I was working this week on the fringe of Cambridge, in the UK, and I had the privilege of working in most beautiful little parish called St Mary Magdalene in Madingley on the edge of the city.

I was restoring a lovely war memorial plaque.

War Memorial Madingley

It’s often difficult to work on war memorials. I had to hold back my tears with this one as one family lost four sons who were all named on the plaque. My eldest boy being sixteen, I can’t imagine what sending him off would have been like.

When I work, I prefer silence and letting my thoughts run far and wide. That’s when I usually start thinking about ideas for fiction but today I was thinking about the podcast. I realised that many listeners might come to Cambridge and wouldn’t think to come to the Madingley area but actually it’s really worth a visit. It’s only minutes away from the town centre if you have a car.

Firstly, I really do encourage you to visit the St Mary’s Parish Church as you come through the gates it’s the most picturesque quintessentially English little parish church you’re ever likely to see. Even if you are from the UK and you are familiar with churches like this, it is really charming.

The church is situated in the grounds of Madingley Hall which is a very fine building and part of the University of Cambridge –

Madingley Hall

In 1861 Queen Victoria rened for her son, Edward Prince of Wales, the hall for him as his residence while he was studying at university  – as you do, not quite the normal student digs that most people have even in Cambridge where they are a little bit more grand than the many of us would encounter as a student. It’s well worth a visit to look at the church, the Hall and the lovely grounds.

American Battle Monuments Commission / Public domain

Just as you exit the grounds, there is the huge Cambridge American Cemetery which is such an incredibly powerful place to visit. It commemorates the Americans that died in World War II and the huge contribution that they made to the Allied victory in Europe. It’s an awe inspiring cemetery – I know not it might not sound like an upbeat day to visit something like that but there is an incredible beauty to what they’ve built there.

Just within a minutes or two is another sculptural mecca Churchill College one of the University colleges in Cambridge is on Madingley Road and the most incredible sculpture trail – there’s no way a sculpture vulture would want to miss this.

The collection has many of the very well known sculptors such as Nigel Hall and Barbara Hepworth but also she keeps incredibly good company among them, Louisa Forbes’s sculptures of a Sokoke Scops owl and Louisa is being interviewed by me later in the season!

Nigel Hall Sculpture

I realise this little area zone is fractionally outside of the city but it these crazy times with the shadow of Covid always with us, this is a perfect visit out: it’s super quiet, and outdoors! Absolutely chock full of sculpture and  I guarantee that you’d have a lovely few hours here.

Photo: Nigel Hall, Churchill College, Madingley Road