Chartered by King John in 1205, Huntingdon is a historic market town on the banks of the River Great Ouse. It is famously the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell, a 17th-century military leader who ruled the British Isles as Lord Protector. Cromwell’s grandfather owned the George Hotel, a 15th-century coaching inn where Shakespeare’s plays are now performed.
Things to do in Huntingdon
In the heart of Huntingdon is the Cromwell Museum, which celebrates the life and legacy of the town’s most famous son. It occupies the former grammar school where Oliver Cromwell received his early education and exhibits personal belongings, artefacts and paintings related to The Protectorate. Also on display are objects associated with Oliver Cromwell’s son, Richard, who served as the last Lord Protector.
One of Huntingdon’s most famous landmarks is the Old Bridge, a well-preserved, arched stone bridge constructed around 1332. Spanning the River Great Ouse, the bridge is Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Photograph the bridge from the trails of Riverside Park before continuing to the small grassy hill where an 11th-century Norman castle associated with William the Conqueror once stood.
A short drive east of Huntingdon is the Houghton Mill, a National Trust-run watermill that dates back to the 18th century. It is the last surviving mill on the River Great Ouse and is surrounded by the scenic Waterclose Meadows. Join a guided tour to meet the millers and see the Victorian-era machinery, then admire the paintings by artists who were inspired by the surrounding landscape.
Getting around Huntingdon
Huntingdon is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Birmingham and just under two hours from central London while Heathrow Airport is 1.5 hours away. Regular trains connect to the Huntingdon railway station and the town is small enough to explore on foot.