A Little Jaunt Around Southern England
Here I was at the beginning of the year, contemplating travel post-brexit. Who would ever have known back then that this would be the least of my issues? So far this year Covid has claimed Costa Rica, Africa and Portugal from me, and while I know I should probably just be grateful for mine and my family’s health, sitting idle is still driving me crazy! Which brings us to this, a miniature family road trip to some spots in my own country that I never seem to get round to visiting as I jet off for more exotic shores instead…
A few hours south from my hometown of Grimsby, we arrived in the historical metropolis that is Cambridge. Bustling in the best way, this city has the best vibes, that perfect balance between old architectural gems and a progressive culture that’s equal parts chill and fun. With riverboat tours, endless boutiques, historical buildings, craft markets, cafes and more, this is definitely a city worth visiting if you’re unfamiliar with the region. And if that wasn’t enough, the standard of street performance is second to none!
If you don’t want to drive into the city or take the train, there are several very affordable, handy park and ride services around that take you right into the heart of the action. Just don’t forget your face mask!
From Cambridge, we drove a short way up the road to nearby Trumpington, where we were due to stay the night at a beautiful country pub, The Lord Byron Inn. The rooms are simple yet functional, but the service is fantastic, the food homely and the setting suitably quaint. Also, for Pokemon Go players, it even serves as a gym. Just be warned, while I had a good stay, if you’re looking for luxury this isn’t it. We are in the countryside, after all.
About a mile’s walk down a single straightforward road from here that you’d be hard pushed to get lost on, you can find the picturesque village of Granchester, at one point the home of poet and soldier Rupert Brooke.
This place is pretty tiny, and in typical English fashion there’s nothing there but an abundance of pubs and gorgeous cottages to cause anyone envy. But that doesn’t make it any less of a joy to wander idly around on an afternoon, a true example of the charms of the quieter corners of this country.
The biggest highlight in these uncertain, Covid times, however (as much as I hate to admit it), was going in a good old pub and whittling away the time with an ice cold vodka in the gardens. Lush! And just look at this place! You’d be crazy not to make the stop off!
Sleeping off the mountain of fish and chips I consumed last night, I awoke this morning ready to move on a little further to Selsdon on the outskirts of Croydon to see my brother for the first time since all this mess began. A more chilled day, we explored the surrounding woodland before enjoying a nice Sunday lunch at yet another local pub (that’s two days in a row now – wild!), and of course spent a lot of time catching up too!
The Selsdon Nature Reserve is a pure delight, and other than a sprawling golf course, its surroundings are far more rural than I’d expected. It’s amazing what you can discover between the more famous highlights, especially in the Greater London region. Not that landmarks are a bad thing by any means, as we’ll surely discover tomorrow. So watch this space!