I’m enjoying Pint & Pubs blog posts (here) detailing his almost daily visits to Cambridge’s pubs, which really get to the heart of 2017 pub life (often too quiet). Clearly a wise man, he often skips the slow moving cask for a Punk or a Pilsner, an option clearly not available to GBG tickers.

I can’t compete with P&P, but I have decided to visit a few of the county’s rural “gems”, so I can tell you that cask is dying and complain about the flatness of the Fens in that way you love.

Last week I was trapped in the “County of Death” and had to make a trip to Fen Drayton where youngest son learnt music theory in a farmhouse.  Middle-class, me ?

This is the Three Tuns, a gorgeous Greene King place with usual opening arrangements(i.e. closed outside dining hours).


Fen Drayton is one of the Huntingdonshire villages that will shortly be plunged into chaos by the c.£2 billion A14 improvements.

It will all be worth it in the end.  I walked via the RPSB site to Fenstanton, a largeish village scarred by thundering traffic noise and some of those “Big Skies” that folk rave about.

A few yards from Fenstanton High Street, the underpass taking you to Conington vies with Newport on the terror stakes.


Just remember, you’re in one of the most affluent quarters of England here, not Maidenhead.

It’s a pleasant enough village, with plenty of timber and thatch, and a cat that looked like it should have been in a pub, rather than entertaining tourists with its escapology.


Miraculously, Fenstanton clings on to three village pubs, almost in a row on the High Street. Even more remarkably, the sign-less Duchess has just re-opened after a long closure, so merited a half and a nosey around.

It’s an expensive looking refurb that will delight some (see bar, top). A quick look at the décor will tell you where they’re pitching this.  There were adverts for “cognac tasters” as well as these tasteful paintings.


Clearly the restaurant wasn’t up and running yet, so they were pushing the real ale, well priced at £3 a pint.  As well as the inevitable Doom Bar, Adnams and Black Sheep, they had a rare Cambridge appearance of Purple Moose.  Whether that means the owner knows his beer or like funny beer names, I can’t guess (Peaky Blinder was the other guest).  The Moose was OK, as in NBSS 2.5, which is par for south Hunts villages in my experience.

All that timber and thatch means a fair few tradesmen about, and within a few minutes they were drinking the San Miguel.  Even a funny beer name and £3 pricing isn’t going to get them off that, and why should it ?

Still, a real ale gain, and there aren’t many of those outside the city limits.


  1. Surely the subways in Maidenhead can not be worse than the ones i have walked through in St Anns,Nottingham,Salford,precinct area,Collyhurst and Haphurey in Manchester,lots more i have walked through i did a good one in the East End of London a couple of years ago but can not remember where off the top of my head.


      1. In what way is it scary Martin,
        I have tried my hardest to drink in the roughest shit holes in the country and have never shied away from walking down a street with intimidating looking people on it or going into pubs that i know will be very rough.
        One of the worst was the Crupsall Hotel in Cheetham Hill,a Joseph Holts tied house that was full of nutters who looked like they wanted a fight with anyone who walked in,i stood at the bar took my time drinking a half,so they knew i was not intimidated and i looked into the mirror behind the bar so i could see what might happen behind me.


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