Surely, our treasures are worth a look, too
The latest edition of the Lonely Planet Great Britain guide makes no mention of Huntingdonshire. Surely our area is at least worthy of a day trip for all those tourists who fight for space in Cambridge. To address the oversight, The Hunts Post has enlist
The latest edition of the Lonely Planet Great Britain guide makes no mention of Huntingdonshire. Surely our area is at least worthy of a day trip for all those tourists who fight for space in Cambridge.
To address the oversight, The Hunts Post has enlisted the help of BOB BURN-MURDOCH to create a small travel article which, we hope, will persuade the editors at Lonely Planet to have a rethink.
HUNTINGDONSHIRE sometimes seems to be Cambridge's poor relation.
But perhaps we have more to offer visitors than our big brother down the road. Especially as so many of Cambridgeshire's attractions are crammed together in Cambridge city centre - and hidden behind a sea of tourists for half the year.
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Huntingdonshire's treasures are spread out among its historic towns and villages so that there's something special to see almost everywhere you go.
There are great little museums in Huntingdon, Ramsey, St Ives and St Neots, while Godmanchester and St Neots also have unusually fine churches.
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Or if it's just ordinary parish churches you want, we've got about 100 of them. Go to Warboys, Alconbury and Buckworth for their steeples or Bury and Great Staughton for their towers.
Try Hartford, Hemingford Grey and St Ives for riverside churchyards, Conington for some of the finest carved memorials in England, Little Gidding for the Ferrars and T.S. Eliot - and don't miss small village churches like Grafham, Barham and Woodhurst simply for their sheer charm.
So that's just 15 churches and I've probably mortally offended the parishioners of 85 others which are just as good.
Historic houses? Go to Buckden Towers with its 15th-century brickwork, built when bricks were new, fashionable and expensive.
At Kimbolton Castle you can see the work of Vanbrugh, Hawksmoor and Robert Adam - where else in England will you find three such architects all together in one building, not to mention the ceiling and wall paintings by Pellegrini?
For something smaller and more intimate, follow in the footsteps of Samuel Pepys and visit Hinchingbrooke, a wonderful mixture of many different periods.
And the same is true of Elton Hall, which still feels like a family home - except that most families don't have their rooms hung with paintings by Constable, Gainsborough, Reynolds and Alma Tadema, or Henry VIII's autographed prayer book in their library, or those acres and acres of wonderful grounds.
Still more intimate is Hemingford Grey Manor House, the riverside home that Lucy Boston immortalised in her "Green Knowe" books for children.
Have I said too much about history? Then let's not forget what else Huntingdonshire has to offer. You can go parachuting at Sibson, paintballing and golfing at Pidley, or rally karting at Sapley.
You can visit the Wood Green Animal Shelter, Hamerton Zoo Park or the Raptor Foundation near St Ives. You can have a flutter at Huntingdon Racecourse or meet Thomas the Tank Engine on the Nene Valley Railway.
And if all this sounds too hectic, there's another Huntingdonshire treasure for you to savour as well.
Beautiful countryside is all around and it's up to you how you explore it. You can hire a bike at Grafham Water or a boat at one of the marinas. You can take a pair of binoculars to Paxton Pits, Hinchingbrooke Country Park or Holt Island at St Ives and see what you can spot. Or you can leave the binoculars at home and just stroll around Portholme or Hemingford Meadow enjoying the wildflowers and smelling the hay.
You can pick up your Nordic walking poles and tackle the Ouse Valley Way or the Pathfinder Long Distance Walk, or just stroll out along the footpaths to your nearest pub.
Pubs? Don't get me started. Restaurants and specialist food shops? The woods are full of them. Oh and I've left out Houghton Mill. And the Holme Post. And the maze on Hilton village green. And lots more besides, I'm sure. There's just too much to see and do in Huntingdonshire. I'd better move to Cambridge.