Two idyllic Cambs villages make for the perfect day trip with direct train and three pubs

The Black Horse pub Melbourn.
-Credit: (Image: Google)

Two quintessential Cambridgeshire villages with thatched cottages, leisurely walks and three pubs make for the perfect day out from Cambridge. In 15 minutes, day trippers can take a direct train and be ready for a pub crawl with a rural twist.

Meldreth, a village in South Cambridgeshire, is 10 miles southwest of Cambridge. Its train station is on the mainline between King's Cross and Cambridge and trains run every half hour weekdays and hourly at the weekend. From Cambridge, travellers can take a Greater Anglia direct train for only £5.60.

The village is highlighted in The Rail & Ale Trail which lists villages and towns across Cambridgeshire with great pubs within walking distance of train stations. According to the organisers of the trails, "visiting a village pub by train can be part of a larger adventure, making the journey as enjoyable as the destination."

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From Meldreth Railway Station, there are three pubs within walking distance. The closest is a pub called The British Queen, only an 11-minute walk away. The Rail & Ale Trail said: "This quaint traditional free house pub in the beautiful village of Meldreth has a well-stocked bar with a wide range of spirits, beautiful handpicked wines, and well-kept beers including regularly changing guest ales."

Meldreth Railway Station
Meldreth Railway Station -Credit:Keith Edkins

A 16-minute walk will then take you to The Dolphin on the High Street in the next village, Melbourn. To get to the Melbourn Pub, you will need to walk from Meldreth Station down Station Road that crosses over the A10 and the River Mel directly into Melbourn.

A Greene King pub, The Rail & Ale Trail describes it as "a perfect place to meet." The pub has a lovely beer garden outside for those sunny days and is also dog-friendly. They are known for a hardy Sunday roast.

Just a little further, at a 19-minute walk, you will find the final pub, The Black Horse, also in Melbourn on Orchard Road. The Rail & Ale Trail loves its "traditional country" setting and "friendly atmosphere". Every other Monday at 8:30pm, the pub hosts folk music nights.

If you're wanting to enjoy a longer walk, Meldreth is surrounded by beautiful countryside with plenty of public footpaths. Starting from Meldreth Station, a circular walk will take you through Meldreth and Melbourn past two Churches and through Melwood Nature Reserve.

Looked after by Cambridgeshire County Council, Melwood Nature Reserve is a beautiful woodland next to the River Mel with ash, hawthorn, sycamore, beech and silver birch trees.

Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership laid out the walk on its website. It lasts for about 1.5 hours and covers 3.3 miles.


  1. From Meldreth Station take the path which crosses the field towards Melbourn. The path eventually joins Station Road and leads to the Grade II * Listed All Saints Church.

  2. From the Church take a walkthrough the village to the Hub, a community run café offering hot and cold food, and great cakes.

  3. Turn left at the Moor and follow the road past Melbourn Village College.

  4. Turn left along a footpath, then right and pass under the major A10 road then head across the field towards the railway track.

  5. Cross the railway track over a stile, and continue into Melwood Nature Reserve. The path runs through woods and along the chalk stream river Mel. At the end of the path is Grade I listed Meldreth Church.

  6. Turn left at the church from where you can return to the station through Meldreth Village passing the British Queen Pub, a quaint traditional free house with homemade, locally sourced food.

  7. Look for the footpath sign on Meldreth High Street which will bring you back onto the station platform through a kissing gate.