Brown, Massive Attack and Banksy anyone?)…

Curious Arts Festival at Pylewell Park in Hampshire

Curious Arts Festival at Pylewell Park in Hampshire

Discover literary luminaries, cutting-edge comics and a host of family activities at this eclectic boutique festival.

‘Munnings and the River’ at the Munnings Art Museum, Essex

‘Munnings and the River’ at the Munnings Art Museum, Essex

This dazzling new exhibition explores the little-known landscapes of the renowned equestrian artist.

A Guide to Alternative Summer Festivals

A Guide to Alternative Summer Festivals

There are a lot of festivals out there this summer. With such choice available, selecting the right one often comes down to something intangible and…

‘I Could Have Done Science, But Instead I Became a Clown’: An Interview with Dara Ó Briain

‘I Could Have Done Science, But Instead I Became a Clown’: An Interview with Dara Ó Briain

You’ll know him as the effervescent, always-smiling presenter of Mock the Week, The Panel, Stargazing and The Apprentice: You’re Fired! – which he effectively fired himself…

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered at Maidstone Museum

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered at Maidstone Museum

Explore a wonderful array of boardgames - old and new!

Amadeus Martin: ‘Binge Thinking’ at the Brighton Fringe

Amadeus Martin: ‘Binge Thinking’ at the Brighton Fringe

Smart stand-up comedy at the Brighton Fringe that should get the cogs whirring.

Most popular

Win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman screening - plus cocktails!

BFI Southbank - Win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman screening - plus cocktails!

Celebrate the works of legendary actor Dustin Hoffman at London's BFI Cinema this summer!
Win a Family Ticket to The Tiger Who Came to Tea!

Orchard Theatre - Win a Family Ticket to The Tiger Who Came to Tea!

Based on the classic children's book by Judith Kerr, a trip to this Olivier-nominated play is a treat for the whole family.
Oxford’s Hidden Gems: Best Places to Eat

Oxford’s Hidden Gems: Best Places to Eat

In the second instalment of our monthly Oxford's Hidden Gems series, we take you on a tour of the best culinary corners of the city.
Win a Two-Course Roast for Two Plus a Jazz Performance!

Wycombe Swan - Win a Two-Course Roast for Two Plus a Jazz Performance!

Win a two-course Sunday Roast for two people complete with an essential selection of jazz and swing at the Wycombe Swan.
‘Ultimately Music Does Still Have that Magical Hold on Us’: An Interview with the Flaming Lips

‘Ultimately Music Does Still Have that Magical Hold on Us’: An Interview with the Flaming Lips

Explore the whimsical world of alt-rocker and Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne ahead of the band's show at the Brighton Dome.
A Guide to the Bristol Refugee Festival 2017

A Guide to the Bristol Refugee Festival 2017

This programme features film, live music, cycle rides and an Eid feast in a month-long celebration of Bristol's refugees.
Top 5: Picnic Spots in Cambridge

Top 5: Picnic Spots in Cambridge

Make the most of the hot weather this June with our pick of the perfect picnic spots in Cambridge.
Manchester on a Budget

Manchester on a Budget

Take a day trip to the city of football, Oasis, and birthplace of the modern computer without upsetting your bank balance.
‘I Could Have Done Science, But Instead I Became a Clown’: An Interview with Dara Ó Briain

‘I Could Have Done Science, But Instead I Became a Clown’: An Interview with Dara Ó Briain

One of the nation's favourite stand-ups chats to us about bamboozling the critics and his alternative life as a scientist.
Win a Fabulous Day Out at the Blenheim Palace Summer Jousting Tournament!

Blenheim Palace - Win a Fabulous Day Out at the Blenheim Palace Summer Jousting Tournament!

Here's your chance to win the perfect family day out at Blenheim Palace's thrilling Summer Jousting Tournament.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!