Picture this – you get in your car, you set up your favourite playlist, and take on the open road. No maps, no destinations; just your thoughts, the road, and maybe your camera to capture the sights. Doesn’t it sound ideal? I think so. I thoroughly enjoy driving. Being American and all I have been driving since I was a teenager. Even when needing to get from point A to point B I have always been one for taking the scenic route.
As a transplant to England that didn’t change. If anything, I became even more fixated and enamoured with all that surrounded me and wanted to explore those hidden gems without the pressure of recommendations and suggestions. During my first few years in England I lived just outside of Cambridge, and right on the door step to some beautiful countryside. I have many fond memories of going for drives in South Cambridgeshire, and wanted to take you with me down memory lane as inspired by chill.ie and their #HiddenDrives.
The Villages of South Cambridgeshire #HiddenDrives
Living in this South Cambridgeshire village of a little over 1,000 inhabitants gave me the opportunity to see so many hidden gems. The best thing about finding these remote roads is not knowing what you would encounter along the way. This small village has so much charm and though and it’s not a tourist destination by any means, you should still make your way around the village for a little gander at the beautiful homes and countryside. If you’re not convinced then maybe knowing the beautiful country gastropub The Willow Tree is en route may change your mind.
If having a gander at old homes and thatched cottages takes your fancy then Boxworth is a must. Driving through this unspoilt village makes for the best photo ops. My favourite discovery though, was this unassuming red phone booth. From a distance it can be dismissed as just a phone booth, but this now defunct phone booth has become a little book library for the residents of this and the surrounding villages. The book exchange is such a lovely idea, and I read many books as well as donating many of mine using this phone box. It is still in operation, so if you are in the area and want to give some books you’ve read a new home, this is one great place for them to live.
If history is more your taste, then a short drive outside of Cambridge on Madingley Road you can find the Cambridge American Cemetery. A fitting memorial to those American soldiers that helped in the war effort. Set within beautiful woodlands and located on a scenic plot of land that slopes and gives a beautiful view of the land, the Cambridge American Cemetery is a peaceful and reflective place. When the homesickness was too unbearable I would visit the grounds and walk them to clear my head. It’s a historical site that isn’t normally on people’s radar but one hidden gem that is worth discovering.
With so many beautiful things around us, a drive that is close to home down some unexpected roads can help you find hidden gems that will soon become new favourites.