· Exploring a National Trust property near Cambridge ·
Just a few miles from the bustling university town of Cambridge lies a sprawling National Trust property complete with manor house, mill, and ample grounds. Anglesey Abbey is another National Trust gem with lots to see and do. Make a circle around the grounds and you get to go up three floors of a mill, see formal gardens, tour a Jacobean house, and even climb a treehouse in the Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area.
You’ll probably first encounter the Lode Mill. While the current structure only dates back to the eighteenth century, a watermill was recorded at the spot in the Domesday Book of 1086, so it has some serious history here. It is still a working mill and you can buy flour produced by the mill in the shop but while you’re here, be sure to climb the ladders to the top of the mill house to see the mill wheel and other tools used to make flour. Don’t miss the high views out of the window!
After continuing through the grounds where you’ll encounter gardens and wildlife, you’ll reach the country house. Though an Augustinian priory stood on the site of the house as far back as 1135, the house you see dates from 1609, with a few details from the original structure. Bought by Lord Fairhaven in 1926, the outside of the house is a picture of perfect Jacobean refinement while inside is an eclectic scene of 1930s British aristocracy. I must say, this was one of the least visually appealing historical home I’ve ever been in, but it’s still well worth a visit. The diamond-paned windows are the real stars and monarchs and royals have etched their signatures into one of the library’s windows. A quirky feature is a (large) room decorated entirely with paintings of Windsor: mostly the castle but also the town and nearby countryside. Lord Fairhaven left Anglesey Abbey to the National Trust following his father’s legacy: his father purchased Runnymede (where the Magna Carta was signed) to give it to the nation so that it would not be redeveloped.
Back outside, enjoy sweeping views, ample places for picnics, or head to the wilder grounds to visit the treehouse. There’s certainly a little something for everyone here. We can’t wait to go back to see the dahlia garden in the autumn!