Have a Fen-tastic time in Pidley
Get off the tourist trail for a tranquil weekend away in Cambridgeshire.
PIDLEY, IN the flat-as-a-pancake Cambridgeshire fens, is home to the region’s Mountain Rescue Team! So, at least the locals have a sense of humour.
Well, you’d have to, living in a village called Pidley, though the name means ‘Woodland clearing of a man named Pyda’. Pidley is surrounded by the fen lowlands, some as little as three feet above sea level and the region is dissected by picturesque waterways.
The local campsite features a three-acre fishing lake that is well stocked and, if you can drag yourself away, consider heading down the road to pretty St Ives.
This old river port is a beautiful and historic town on the River Great Ouse, and there’s a lot to do here. Take a ride on an electric riverboat, explore the heritage-laden waterfront or pop down to the marketplace, where you can pick up something for dinner at the Monday and Friday markets. There’s also an award-winning farmers’ market on the first and third Saturday of every month.
The focal point of St Ives is the superb fifteenth century bridge, with a chapel built mid-way over. It’s one of only three that survive in England and is very photogenic.
St Ives has a buzzing nightlife, and events throughout the year: an illuminated boat parade, a top-notch Jazz and Blues Festival and a unique Snowman Festival.
The fenland city of Ely, with its landmark cathedral is also close by, as are several beautiful and historic National Trust properties, including Wimpole Hall, Houghton Mill, Peckover House and Anglesey Abbey. If we had to pick one, it would be stunning Anglesey Abbey, thanks to its garden, mill and eye-catching winter light event. It’s definitely worth the 40-minute drive.
Make Your Stay Better
The Old Riverport Jazz & Blues Festival
The Old Riverport, St Ives PE27 5AR
T: 07900 112635
W: Various depending on acts
24 free concerts, harmonica workshops and music masterclasses are all part of this excellent event. The tunes range from jazz and blues to funk and swing. Plus there’s a charity singalong at The Lounge venue on Sunday evening.
Saturday 23 November - Snowman Festival
St Ives PE27 5AR
Price: From £12 (Ebor meeting)
The Snowman Festival begins with a snowman trail through the town, then, on the following day, there’s a craft fair and lights switch on at the town’s Corn Exchange. On the next Saturday (30 November), Santa and Snowman arrive by boat at the quay. It’s certainly unique!
Places of Interest
Arrington, Royston SG8 0BW (sat-nav SG8 0BS)
T: 01223 206000
Price: Adult £17.20, Family (2+3) £43
Houghton, nr Huntingdon PE28 2AZ
T: 01480 301494
Price: Adult £6
Peckover House and Garden
North Bank, Wisbech PE13 1JR
T: 01945 583463
Price: Adult £8.20
Quy Road, Lode CB25 9EJ
T: 01223 810080
Price: Adult £18.50