The Blue Ball takes its name from one of the first hot air balloons, which landed nearby in the 1750s. Ideally placed, with Granchester Meadows for a front garden and views across the river to the spires of Cambridge’s colleges, this pretty country pub is thriving under the care of Toby and Angela. Taking pride of place in a row of cottages, the Blue Ball’s bright walls, bay window and flowing flower baskets is postcard-perfect. Inside, all is spotless, scrubbed and poised to welcome hungry locals, walkers, twitchers and tourists. Tuck into sausage casserole, vegetable tagine, or a bowl of hearty soup with a sandwich. At the back is a heated pavilion, shrine to the local cricket team, where you can while away a happy afternoon with a pint of cask ales from Adnams and Woodefordes . Upstairs: two pin-neat bedrooms with fresh flowers and local art, and a shared sitting room where you can enjoy a quiet drink while soaking up those fabulous views. Bathrooms sparkle. Breakfasts are generous, so fill your boots and then stroll across the Meadows to spend the day in Cambridge.