With its chocolate-box prettiness and stunning views of the River Nene, it is surprising that Elton was once drunkenly sold by a Viking. It is also unlikely that you would expect house prices in the village to be on a downwards trend.
However improbable, both of these statements are true. When King Canute visited Elton in the early 11th century, Dacus the Dane wined and dined his escort.
When Dacus was drunk, he offered up the village in return for ‘50 marks of gold before daybreak’. This gold was handed over by Aethelric, the Bishop of Dorchester who was travelling with the king and who gained the village.
In more modern news, the prices of houses sold in Elton over the last year were 39 per cent lower than the previous year. According to RightMove, the average price in the last year was £524,750.
So, what do you get for around £525k – or a few bits of gold?
A magnificent hall dating back to medieval times
A medieval house and tower was built on the site of Elton Hall in 1475. While the tower remains, the house has been expanded and changed over the years since the Proby family bought it in the mid-17th century.
The result is a huge, part-gothic feast for the eyes, nestled inside a 3,800-acre estate. The garden includes an orangery and lily pond, and won the Historic Houses Garden of the Year Judges’ Choice Award in 2021.
This historical landmark’s rating on TripAdvisor is 4.5. One of the 107 reviewers described the gardens as “stunning” and the paintings inside the house as “the best we have seen in any country house”. Another person referred to “my favourite gardens to sit and watch the world go by”.
A family-owned garden centre
Elton is home to one of two garden centres run by Bosworth’s, which is family-owned. The company describes “a wide range of plants grown in our own nursery, surrounded by mature trees”.
The Mulberry Café on the site serves food made with fresh fruit and vegetables from the centre’s kitchen garden. It has a 4.5 TripAdvisor rating from 313 reviews, one of which calls it “a gem in the countryside”.
Top-rated food spots
The Mulberry Café leads us on to two other food spots in Elton: The Crown Inn and The Black Horse. The Crown Inn runs a bed and breakfast alongside its traditional country pub.
It has gained a 2023 recommendation badge by Restaurant Guru and high praise by TripAdvisor reviewers, who have awarded an average of four stars. A customer described “an absolutely perfect dining experience” with “attentive” staff and “truly superb” food in December 2023.
The Black Horse is a village pub decked out with crackling fireplaces, large gardens and a marquee for events. It offers cask ales and a Sunday lunch that it describes as “famous”.
The TripAdvisor rating for this cosy pub is an impressive 4.5 stars. Reviews in January 2023 included comments praising “the best pub food we’d had in a long time”, “great” service – and the fact that dogs are welcome here.
Elton has one school, Elton Church of England Primary School. It is one of the oldest Church of England Schools in the Diocese of Ely, and has been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in every inspection since 2003 – the first inspection listed on Ofsted’s website.
The school states: “Our vision for every child is that their primary school education will spark a life-long love of learning and curiosity, and that they will acquire the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world.”
Recognition by Muddy Stilettos
As revealed in this article, Muddy Stilettos names Elton one of the best places to live in Cambridgeshire in 2023. They said: “About as far north-west into Cambridgeshire as you can get, Elton is a chocolate box pretty village, full of cute thatched cottages built in the honey-coloured stone associated with neighbouring Rutland and Lincolnshire.
“It’s also home to one of the most romantic and eye-catching stately homes in the region. You’re only 15 minutes from Peterborough here, which is on the East Coast main line, but it feels a hundred miles away from anywhere urban.”
Proximity to important historical sites
Elton benefits from being a stone’s throw away from two important historic attractions: Fotheringhay Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was executed, and the preserved railway, Nene Valley Railway. The former is an eight-minute drive away and the latter is a six-minute drive away.
Fotheringhay Castle is now mostly marked by the motte that surrounds it, with not much standing of the building where Mary Queen of Scots stood trial for treason and suffered her fate in the great hall. The castle is now a registered monument of national importance.
Elton has over 60 listed sites, while a 15-minute trip north in the car will take you to a region with ten times that many. Stamford, with its gorgeous Georgian architecture, has more than 600 listed buildings.
A picturesque countryside village, steeped in history, to the east of the River Nene, Elton is a village many would be proud to call home.
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