A tour recce without Richard Jones is like Lennon without McCartney or Campari without soda, so the due diligence committee felt justified in returning to East Anglia a mere four months after their first visit.
Cambridge Recce 2 (The Wrath of Khan)
The veteran leggie made an immediate impact with his choice of luncheon venue, The Cock Inn at Hemingford Grey (if you’ve seen Carry On Dick you will have heard all the jokes). Good food and beer from a local brewery, all served in a cosy, friendly environment with a huge garden area that will be perfect for the guaranteed June sunshine.
After dropping our bags at The Arundel House we made full use of the balmy spring sunshine and headed across town to check out the hostelries that we’d missed in December.
The Elm Tree came highly recommended and certainly didn’t disappoint-fine selection of ales, friendly regulars and old pub memorabilia adorning the walls (right over the road was The Cricketers but we didn’t feel qualified to enter).
A few hundred yards down the road is my personal favourite, The Free Press-A quirky collection of small, low ceilinged rooms (with one containing the wreck from the 1984 Boat Race) plus a lovely small garden which acted as a sun trap while we studied the map in search of our next port of call.
The much lauded Cambridge Blue was a real disappointment. Terse service from uninterested bar staff, uncomfortable seating and what looked like a collection of Christmas lights that hadn’t been taken down. I sensed this place possibly catered for the less seasoned customer (those who like popular beat combos, the World Wide Web etc.) so we headed along the road to The Alexandra Arms, or “The Alex” as the locals know it, which was much better.
Another let down was St. Radegund, Cambridge’s smallest pub-lacking the character of its similarly-sized neighbours (although the jukebox will appeal to those who remember the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in 1980). As Living After Midnight isn’t really our lifestyle any more we thought it a good idea to try the food at The Architect where we will be dining on the Saturday night of the tour.
The pub trades on reasonably priced fish and chips or pie and mash, and what we had was excellent and will certainly do the job as a venue for Judge Jolly’s kangaroo court.
After a quick pint in The Castle, which we visited in December, the lightweights (myself and The Chairman) hit the hay leaving the hellraisers(who total 207 years between them) to sample The Arundel’s selection of finest malt.
The combination of two recces results in the following summary:
The best places close to the hotel are The Maypole, Champion of the Thames and The Castle. If you want to take a 20 minute walk (and I strongly recommend it) then visit The Elm Tree and The Free Press-you won’t be disappointed.
Big thanks to Timmsy for his chauffeuring and to Steve Wilson, Phillip Harvey and Pete Ames for their local knowledge and help.