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The walking tour was a pleasant couple of hours – I had time to kill and no place really to go, so I found all 16 places on the tour. There was nothing really on the tour that is a ‘must-see’ item, but it was all rather quaint and historical. Other than the Cromwell sites, it was old churches, statues, graveyards, and an old castle mound.
The tour begins in the town’s market square and war memorial, across from the Cromwell Museum. You will find six of your sixteen points of interest in this area (Huntingdon is not really big). Then you walk up the High Street towards the Cromwell birth site and return back down the High Street, passed the market square, and on to the bridge that crosses over into Godmanchester. The castle mound is not far from there and then you are full circle passed the bus station to the start of the tour.
We picked up the walking tour guide from our hotel – I assume the tourism office has a copy of it also.
You could also do this walking tour as part of a larger hike through Cambridgeshire, stopping for lunch while you are in town.
Updated Nov 2, 2011
Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdon in 1599.
There is a building that marks the spot of his birth, although this is not the same house he was born in. The white house on High Street has a sign over the door letting you know you’ve arrived. It is a private building and not for public entrance.
There is also an interesting plate on the ground in the sidewalk in front of the house with a spiral saying about the man – I found several of these at other Cromwell sites in town.
Written Nov 2, 2011
Address: High Street
The Cromwell Museum is located in a stone schoolhouse where Cromwell went to school around 1610. It is open daily, except for Mondays and is free. Enter through the back of the building since the front door is bricked shut.
It is a small museum with some interesting artefacts inside, including portraits (they have a copy of the “warts and all” portrait by Lely), coins, manuscripts, books, and medals.
Written Nov 2, 2011
Address: Grammar School Walk, Huntingdon
Phone: +44 01480 375830
I have to say that Huntingdon itself has littel to recommend it, a rather boring little town full of boring shops and boring people.
On the other hand it does house, in the old Grammar school a museum dedicated to Huntingdon's most famous son in English History - the Lord protector himself, Oliver Cromwell.
He was born and bred here, attending the Grammar school, before launching into the mayhem of the English civil war. Samuel Pepys was also educated in the same place. He had the good sense to travel down to London to write most of it. If he had stayed in Huntingdon the diary would have been alot less successful.
"Tuesday. Got up. Watched some cows. Shopped at ASDA. Got drunk. Went to bed"
"Wednesday. Got up. Watched some cows...etc, etc"
Although Huntingdon itself is not a great draw, there are several places within easy walking distance that are well worth exploring.
An impressive ancient bridge leads to the next door town of Godmanchester, which is exceptionally pretty and just to the south of the town lies Hinchingbrooke house. The house is open on Summer sunday afternoons. It's history is impressive, although it is used nowadays as the the sixth form center and staff areas of the local secondary school. The staffroom has something of the flavour of a minor public school. You can almost imagine someone saying :
"I'm off to give Dilkins minor a good thrashing 'round the back of the bikesheds for sneering at me during latin prep"
Written Feb 28, 2007
At the recommendation of the locals, we ate at The George Hotel one evening. The George is located in the heart of downtown Huntingdon and across from the All Saints Church.
They have a list of inexpensive daily specials posted, so we went into their restaurant to give it a try (we were hungry and the other places didn’t seem to appeal to us). I originally requested the beef with Yorkshire pudding, but they had sold out for the day, so I went with that always traditional fish and chips. Large portions and pretty tasty too! The service was pleasant and quick and the locals were very friendly, especially the little toddler that kept trying to make friends with us!
A plus is that there is an ATM just across the street (we were looking for one when we found the restaurant.)
Would I go again? Yes. Not a place for a special meal, but very nice for dinner out.
Written Nov 2, 2011
Address: George Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3AB