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History and Heritage

Just 30 minutes from Cambridge on the Guided Bus is the beautiful historic market town of St Ives. Accessible by car off the M11, A14,  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.

Find out more at www.theoldriverportstives.co.uk. Here are some suggestions for a day visit.


Morning

Enjoy the heritage and hospitality
St Ives is renowned for the warm welcome it offers to visitors. The streets, alleyways and independent shops will lead you down to The Quay and historic Bridge in the heart of The Old Riverport. The views across the river include the Old Mill and the stunning Hemingford Meadow. St Ives holds a market on Mondays and Fridays each week and a Farmers’ Market on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month.

Two important buildings are worth a visit.
The Free Church, built in the 1860s, houses a shop, café and meeting rooms on the ground floor. Outside is Cromwell’s Statue unveiled in 1901, the only one in the country built from public subscriptions. It should have been located in Huntingdon, Cromwell’s birthplace, but townsfolk there failed to raise the money required and so the people of St Ives stepped in.

The Corn Exchange, on the other side of the statue, was opened in 1864. A relatively recent campaign by residents saved it as a community centre and the restored building was formally re-opened in 2010. It is open most days and hosts a café, craft markets, Screen St Ives Cinema and a variety of community and private events.


Afternoon

History and nature
Make your way to The Broadway via Merryland or Crown Street and you will find a wide street lined with Georgian buildings. Here is The Victoria Memorial, which is not quite what it seems - read the nearby information board to find out the full story. At the end of The Broadway is The Norris Museum, the Museum of Huntingdonshire, recently reopened after extensive redevelopment work.

Beyond the museum lies The Waits, once an important mooring for large barges called lighters and the area where John Wesley probably preached when he visited St Ives in 1774. The Methodist Church still stands opposite and on Sunday afternoons in July and August free music concerts are held here.

From The Waits one can see the spire of All Saints’ Church in its lovely riverside churchyard, the site of the Saxon village of Slepe, from which the town of St Ives grew. Behind the church is a white bridge across the backwater that leads to Holt Island, an award-winning nature reserve. A remnant of the once worked osier beds, it is a great place to relax or to photograph the wildlife. On weekdays you can borrow a key from the museum.

Follow the St Ives or The Outdoors links for ideas more great days out in St Ives.To help you locate these and other sites pick up the town Complimentary Guide leaflet and map from the Town Hall or Corn Exchange or download it from www.theoldriverportstives.co.uk

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