Just 30 minutes from Cambridge on the Guided Bus is the beautiful town of St Ives. Accessible by car off the A14, 11 miles from the M11 or A1 and nestling on the Great Ouse River, St Ives is an ideal centre from which to visit the enchanting Ouse Valley, The Ouse Washes and Cambridge.
A walk through Olde England
When you have refreshed yourself in one of the many charming teashops and cafés in the town make your way to the Parish Church at the end of the Broadway, beyond the moorings at The Waits. Through the churchyard you will find the bridge that connects you to the old osier beds now the award winning nature reserve of Holt Island. Teaming with birds and wildlife it is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the riverside setting.
If however you are feeling energetic you can enjoy a wonderful walk, along the Ouse Valley Way to the west and the village of Houghton, or complete the 5.5 mile circular walk returning to St Ives via Hemingford Abbots, Hemingford Grey and the unique Hemingford Meadow. It is a simple and easy walk, mostly following the course of the River Great Ouse, with picturesque villages full of thatched cottages and olde worlde charm. There's plenty of places for refreshment en-route, including the iconic mill at Houghton, now owned by the National Trust and open to the public as a working mill between mid March and the end of October.
Discover the new wetlands
After lunch, either in one of the many pubs or tea rooms en-route or in St Ives, you can explore the Ouse Valley to the East and the area of wetlands being created. This area is very different from the Ouse Valley Way and links into the Ouse Washes that runs through Fenland to Denver Sluice and beyond to the Wash. Years of gravel extraction has allowed the enlargement of the lakes and is creating the largest wetland area in the country, home to millions of wildfowl. Fen Drayton Lakes, an RSPB reserve is two miles away and easily reached by foot, cycle or by bus along the Guided Busway. This complex of lakes and traditional riverside meadows next to the River Great Ouse is a fantastic place to explore and watch birds with huge numbers of ducks, swans and geese on the lakes in winter. In summer, terns, hobbies and a variety of dragonflies are regularly seen. Otters also live here, but are rarely seen.
St Ives is also well-known for its nightlife with lots of fine restaurants and pubs often with live music.
If you are staying in or near the town you will probably find that there is something to do most nights and details of what is happening can be found at: www.theoldriverportstives.co.uk