St Ives
Cambridgeshire




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


A personal view
by Philip Grosset




Recommended eating places
The Dolphin across the river
The Dolphin Hotel. Cross to the other side of the bridge (away from the town), and you'll find the modern Dolphin Hotel, a pleasant place, now a Best Western Hotel. The lunch menu is sometimes all buffet and sometimes not, but the food is well cooked. However, don't turn up hoping for the carvery lunch on Sundays unless you've pre-booked (their 'phone no. is 01480-466966 or 497497). 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 an informative 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. A pity it no longer offers its once popular jacket potatoes and soup+sandwiches deal. It has a website at http://www.thegoldenlionhotel.co.uk.



The photo on the right shows it as it once was.



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 its latest owners it has been tastefully redecorated. Bar meals are very much better than they used to be but can be expensive. The brasserie provides good food but service can be very slow (it took 45 minutes for our starters to arrive).

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



Oliver's Lodge Hotel, in Needingworth Road, is an extended Victorian building, a few minutes walk from the town centre. It offers simple bar snacks (soup and sandwiches) but there is a good restaurant menu which can be recommended. It has its own website at: http://www.oliverslodge.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 they are not open for lunch. Their buffet meal is particularly recommended. They have their own website at: http://www.thecherryvalley.co.u

Amore is half way along the Quay. It is an Italian-run Italian restaurant (new in 2012) with very well-prepared food even if you do have to pay extra for vegetables! There is little choice if you want a glass of wine (there's just a happily inexpensive white, a rosé or a red), but overall it's good value. Their website is at http://www.amorestives.co.uk.



River Tea Rooms (previously Sedge's), in the last alleyway on the right as you walk down Bridge Street towards the bridge, 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. Specially recommended.Their website is at: www.rivertearooms.co.uk.


Nuts Bistro
Nuts Bistro (on the right of the picture) 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.

The taproomThe Taproom bar (on the left of the picture) is in Bridge Street, just a few yards from the bridge. It's a long narrow room with an open air courtyard at the back. I've included it here because of its remarkable opening hours: 8.0am to 11pm daily (to I.0 am Thurs-Sat) and Sundays 10am to 10.30pm. They do simple cooked meals as well as a good trade in coffee and tea, but in the evenings it is more of a bar than a place to eat. Their website is at http://www.thetaproom.co.uk/home.html.


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.


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 it is currently offering very good value. However, there is a very long menu and you may find they have run out of the dish you ordered! Even so, specially recommended.

The Pike & Eel is on the river at Needingworth, and is approached along Overcote Road (leading past from the Needingworth war memorial). It is alongside a large marina, and is a 17th century building to which has been added a spacious conservatory where you can enjoy excellent bar meals. Probably the best food in the area. 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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Photo of inn and garden