In and around Cambridge, there are several National Trust properties that offer a glimpse into the region's rich history and natural beauty.
One of the closest National Trust properties to Cambridge is Wimpole Estate, which is situated in the village of Wimpole, about eight miles southwest of the city. The estate comprises a grand mansion, a working farm, and extensive parkland. The mansion was built in the 17th century and has been home to several prominent families over the years, including the Chicheleys and the Hardwickes. Visitors can explore the house's many rooms, which are filled with paintings, furniture, and other artefacts that offer insights into the lives of its former inhabitants. The estate's farm, which is still in operation today, provides a fascinating look at traditional farming practices and allows visitors to get up close to a variety of farm animals. The parkland, which spans over 3,000 acres, includes woodland, meadows, and lakes, and offers numerous walking trails and cycle routes.
Another National Trust property close to Cambridge is Anglesey Abbey, located in the village of Lode, about six miles east of the city. The estate comprises a beautiful Jacobean-style house, formal gardens, and a working watermill. The house was built in the early 1600s and has been home to several prominent families, including the Barings and the Fairhavens. Today, visitors can explore the house's many rooms, which are filled with artwork, antiques, and other historical artefacts. The formal gardens are a true highlight of the estate, featuring a range of different planting styles and an impressive collection of daffodils that bloom in the spring. The watermill, which is located nearby, dates back to the 18th century and provides a fascinating look at how grain was traditionally milled.
Another nearby National Trust property is Houghton Mill, located in the village of Houghton, about 13 miles west of Cambridge. The mill, which dates back to the 17th century, is one of the last working watermills in the country and offers a fascinating glimpse into the region's industrial heritage. Visitors can watch as the mill's giant water-wheel turns and see how grain is ground into flour using traditional methods. The mill also features a museum that explores the history of milling in the area, as well as a range of walking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Finally, Wicken Fen, located about eleven miles northeast of Cambridge, is a unique National Trust property that is home to one of the country's most significant wetland habitats. The site spans over 2,500 acres and includes a range of different habitats, including reedbeds, fenland, and grazing marshes. Visitors can explore the area's many walking trails and boardwalks, which provide stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and an opportunity to spot a variety of rare bird species, such as bitterns and marsh harriers. The site also includes a visitor centre, which provides information on the area's ecology and history, as well as a range of family-friendly activities and events throughout the year.
For those looking for a really enjoyable day out, these National Trust properties offer a fascinating look at the region's rich history and natural beauty. From grand estates to working mills, these properties provide a wide range of experiences for visitors to enjoy and explore. Whether you're interested in learning about the lives of the region's former inhabitants, exploring the area's industrial heritage, or simply taking in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, these National Trust properties close to Cambridge are well worth a visit.