Your favourite High Street

The Telegraph newspaper are running a campaign called Reinventing the High Street, aiming to put the heart back into the country’s traditional high streets. People are asked to nominate their favourite simply by emailing highstreet@telegraph.co.uk.

Mill Road BridgeI don’t know about you, but I think there’s something pretty special about Mill Road and I think it deserves a place among the best that the UK has to offer. Not only is the Mill Road area home to Cambridge’s best independent pub, coffee house, home & garden shop, specialist food shop and record shop (all awarded this year in the Discovering Cambridge awards) and home to the Independent Drinks Retailer of The Year (as voted at the UK Drinks Retailing Awards 2013) but it’s also the location of CAMRA‘s Cambridge City Locale Pub Of The Year 2013. There’s a range of events on throughout the year – including the Romsey Art Festival, several street parties, various beer festivals and of course the forthcoming Mill Road Winter Fair – as well as regular music nights at lots of different venues; and next week sees the first ever Romsey Calling music festival on Mill Road.

Mill Road has even been used as a location for music videos (like Mikill Pane’s ‘Good Feeling‘), films (Neil Morrissey was here last month filming a new movie, Caffiend), TV programmes (including Antiques Road Trip) and has had residents such as Douglas AdamsDave Gilmour, Syd Barrett, Angela Hartnett and Amy Williams over the years. It even has its own blog and its own radio show – ‘Our Mill Road‘! There’s lots more I could say about Mill Road, but too much for one blog post (hence the whole blog!) but suffice to say it’s full of community-spirited individuals and groups and has lots of people living, working and socialising in the area and keeping Mill Road the coolest street in Cambridge.

All you need to do to nominate Mill Road is to email highstreet@telegraph.co.uk and let them know! You know what they say – there’s something about Mill Road… .

Award-winning pubs

The GeldartIf you’ve been following me on Twitter recently, you may have seen me mention the Cambridge & District Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) Awards. The Awards are aimed at celebrating all that is good about our local pubs and their achievements over the last twelve months, and this year’s ceremony was held on Tuesday at The Hopbine.

The Cambridge BlueThe evening saw presentations in eleven different categories – ranging from Most Improved, Dark Ale/Mild and Cider Pub of the Year through to Community, Lifetime Achievement and of course the coveted Cambridge & District CAMRA Pub of the Year accolade. I followed the evening’s proceedings on Twitter and it was great to hear that some of our pubs in the Mill Road area were on the receiving end of the presentations – The Cambridge Blue, on Gwydir Street, won the city Locale Pub of the Year (the runner up was The Hopbine) and was also runner up in the Dark Ale/Mild Pub of the Year category (the winner was The Maypole); meanwhile The Geldart, on Ainsworth Street, scooped the runner up position in the Community pub of the Year (city) category (the winner was The Elm Tree).

A special mention must of course go to The Flying Pig on Hills Road – they won the much sought after Pub of the Year award, which I think is highly deserved. As you may be aware, The Flying Pig has been under threat given the developments going on in the station area and there has been a campaign to save it. Although winning the award has hopefully helped the campaign (a newspaper headline such as “Pub of The Year demolished to make way for development” wouldn’t go down well at all…) the fight to save it is not yet over. If you want to help the campaign and keep up to date with what’s happening then you can follow ‘Save The Flying Pig’ on facebook and Twitter.

The Earl of BeaconsfieldIt’s great that our local pubs are receiving this recognition of their achievements and hard work – running a pub is no easy task (as I know from personal experience). I love the pubs that we have here around Mill Road and they are an important part of our community – not just somewhere to meet friends for a drink, but places where people can enjoy a meal, join in various sports and activities, listen to music and even play music! They are also, on the whole, family friendly places and the emphasis these days seems to be less on the drinking and more on the socialising. In fact there’s quite a lot going on at the pubs in the Mill Road area, so I thought it might be useful to mention some of the things happening over the next week (20th – 27th April):

Saturday
Funk, Soul & Jazz with The Watertight Group – The Earl of Beaconsfield, from 9pm
Music from Skimbleshaks + Heather McVey + Lui Martino – The Six Bells, 8pm
Sunday
Blues Jam – The Earl of Beaconsfield, 9-11pm
Monday
Open Mic night – The Earl of Beaconsfield, 8:30pm
Irish music session – The White Swan, 8:30pm
Quiz night – The Six Bells, from 9pm
Tuesday
Acoustic Jam – The Earl of Beaconsfield, 8:30-11pm
Pub Quiz – The Empress, 8:30pm
Quiz Night – The Dobblers, 9pm
Tapas Tuesday – The Kingston Arms, from 6pm
Wednesday
Open Mic night – The Six Bells, 8:30pm
Jazz night with Sam Leak’s Aquarium – The Geldart (in the restaurant), 8:15-10:45pm
Steak & Wine Wednesday – The Kingston Arms, from 6pm
Knitting Group – The Six Bells, 7:30-9:30pm
Thursday
Rum Festival – The Live & Let Live, runs 25th-27th April
Pub Quiz – The Brook, 9pm
Irish music session – The Earl of Beaconsfield, 9-11pm
Curry Club – The Kingston Arms, from 6pm
Knit ‘Ting – The Empress, from 8pm
Friday
Rum Festival – The Live & Let Live, runs 25th-27th April
Saturday
Rum Festival – The Live & Let Live, runs 25th-27th April

For more information and full event details, please check with the venues. The list above doesn’t cover everything that’s going on this week – there’s plenty more and often last-minute gigs are arranged, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

Cambridge CAMRA are doing great things and it’s important that we all support our local pubs, so why not get along to at least one of the above events over the next few days 🙂