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The Red Lion, Grantchester

Yet another great reason to visit Grantchester - Muddy reviews this stylish pub in the iconic village outside Cambridge.

Pub lunch followed by a punt? Go on then! Muddy Cambs reviews this family friendly pub in Grantchester.

white thatched pub at night


Grantchester is said to have the world’s highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners living within its village boundary. Lying just two miles south of Cambridge with bursts of violet wisteria, eclectic cottages and the faint but very real chance of bumping into a vicar on a bicycle, Grantchester is a village preserved in a bygone era. A stone’s throw from the famous Grantchester Tearooms, The Red Lion  is a family friendly gastro pub slap bang in the centre of this now iconic idyll.


Relaxed, friendly, doggy. On an inauspicious Monday lunchtime there were no fewer than 4 buggies, 3 generations of the same family, one dog and one puppy. Farrow and Ball walls clash with smatterings of tartan and shabby chic wingback chairs in the spacious bar which gives way to a more formal dining area and gardens out back. Stacks of chopped wood are piled next to antique punch bowls and well-thumbed style magazines. The space is fantastically versatile – large family groups are easily catered for, but you could also find a cosy nook and console yourself with a high ball of something thoroughly grown up.


Pleasingly, the first item on the menu is a glass of Prosecco, rather tempting at £5.50 a flute, I’d say. And while there’s nothing outrageous on this menu, there’s enough to keep you interested if you like your pub food on the sophisticated side. We opted for the soup of the day, a warming and spicy lentil number, I’m reassured, and a double British beef burger with smoked cheese, burger sauce and twice cooked chips (which were delicious). Other options include sweet potato and coconut curry with oak choi and wild rice, or flat iron chicken with wild mushroom and tarragon butter and rosemary salt fries. Kids have their own menu, and there’s even some grub for the pooch after a tramp across Grantchester Meadows.


The Red Lion is on the doorstep of Grantchester Meadows which run alongside the River Cam and can be handily accessed from the pub’s carpark. The walk from Cambridge to Grantchester is nothing short of a rite of passage and you’ll find hearty University athletes lapping the Sunday afternoon ramblers on this beautiful stretch.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also punt along the Cam to Grantchester, which whilst possibly the most ridiculous way to move yourself about planet Earth, is very romantic and worth a shot, if only once in your lifetime. The Orchard Tea Rooms is round the corner, the famous Grantchester church (which may or may not be housing James Norton) is down the lane and the National Trust’s Wimpole Hall is a 15 minute drive away.


GOOD FOR: Everyone. A reward for a country ramble, a place to bring your kids, their friends, your parents and your dog, groups of friends, couples looking for a bustling night in a cosy pub. There’s outside space and tables out front for those brave enough to bear the weather.

NOT FOR: People looking for an intimate and swish dinner for two, this place is more muddy wellingtons and posh chips than fine dining and designer togs. Rural charm abounds.

THE DAMAGE: Reasonable – Mains range from £13.50-£26, drinks from £5-9 and puds come in at £6.50.

The Red Lion, 33 High St, Grantchester, CB3 9NF. Tel: 01223 840121. 

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