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Granchester Meadows and the River Cam

On the outskirts of Cambridge, walk along the Granta river through the idyllic Grantchester Meadows to a lovely village pub, and back again!

Hiking Easy

5 km
13 m
13 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
7 m
High Point
15 m
Granchester Meadows and the River Cam Map

The world-famous university town of Cambridge is a treasure trove of architectural delights. The university buildings and grounds are elegant, ancient, grand, and completely awe-inspiring. But Cambridge also has areas of natural beauty, which are far more quaint and have far fewer tourists than the University hub. Just a stone's throw from the city centre is the village of Grantchester, which is surrounded by meadows and woodlands and can be easily reached by foot if you follow the course of the Granta river.


Starting at the Newnham Meadows car park in the southwest of Cambridge, about half a mile from the city centre, walk down Driftway to Grantchester Street and onto Grantchester Meadows. The residential street turns into a dirt road and then into a small lane. Go down the lane and cross the cattle grid, entering Skaters’ Meadow, the first of a chain of grassy meadows you will walk through. The river Cam flows to your left, and in the summertime spot cows, punts on the river and locals and students picnicking under the many overhanging weeping willow trees that line the Cam’s banks. As a visitor, you may not believe that these scenes are real, but straw-hats and strawberries and cream in the meadows have always been and will probably forever be a thing in Cambridge!

Just before the end of the meadows turn right through a kissing gate and into a lane which leads you directly to the Red Lion pub on the edge of Grantchester Village. The large beer garden and a wide selection of ales on tap are the main attractions of this iconic pub. If you feel more in the mood for a tea than a pint, then head down the road to the Orchard Tea Rooms for afternoon tea and scones. Established in 1897, the rambling apple orchards complete with deckchairs and blossoming fruit trees are famous for having hosted the likes of Rupert Brooke (poet), Virginia Woolf (author), Maynard Keynes (economist), Bertrand Russell (philosopher), Alan Turing (inventor of the computer), Ernest Rutherford (split the atom), Crick and Watson (discovered DNA), and Stephen Hawking (theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author) and many other Cambridge luminaries! Find out more about The Orchard here: http://www.theorchardteagarden.co.uk/history/

After your tea or pint stop, make your way back to the meadows, but this time, head down to the banks of the Granta river, watching out for the resident herds of cows as you go! Follow the footpath all the way back through the fields in the opposite direction from which you came. Eventually, the riverbank path joins up with where you started at the entrance to Skaters’ Meadow, where you can retrace your step to the Newnham Meadows Carpark.



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features

Guidebooks in this area