Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Cream Tea in the Orchard

Imagine finding a little peaceful nook in amongst the busy modern life, where you can sit back surrounded by trees covered in blossom, read a book, sip on cordials and indulge in a cream tea with sweet jams and thick Cornish clotted cream. The deckchair you are sitting in creaks as you lean back, the dark green fabric moulding itself to your shape and allowing you to completely relax your body for once. Happy children play in the grass, friends chat and take photos around you, and you close your eyes and feel the early spring breeze sweep over your skin.

This is how I spent one Saturday afternoon this March, a couple of weeks ago.

After a lazy start to my weekend in Cambridge, we decided to embrace the warmer weather and to go for a walk to a small place recommended by a friend. It was a gorgeous day, and as we made our way through the city of Cambridge and along the river, I took in the spectacular architecture of the buildings, watching locals and tourists punting on the water. We wandered along small quaint country lanes and past the cutest cottages, until we found ourselves in fields, dodging the odd family dog and balancing along cattle grids. The air smelt fresh, the sunshine dispersed with cooling winds, and I felt peaceful, happy that spring had finally come and enjoying the freedom of the weekend.

We eventually found ourselves in a small place called Grantchester, at a place called The Orchard.

The Orchard is a famous little haven just outside of the city of Cambridge, well known amongst residents and the student population. Its website describes it as a 'corner of England where time stands still' and that is exactly what it is. You walk through a small gate to find a secluded area away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. A small cluster of buildings are situated at the edge of a little orchard where dark green deckchairs are scattered beneath the branches. Families, friends and lovers sip on tea, refresh themselves with cordials and indulge in delicious sandwiches and cakes, all in the same spot where numerous men and women of fame and fortune have relaxed before them over the decades.

The Orchard has, in fact, been host to many famous faces over the years. A  tea house unwittingly created in 1897, it attracted many literary greats after Richard Brooke wrote a poem about it, as one of his favourite places. Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes all sat beneath the branches of the orchard and, in more modern times, John Cleese, Stephen Fry and Stephen Hawking have all taken tea in that very same spot.

I couldn't imagine a better location for afternoon tea, especially for an ex-English student!

We settled down with our giant fruit scones, Cornish clotted cream and adorable pots of jam into the deckchairs beneath wiry, wizened fruit trees. It was busy, but not so we were unable to find a space, and the garden area was full of life. The cream tea itself was delicious - nothing beats fresh cream and jam, and I washed mine down with a delightful raspberry lemonade. It was just what I needed after a long walk in the spring sunshine!

In that moment in the orchard, with the first spring air and life all around me, I felt genuinely happy and at peace with the world.

If you want to find out a little more about The Orchard at Grantchester, you can find it all on their website. There is so much more to their history, and I urge you to take a look and read all about the great story behind its humble beginnings.

If you're ever in the area, or are having a weekend in Cambridge, I urge you to take a moment to walk to The Orchard and enjoy a break in a true English paradise. It's the perfect place to take some time out, spend a moment with a loved one, or even take a second to be by yourself.

It's official, spring is here!

What have you been enjoying most about spring's arrival?



  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Despite having grown up in Norwich so Cambridge not being a million miles away I think I've only been once and that was on a work team building day to go punting!

    This place looks so lovely and I'm very fond of a cream tea x

    1. Thank you! It's a beautiful city, fast becoming one of my favourites. I would be there a lot more if I lived in Norwich - though I've heard that's a lovely city too so I can't imagine you're missing out!

      Really recommend this little beauty spot - and it was delicious.

      Thanks for your comment! xx