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8 Autumn walks with pubs

Is there anything better than a beautiful autumnal walk that ends in a pub lunch? Stroll and scoff your way across Suffolk & Cambs.

It might be getting dark a bit earlier now, but there’s plenty of day time left for some crisp autumn walks – followed, of course, with a pint or lunch in a cosy pub! Here’s my pick of 9 pubs with great walks nearby, but clearly it’s just a start as there are soooooo many. Feel free to add your recommendations in the comment box below – the more the merrier.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

  • Pub: The Rupert Brooke, Grantchester
Rupbert Brooke Cambridge

Where do we start? You could actually do a pub crawl on this walk with no fewer than four pubs to choose from on the Grantchester end alone. Our pick of the bunch is The Rupert Brooke (especially on a sunny day with its terrace), for its warming Sunday roasts, friendly service and relaxed atmosphere. They’re running a really cool initiative this autumn – Mother’s Day Take Two (seeing as Covid cancelled the March version) with loads of prizes to be won including a necklace from Muddy’s fave Eleven Fifteen Jewellery. See all the details here.

The walk: Grantchester Meadows to Cambridge circular

Grantchester Meadows

You can either do this walk as a there and back or a circular walk, and to Cambridge and back is around four miles. You could always punt back up the river if you want to cut the walking time in half! View the walk here.

  • Pub: The Green Dragon, Chesterton

Cross over the river at the end of your walk via The Green Dragon Bridge and you’ll find a pub of the same name, The Green Dragon, in Chesterton, one of the oldest pubs in Cambridge. You can follow in the footsteps of a list of illustrious former drinkers – Oliver Cromwell and JRR Tolkien no less. Enough history, we love this pub for its river views, beer garden and cosy interiors where you can work your way through the hearty good old fashioned pub grub menu.

The walk: Stourbridge Common Circular Walk

This is an easy 1.5 mile riverside walk for families with buggies, toddlers and dogs that only takes an hour and is mostly flat. View walk here. It’s the ideal country walk for city dwellers, where you don’t get the wheels of the pram stuck in the mud or come across a stile that you have to carry a child/ dog/ grandma over. This walk is particularly lovely as it runs alongside the River Cam, there are often grazing animals, and there’s a children’s play area for when the walking boredom kicks in.

  • Pub: The Dyke’s End, Reach

This pub is well known as a walker’s destination as it has a circular walk that actually starts and ends from the door. The privately owned pub overlooks Reach village green and you can park in the car park here, don your wellies (the fenland part of the walk can be boggy) and then return to your car and the cosy bar area for pints and snacks or the restaurant area for a fabulous Sunday lunch (go on, after a 5.5 mile romp you deserve it!).

The walk: Devil’s Dyke, Reach

You’ll find mostly flat terrain on this walk, but the circular route is 5.5 miles taking around 2 hours 10 mins ( although short cuts are possible). View walk here. Keen weekend walkers who aren’t going to “need a wee” half way round and history lovers will love it – the majority of the walk is along the intriguing ancient Anglo-Saxon defensive structure known as the Devil’s Dyke and the route takes in pretty Swaffham with its two windmills and two churches.

  • Pub: The Royal Oak, Barrington

Disclaimer – family history has it that my not-so-distant relatives owned and ran The Royal Oak, a pretty 16th century thatched pub in the gorgeous village of Barrington. That’s not why I’ve chosen it for this walk though… it really is a great place to rest weary legs after this countryside romp. It overlooks the longest village green in England, serves delicious dishes using locally-sourced ingredients, and the cosy interiors invite you to settle in for the rest of the afternoon.

The walk: Barrington to Shepreth riverside walk

This flat, circular walk is around 5 miles so will take you two hours. View the walk here. It meanders through some of the county’s prettiest villages as well as woodland, a nature reserve and along the river. There’s a free car park for riverside walks and the chance to sample two pubs along this walk (The Royal Oak Barrington and The Plough Shepreth). It’s also a rather good-looking walk with plenty to pique your interest, and the odd bit of river wildlife, like kingfishers, to keep your eyes peeled for.

SUFFOLK

  • Pub: The Six Bells Horringer
autumn walks pub

Just outside the main gates of Ickworth is the recently refurbished The Six Bells, Horringer. You can divert off and include the driveway as part of this Ickworth walk and then hop across the main road to this pub halfway through. If autumn decides to be a sunny one, there’s a large walled pub garden or inside you can enjoy gastro-pub fare in the light, modern interiors with your four-legged friend in tow.

The walk: Ickworth Monument walk, Horringer

5.8 miles around this glorious estate doesn’t feel that far, I promise. It’ll take you three hours, but the thought of a pub lunch at the end will see you through. The terrain ranges from parkland to forest and there are lots of lovely bucolic sights to keep you entertained. View the walk here. 

  • Pub: The Red Lion, East Bergholt

No pictures of this pub yet, because it is just about to reopen after a massive two year renovation (early rumours say it looks stunning). There’s a walk that starts and ends in East Bergholt, so you can combine a nosey round this new opening with a countryside stomp. The garden is an absolute beauty so pray for one of those gorgeous autumn days.

The walk: Constable Country at Flatford Mill

autumn walks at flatford mill

This circular riverside walk is 3.75 miles along roads, field paths and riverside meadows in possibly the most picturesque part of Suffolk. There are 5 stiles (what is this the hurdles?), but otherwise there’s very little climbing to be done. View the walk here.

  • Pub: The Bell Hotel, Clare

The Bell Hotel is a traditional coaching inn that was given a modern makeover in late 2018, but still has all the open fires and carved beams you could desire. The main pub restaurant is called Latitude 52, which serves more upmarket dishes or you can enjoy gastropub style food in the bar and lounge with your pooch in tow.

The walk: Clare Castle Country Park

autumn walks in Clare

There are six different circular walks to choose from starting in the town’s park, but for a guaranteed nice stroll choose the intermediate Clare Loop, a 2 – 4.5 mile loop that’ll take you up to two hours. View the walk here.

  • Pub: The Ship at Dunwich

Why just go to one pub when you can do a walk that encompasses two?! This walk was devised by The Ship at Dunwich and its sister pub The Westleton Crown, both of which are well-known for their amazing food and charming interiors. Your choice which you decide to eat in, but we like the idea of a starter and main in one and then pudding once you reach the second.

The walk: Dunwich pub to pub walk

This is a moderate 3.5-mile walk from The Ship at Dunwich to The Westleton Crown that goes along the coast and includes RSPB Minsmere and a beautiful beach. It sounds long but feels very manageable when you consider there’s a pub at either end. To make it circular, it becomes an 8.5 miler or you’ll need to sweet talk someone into driving you back. The terrain is fairly easy to navigate and flat. View the walk here.

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