UK Student Life homepage
Study, work or travel in the UK. British culture and life.
A-Z index
Message Board
Contact us
cheap coach tickets and timetable for coaches to cambridge
< Up
Travel / Tours / England / Grantchester
Visit Grantchester (near Cambridge, England)
  Grantchester Meadows
  The Orchard
  The parish church
  The Old Vicarage
  The Old Mill
  Byron's Pool
  Further information


An introduction to the English village of Grantchester (pronounced "Granchester"). A famous English poet called Rupert Brooke used to live here, and it inspired some of his best-known poems. Extracts from some of his poems are included in the descriptions below.

Rupert Brooke

Recommended listening when reading this page: The Old Vicarage, Grantchester (a poem by Rupert Brooke)

Back to top


The most pleasant way to reach Grantchester from Cambridge is to follow a riverside walk. The land is flat, so there are lovely views in all directions. Local farmers often put their cows on the grassy meadows through which you walk.

The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

But Grantchester! Ah, Grantchester!
There's peace and holy quiet there
Great clouds along pacific skies,
And men and women with straight eyes

Walking to Grantchester

Cows sometimes graze in the fields

Once you have found the path you can't get lost, because you simply need to follow the path along the river until you reach Grantchester (the walk, which is about 1 mile or 1.6 km, will take about 1 hour). In summer you may see people punting on the river.

The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

And after, ere the night is born,
Do hares come out about the corn?

View across the fields in winter

The surrounding field in summer

The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

In Grantchester their skins are white;
They bathe by day, they bathe by night

Punting on the river

Local boys swimming

Back to top


The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

Just now the lilac is in bloom,
All before my little room:
And in my flower-beds, I think,
Smile the carnation and the pink

Victorian postbox

The Old Vicarage

Rupert Brooke's statue

Back to top


The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?

Back to top


The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

And is there honey still for tea?

Once you are in Grantchester, you can take tea in the gardens (or inside) at The Orchard (a tradition followed by many students and travellers since 1897). There is a free Rupert Brooke museum next to the car park at The Orchard.

The Orchard in early summer

A place to enjoy a cup of tea and a scone

There are many apple (and pear) trees in the garden

The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke (book)
Author: Rupert Brooke
Publisher: The Echo Library
Date: April 2006
Rupert Brooke : His Life and Poetry (audio book)
Author: Rupert Brooke
Narrators: Douglas Hodge & Mike Read
Publisher: CSA Word
Date: April 1997

Back to top


The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

Stands the Church clock at ten to three?

In this poem Rupert Brooke was referring to the church of St Andrew & St Mary, which is in the centre of the village. It is believed that at the time he wrote the poem the clock had stopped at ten to three.

The church tower

The church clock, at ten to three

When the First World War broke out in 1914, Brooke volunteered for the armed forces. Soon after he wrote one of his most famous poems:

The Soldier
(Rupert Brooke, 1914)

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke's war poems are much more sentimental than those of poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon who experienced fighting directly.

Brooke died in 1915: he became ill while he was being sent by ship to fight in the war in Turkey. His body is buried on the small Greek island where he died. His name appears on the war memorial, alongside the names of other men from the village who died during the first and second world wars.

Memorial to Corpus Christi fellows.
The pelican feeding its young from its own blood
is part of the coat of arms of the college

The war memorial in the churchyard

Rupert Brooke's name is listed on the memorial,
next to the names of others from the village
who lost their lives in World War One

Back to top


Byron's Pool is named after the romantic poet Lord Byron, who is believed to have enjoyed swimming here. Byron studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, starting in 1805.

The Old Vicarage, Grantchester [extract]
(Rupert Brooke, 1912)

In Grantchester, in Grantchester ....
Still in the dawnlit waters cool
His ghostly Lordship swims his pool

Byron's Pool

Actor playing Lord Byron

Back to top


Another popular activity for visitors to Grantchester is to stop for a meal and a drink in one of Grantchester's pubs.

The Green Man

The Red Lion

The Rupert Brooke

The Blue Ball Inn

Back to top


* Visitor information
The Orchard:
Scudamore's guide to Grantchester:
History of Grantchester:

* Independent travel to Grantchester
Buses from Cambridge to Grantchester:

* Weather forecast for Cambridge/Grantchester

Lonely Planet verdict: Grantchester
"Three miles from Cambridge, Grantchester is a delightful village of thatched cottages and flower-filled meadows ... Its quintessential Englishness was recognised by the poet Rupert Brooke, who was a student at King's before World War One ... There are teashops, some attractive pubs and the Orchard Tea-garden, where cream teas are served under apple trees "
(extracts from "Lonely Planet Great Britain - 2003 edition", used with permission)
Lonely Planet Great Britain
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Date: May 2009
Lonely Planet England
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Date: March 2009
Other Lonely Planet publications

Back to top


British poets: English/Reading/Poetry
Photos of Cambridge: Travel/Tours/England/Cambridge

Home page: Home

Back to top

© UK Student Life 2002-2012

* Search this website ( or the web: