A large house set back beyond a large green lawn
The back yard and house of our Great Shelford house sit

House Sitting in Great Shelford village near Cambridge

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For the summer month of July, we accepted a house-sitting assignment in the lovely village of Great Shelford, only 7 km from the centre of Cambridge in England.

Looking after two beautiful dogs, an 8-year-old chocolate Labrador and a 9-month old Cockapoo puppy.

With the owners away for their annual holiday, it was up to us to walk the dogs and have fun entertaining a puppy.

A small dog in close up with a large house in the background
Marcie guarding the house against pigeons and squirrels
A large dog lying on a green grass lawn
Monty relaxing on the lawn

Great Shelford near Cambridge

House sitting is a lifestyle of traveling slow and connecting with the community where you stay.

A lady swimming in a pool
Maura swimming against the current of the pool in our house sit

A village of just over 4,000 people has a famous connection to US President Barack Obama who traced his ancestry to the village in 2009. National media were quick to let everyone know ⇒ the Telegraph.

Great Shelford has an active community with the children enjoying the local park, cricket each Saturday and tennis lessons every day. And the local Memorial Hall has various events and market days throughout the month.

The village is self-sufficient with a local butcher, a bakery and our best find, the Shelford Delicatessen shop. With fresh farm eggs and the best sourdough loaf, we were very happy each weekend.

What about the two pubs Maura?


The Shelford Feast

Many people sitting at tables and chairs inside a large tent
Inside the marquee at the Feast.

July is the month of The Shelford Feast. One week of “live music, comedy, community events, and good food.”

We chose to attend on Saturday as the main event was the array of local beers. With our son Daniel and his lovely wife Jess visiting, the festival was perfect for a late lunch and beer sampling.

And it was also great to meet Deb of Spoonstruck – super-premium artisanal ice cream with the best flavour of ginger and lemongrass.

As New Zealanders, we are big ice cream eaters, but we have to say the flavour and consistency of this ice cream had us wanting to eat a lot more.

An array of different flovoured ice cream scoops
Spoonstruck ice crem range

We met Deb again at the Great Shelford Farmers’ Market, every fourth Saturday of the month from 9am-noon at the village Memorial Hall.

Traveling Lite

One of our mottos is to travel lite, although at times we do wonder why the bag seems to be expanding.

Terry had misplaced his hair clippers, perhaps from the bad experience of Maura cutting his hair in Spain, so he decided it was time for a haircut.

Antonio’s Barber Shop is a new addition to the Great Shelford village. Cuts are reasonably priced and Antonio creates a welcoming and friendly place.

It was Terry’s first visit to a barber in 18-months. He and Antonio got chatting about travel, as Antonio has spent time in Japan. And a short while later, Antonio’s professional cut had Terry looking chic.

Walking the Dogs each Day

Two adult white swans and their cygnets
Family of swans in the local park

One of the reasons we love house sitting is having dogs to walk.

House sitting in the village of Great Shelford, Cambridge meant we had the enjoyment of the nearby park and river. However, the resident family of six swans wasn’t too happy to see the dogs.

The park provides a social aspect of staying in the village. It always appeared busy with people walking dogs, teenagers playing basketball and kids in the playground.

While for others it was a place to stop and watch people enjoying their day.

The dogs were most happy with their daily car ride to Magog Down park estate. The park has specified dog exercise areas for their meetups as well as different walks through bush and meadows.

It was here we met and chatted to locals walking their dogs each morning.

A small white dog closely followed by a large brown dog on a bush track
Marcie out in front, Monty following along

Duxford Air Show Celebrates 100 years

A flight of WWII fighter planes
Duxton Air Show

Down the road from Great Shelford is Duxford airfield. It has been in operation since 1918 and was the base for a Spitfire squadron during the Battle of Britain.

For those enthusiasts, you’ll find a large museum of aircraft including the Imperial War Museum collection. If you want to learn more about the museum or the upcoming airs shows, their website has plenty of information IWM Duxford.

So it was off to the park to watch the Flying Legends Air Show, one of three in 2017. Our nephew Ben would love this, as he has just joined the New Zealand Royal Air Force.

Surrounding Towns, Cities and Places to Visit

Having the local train station in the village means you are never far away from visiting nearby cities like Norwich and Walks of London. Plus Cambridge city is only one train stop away to explore the beautiful colleges dating back centuries.

Finchingfield, one of the pretty nearby villages

So, if you want to stay in wonderful English villages like Great Shelford, we can highly recommend housesitting as a way to travel slow.

It’s also one of the best ways to explore nearby places, living like a local, and a great choice for travel.



  1. Leah says:

    What a cute little pup!! I want to try housesitting so badly, what a great way to travel on the cheap!

    • TravelKiwis says:

      Thanks Leah, We have has such a wonderful time house sitting. We love dogs so looking after them is a pleasure and Marcie was so lovely.

    • TravelKiwis says:

      Hi Leah, Marcie was such a cutie, and full of energy. You will love house sitting, a great way to travel. T&M

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