St Ives
Cambridgeshire




Click Oliver Cromwell (who once lived here) to go to contents list.


A personal view
by Philip Grosset




Some recommended eating places
The Dolphin Hotel. Cross to the other side of the bridge (away from the town), and you'll find the modern Dolphin Hotel, now a Best Western Hotel. The lunch menu was once a very popular carvery/buffet but now there is only a bar menu, and the restaurant is up for sale. It is not a patch on what it was. There was a Dolphin inn on this site from at least 1716, but the predecessor of the present one was demolished in 1968. There's a website at: http://dolphinhotelcambs.co.uk.

The Golden LionThe Golden Lion. Very conveniently situated just by the Free Church on Market Hill, this old coaching inn was extensively renovated in 2017, and provides well-cooked food, served in its large attractive interior, complete with restaurant area. It has a website at http://www.thegoldenlionhotel.co.uk.


Slepe Hall Hotel in Ramsey Road was converted in 1966 from a girls' boarding school set up there in 1848, after the old Slepe Hall (on the site of Cromwell Terrace and Cromwell Place by the bus station) was demolished. Under recent owners it has been tastefully redecorated but bar meals now offer a rather restricted choice. The brasserie provides good food but service can be slow.

The hotel has its own website at: http://www.slepehall.co.uk

Cherry ValleyCherry Valley Eating House (on the left of the photo) is a Chinese restaurant that is a few yards from the bridge in Bridge Street. It's really friendly, with very quick and efficient service, and offers excellent sit-in and take-away meals, but is not open for lunch. Their buffet meal is particularly recommended. They have their own website at: http://www.thecherryvalley.co.uk

Amore is half way along the Quay. It is an Italian-run Italian restaurant (new in 2012) with well-prepared if not inexpensive food. Their website is at http://www.amorestives.co.uk.

River Terrace Cafe (previously known as River Tea Rooms) is in the last alleyway on the right as you walk down Bridge Street towards the bridge. It is an attractive riverside cafe offering coffee, tea etc and simple light meals. The tables by the windows and, on sunny days, those on the balcony overlooking the river (as seen in the photo) are particularly attractive - but you won't get a glass of wine for less than £6.60.

Nuts Bistro (on the extreme right of the Nuts Bistropicture) in Station Road is a popular and pleasant place for a cup of tea or coffee or a variety of other drinks and goodies, with good value homemade light lunches - and it's very conveniently situated for the market. Specially recommended.
The premises, together with those of the adjoining building society and pet shop, as seen above, were originally built in 1844 to house the Church of England's National School.
Over the road, to the right of it, is Tom's Cakes which is proving very popular.
The Swan and Angel (on the immediate left of the Town Hall on Market Hill) was opened by Wetherspoon's in April 2017, despite loud objections from some local landlords and residents. it has turned out to be extremely popular, offering good cheap bar food and drinks. However, it can be very crowded and noisy.

Di Rita's offers good quality Italian food and excellent service and is now open for lunch as well as at night. It is next to The Taproom at 21 Bridge Street. Its website is at www.diritasitalian.com.

Costa must be about the tenth place where you can buy coffee in the town centre, but it is very well situated and offers good coffee although it can get very busy.
It is situated next to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill (the place of constant sales) in Crown Street in premises previously used by Dewhurst the butchers, before their chain went bankrupt.


The Marsh Harrier is on the Needingworth Road by the St Ives Business Park on the outskirts of the town on the road to Bluntisham.
Most of its customers have to arrive by car, and it seems to have had very mixed reviews. However, I was very impressed with its attentive staff, the wide choice of food and the two-for-one offer that made it real value for money. But it took too long for food to arrive. Website at http://www.marshharrierpubstives.co.uk.

Old Ferryboat Inn. On the river at Holywell. By car, turn as signposted Holywell, from Needingworth. An attractive thatched pub that claims to be the oldest inn in England - although the upper storeys had to be rebuilt following a fire. A river ferry used to operate from the site, so the inn claims Hereward the Wake as one of its early customers, and liquor has certainly been sold on the site since 560 AD, although the foundations are an estimated century earlier. The bar contains what is said to be the tombstone of Juliet Tewsley, a lovelorn lass who (may have) committed suicide around 1050 AD, and now returns to haunt the place on every March 17th.
It's always very pleasant eating (or drinking) in the garden overlooking the river or in the atmospheric interior, and its lunch time menu offers particularly good value. Specially recommended.

The Queen's Head is the Needingworth village pub and can be found at 30 High Street. A narrow opening on its extreme left leads into a large car park. It offers a really good choice of well cooked food. Its website is at
www.queensheadneedingworth.co.uk.

The Pike & Eel is attractively situated by the river at Needingworth, and is approached along Overcote Road (go down past the Needingworth war memorial). It is alongside a large marina, and is a 17th century building to which has been added a spacious conservatory. The weekday lunch menu is now much more restricted (and expensive) than it used to be, as is the Sunday lunch menu, but the setting is as attractive as ever. Their website is at http://www.pikeandeelhotel.co.uk.


Three Jolly Butchers. Huntingdon Road, Wyton. A short walk from the clock in Houghton. Excellent bar (or restaurant) meals, particularly the chicken fajitas - one may be enough for two people! Sit in the large garden behind it in summer. Excellent friendly service. Specially recommended. Their website is at http://www.thejollybutchers.co.uk.


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