This week Mill Road in Cambridge lost out to Northampton’s St Giles St in the Great British High Street Awards. North Parade, home of the craft beer revolution in Bradford, was also shortlisted.
These awards are nice to win, but not as important to Mill Road residents as their inability to stop the inexorable rise of the chain coffee shop and supermarket, with a new Sainsbury Local facing the biggest opposition.
Today’s Winter Fair is a major annual event, a celebration of diversity in a road still most famous for its pubs (rather than my being born and trained as an accountant in it). The much-changed Locomotive (above) is where I spent Christmas Day playing darts once, which says all you need to know about me.
During the day, apart from the best selection of Asian food anywhere, you can go inside many of the historic buildings, including the afore-mentioned maternity hospital, or brave the increasing winds knocking over the many brass bands and carol singers.
I’ve often compared Cambridge unfavourably to North-Western cities like Preston in areas like parks, architecture and museums, but Mill Road , along with it’s side roads like Gwydir St and Mawson Road, is unbeatable.
Today is a good day to visit the area’s pubs, with all the extra customer ensuring decent beer, but they’re never quiet. Simon Everitt’s blog contains as good and unbiased a description of the pubs around here as you’ll get on his BRAPA blog:-
We walked through the listed Cemetery to the Cambridge Blue, one of a number of pubs that deserves its own Top 100 status, and a separate write-up.
Terri and Jethro in the Blue really go the extra mile for events like this, and a good collection of ciders (rhubarb cider excellent), casks and kegs complement the reindeers and Santa well. Hofbrau for me though.
Unlike many Christmas “fayres”, the food today was very cheap (£3 for Thai chicken curry), priced to promote the permanent offerings in this great street.