The River Great Ouse meanders through some of the prettiest towns and villages in Cambridgeshire.
Flowing for 143 miles, the vast waterway is the fourth-longest in the UK and its history is interlinked with the identity of our county.
It was traditionally a key commercial link for the region due to its link to the North Sea, and it continues to play a vital role in the life of the low-lying fens.
The name Ouse is most likely derived from the Celtic word Udso-s , simply meaning water.
While many rivers in the UK take on the name of Ouse, the Great Ouse is the longest of all of them. It twists and turns all the way from Northamptonshire before finally reaching the Wash near Kings Lynn.
Join us on a whistle-stop tour of the must-see towns and villages along the River Great Ouse.
The Chinese Bridge, which frames the River Great Ouse, is the focal point of this tranquil Cambridgeshire town.
Legend has it the bridge was originally made without any screws or nails and, while some experts have dismissed this as an urban myth, it remains a popular spot for tourists.
If you’re visiting in good weather, you can hire canoes or boats and enjoy a ride down the river.
Five miles east of Huntingdon lies the beautiful market town of St Ives.
With an array of riverside cafes and restaurants, it’s the perfect spot to sit in the sun and enjoy some delicious food and drink next to the Great Ouse.
The town itself boasts various antique stores and local shops, making it the perfect destination for a day trip no matter when you visit.
With a population of just over one thousand people, Earith is a tranquil getaway to say the least.
It’s also only a few miles away from the Raptor Foundation, a rescue centre for birds of prey where you can see anything from buzzards and falcons to owls and eagles.
Earlier this year, we witnessed the awe-inspiring moment a seal gave birth on the river banks in Earith, so it’s a great spot for wildlife lovers!
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Littleport is home to an impressive network of streams developed to control flooding in the lowland areas of north-east Cambridgeshire.
The nearby hamlet of Little Ouse sits at one metre below sea level, displaying just how low these lands are.
A walk around Littleport will offer you various pubs and shops, including the Swan on the River, which has a lovely beer garden backing out onto the Great Ouse.
The historic Fenland city of Ely needs little introduction.
Best known for its elegant cathedral which dates back to 1083, the city also sits at the highest altitude in the whole of the Fens.
The Great Ouse was historically a key means of transport for the city, which used to be an island until the Fens were drained in the late eighteenth century.
Visitors to Ely can enjoy a boating trip along the river or a wander around the beautiful cobbled streets.
Offord Cluny is a small village that lies three miles south-west of Huntingdon.
It is twinned with neighbouring Offord D’Arcy and, for visitors, it offers a peaceful and quiet day out, with the late 13th century Church of All Saints acting as the main landmark.
The Great Ouse runs just alongside The Offords, making it an ideal stop off for a river tour.
Lying in the valley of the River Great Ouse is the large town of St Neots, with a population of around 30,000.
Named after the Cornish monk Saint Neot, whose bones were moved to the area in 980 AD, the town saw rapid growth after the Second World War.
Visitors can enjoy walk along the river or can take to the water themselves by hiring a boat, while the town itself offers plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants.