The Carpenters Arms

Pub with rooms in Great Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire

From £85 per night

Curator's notes:

  • Chestnut worked their magic here in 2022
  • Closed village local to stylish foodie inn
  • Wow factor - bold, colourful refurbishment
  • Imaginative seasonal food; four cosy rooms
Book a room

Speak to us on +44 (0)203 868 4999


Snapped up by the innovative Chestnut Group in 2021 following a period of closure, the 250-year-old village local has been stunningly reinvented as a destination dining pub with rooms.

In Chestnut's heartland on the Cambridgeshire/Suffolk border, affluent Great Wilbraham has proved to be a great location for this ambitious group since the pub re-opened with a vibrant new look in April 2022 following major refurbishment. The original pub interior has been refreshed in a spectacular way. Expect the unexpected behind the traditional brick facade - low ceilings, exposed timbers and open fires are paired with bold colours and bright modern prints and fabrics, from pink walls and ceilings, to feature blue walls around the fireplace, and jazzy upholstered chairs and wall benches.

However, the real wow factor is the new glass eatery, which wraps itself around the rear of the pub, filling the colourful, vibrant dining area (rich oranges and mustard yellows) with light and air. Vast bi-fold doors slide back in summer and diners can spill out onto the terrace and lawn with flower borders. It's a fabulous space for sampling the modern British dishes prepared in the open-to-view kitchen.

Rooms from:

4 doubles/twin: £85

Good to know

Major credit cards accepted

Disabled access (bar/restaurant/1 room)

Alfresco & private dining

Parking available

Dog stay: £25 (welcome pack & treats)

Muddy Paws Stay

Dogs are welcome in all the rooms overnight and will find themselves treated to blankets, a water bowl and treats.

Newmarket Races

The racecourse at Newmarket hosts two of the country's five classic races - the 1,000 Guineas and the 2,000 Guineas. It's a popular thoroughbred venue often described as the headquarters of British horseracing.


Bold colours and rich fabrics extend upstairs to the four cosy and contemporary bedrooms above the original pub, all named after a different carpentry joint.

The rooms vary in size and style - there are three 'Good Rooms' or fairly compact standard rooms, two with fully tiled wet rooms and one with a shower room, but expect decent power showers and Bramley organic toiletries. The 'Best Room' offers more space with room for a sofa bed, so ideal for a family stay, and has a larger bathroom. All the rooms have super-comfortable king-size beds.

Chalky pastel blue walls are matched with vibrant floral headboards (with matching blinds and cushions) and bright blue throws, yellow lamps and shades, and colourful upholstered chairs. Added touches include coffee machines, decent teas, fresh milk, homemade biscuits, and a full length mirror.

Dogs are very welcome overnight - your canine companion can expect to find a bed, bowl, doggy menu, and take-home tennis ball on arrival. Pick up the Wellington Boot Wander leaflet and explore the fields and woods that surround Great Wilbraham.

Restaurant & bar

Cambridge-born head chef Seb Mansfield has been cooking up a storm in his theatre-style kitchen since the pub re-opened, delivering imaginative modern British dishes to an appreciative local crowd.

His short, interesting menus evolve with the seasons, drawing on the rich larder of produce on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border. Asparagus comes from a small farm near Cambridge, fish is from Wyken near Ely, everything dairy is sourced from Fen Farm in Bungay, and Seb is passionate about using rare breed meats reared on surrounding farms, game from estate shoots, and local foraged ingredients.

For main course, this could translate to rump of Suffolk lamb, potato terrine, courgetti, black olive and tomato, or Old Spot pork ribeye, fine greens, hispi cabbage and hazelnut romeso. Alternatively, you could tuck into pan-fried cod, polenta, confit tomato and salsa verde, preceded by chicken and her terrine with herb emulsion. Desserts like Tosier chocolate torte with Fen Farm mascarpone, and roast sirloin of beef on Sunday completes the favourable culinary picture. To drink, there are five East Anglian wines on a decent list offering sound tasting notes and over 20 by the glass.

Things to do

Situated 6 miles to the north of Cambridge, Denny Abbey is a former Benedictine abbey with a fascinating history and an impressive array of family-friendly attractions. The site's Farmland Museum includes a fenman's hut, blacksmith's and wheelwright's workshops.

At Wicken Fen, discover a secluded world of flowering meadows and reedbeds and described by the National Trust who manage the site as 'a window onto a lost fenland landscape'. Here, you'll find hen harriers and bitterns, dragonflies, moths and wildfowl. There are also herds of Highland cattle and Konik ponies.

Ely is the second smallest city in England with arguably one of the most breathtaking cathedrals - it's just a 32 minute drive from the inn, or about an hour on the train from Newmarket.

Explore Cambridge - browse the bustling market, home to many small, local traders from bakers and makers, to florists and you can even get you bicycle fixed. Or, visit Cambridge University's Wren Library where you can view an original manuscript of Winnie the Pooh, by AA Milne.

Getting here


Nearest train station: Cambridge

Taxi from station: 20mins

Drive: Bury St Edmunds 30mins; Huntingdon A1M 30mins; London 1hr 22min


10 High Street, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB21 5JD

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