There are a few hidden historical gems around Huntingdon that are great for all ages – take a trip to the past with these five historical sites in and around Huntingdon.
If you’re looking for a taste of history on your next trip around Huntingdon with a senior, our team recommends you stop by one of the following sites.
Getting out and about in your local community can be a great way to stay happy, engaged, and more active in senior years. It can be fun to step away from the present and go back in time to learn about the interesting history of our town; whilst also enjoying a fun day out.
Oliver Cromwell was an English general and statesman who led armies of the Parliament of England against King Charles I during the English Civil War. Cromwell ruled the British Isles as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658. There are many interesting places to visit around Huntingdon that are staples in Cromwell’s life.
Firstly, we have Cromwell House which is a historical house where Oliver Cromwell was born. It is situated in a prominent position conveniently located on the High Street, in Huntingdon. Unfortunately, the house itself can no longer be visited as it is now a Care Home.
Next up is Cromwell Museum, home to a fantastic collection of items relating to the life and times of Oliver Cromwell. The museum’s collection comprises over 800 items, including portraits, clothing, miniatures, arms, armour and so much more.
Finally, we have Hinchingbrooke House, a beautiful stately home in Huntingdon that is now part of Hinchingbrooke School. The house was built around an 11th-century Benedictine nunnery. After the Reformation it passed into the hands of the Cromwell family and subsequently became the home to the Earls of Sandwich until 1956, including John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, reputedly the “inventor” of the modern sandwich. Cromwell museum may be best for a rainy day, but if you are visiting Hinchingbrooke house on a sunny day we also recommend taking a stroll around the beautiful park that the House is situated on. The park has its own car park, a café, and a lovely play park for your little ones.
St Neots Museum presents the history of St Neots’ busy market town on the river Ouse, from prehistoric times onwards and includes the original early 20th-century gaol cells where prisoners were detained. Take a trip back in time and learn about the life of St Neot himself, about the medieval priory that once thrived in the town, and the Civil War battle of St Neots. Discover various stories of the town and how it changed with the railroad build in 1851. The museum is located in a former police station and law court at 8 New Street and is only a minutes’ walk from the high street where there are a few public car parks. It is accessible to all as they have a ramp and level access to the ground floor, a stair lift with wheelchair available on the first floor and a disabled toilet.
Houghton Mill is a water mill located on the Great Ouse River in the village of Houghton, Cambridgeshire. It is a National Trust property and a Grade II* listed building. Although there has been a mill on this site for most of Houghton’s history, the original mill site was approximately 0.4 miles further along the river towards Huntingdon. The original mill pond is still there but now appears to be a natural backwater.
The current building was built in the 17th century and extended in the 19th century. It consists of three storeys and attics. the building is part brick, part timber-framed and weather-boarded. In the 1930s, the mill was decommissioned. Local residents bought the building, and it was given to the National Trust. From 1935 to 1983, the mill was in use as a youth hostel, and was one of the few YHA establishments where smoking was forbidden because of fire hazard.
In 1999, the National Trust put in new millstones. Flour is still being milled, and the building is a tourist centre, with a camping site nearby.
Whilst it’s not situated in Huntingdon; Ely Cathedral is arguably one of the most beautiful sights in Cambridgeshire, so we simply couldn’t leave it off our list. Ely Cathedral has origins dating back to AD 673 when St Etheldreda built an Abbey Church. The present building dates back to 1083 and was granted Cathedral status in 1109. The Cathedral is built from stone quarried from Barnack in Northamptonshire purchased for 8000 eels a year and transported along the river. Several decorative elements are carved from Purbeck marble from Dorset and a local limestone, clunch. As with all Cathedrals, the plan of the building is cruciform (cross-shaped). The building work took years to complete, and it is rumoured that 365 men died during the construction. From guided tours to the café and gift shop, there is so much to see and much fun to be had here for the whole family.
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