Travel Report: The Eagle Pub, Cambridge.
The Eagle Pub, Cambridge.
May 2019. Mike and I were having a great day exploring Cambridge. It was early afternoon and we both found ourselves with rumbling stomachs and parched throats. There was no debating where we’d take lunch, it simply had to be The Eagle, one of England’s most historical watering holes! This is where I used to come to chill out every summer when I came to town with my Roeland students. Those were some great, carefree times. Hence I felt more than a slight pang of nostalgia as The Eagle came into view for the first time in thirteen years.
The Eagle Pub dates all the way back to 1353 when a ramshackle watering hole opened here offering three gallons of beer for a penny! It wasn’t until 1667 that a more formal establishment sprang up under the name The Eagle & Child. As you walk through the front door, you’ll see this large board proudly heralding two of The Eagle’s most historical claims to fame.
It was a typically rainy afternoon in February 1953 when local scientist Francis Crick came marching into The Eagle. Clapping his hands together, he announced that he and his research partner James Watson had “discovered the secret to life!”
He was referring to the pair’s completion of a new academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Both Crick and Watson regularly lunched at The Eagle back in those days. Today, you can honour their achievement by ordering a special house ale called Eagle’s DNA.
The Eagle Pub, Cambridge.
The Eagle Pub was also the drinking spot of choice for RAF airmen based in and around Cambridge during The Second World War. In fact, these servicemen literally flooded the place at the weekends.
Many of them burned their names and squadron numbers onto the ceiling of the pub’s back room with cigarette lighters and lipstick. This graffiti still survives today in what is now called The RAF Lounge.
What To See & Do Cambridge.
It’s always busy at The Eagle Pub, certainly in my experience over the years. It was no different that day as Irish Mike and I picked out a free table and placed our orders at the bar.
As you’d expect the food at The Eagle is great, with similarly great prices to match. Irish Mike went for a pint of lager shandy and a club ciabatta.
Sweet tooth Leighton meanwhile opted for a coffee and a wedge of house carrot cake. A very reasonable deal methinks.
Back in my Roeland days I used to base myself in The Eagle’s Beer Garden. Thus I had to excuse myself from Mike for a moment to go and have a look. Along the way, I paused to take in the vast array of framed photographs honouring the pub’s long history. One famous patron was none other than Winnie The Pooh author A.A. Milne, pictured here with his son Christopher Robin.
Penny For Your Thoughts.
The Eagle’s beer garden sat largely deserted that day. It was just myself and the ghosts of Roeland past chatting away at our old table. Or at least so I thought. Actually, there was an old guy sitting silently in a leafy corner puffing away on his pipe. It had just started to rain and he seemed quite content watching people scurrying by on the street under various umbrellas. I was feeling even more nostalgic now and somehow I reckoned this dude was lost in his own considerable thoughts. If only I’d had a pipe of my own.
For more information on The Eagle Pub, check out their website here.
Like this? Why not sift through more of my pieces from Cambridge.
Or maybe search further afield with my articles from all around England.
I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.