The Complex stands midway between Cambridge and Ely on the A10, the Roman Akemen Street. This old road had fallen into disuse by the 11th century when the main route was along the Aldreth Causeway. However, some travellers still came this way, crossing the Old West River by a ferry until 1763 when a Turnpike Road was opened with a bridge at which tolls were paid.
The original bridge was narrow and very steep; farmers needed to put extra horses on their carts to pull them over. Motorcars too found it difficult to negotiate, so it was replaced in 1925 by the existing structure, which was tested by placing four traction engines on it. It carried all the traffic along the A10 until the road was realigned in 1976.
The Pub has changed its name over the years. In 1797 it was known as The ‘Charles in the Oak’ – a reference to the story of how King Charles hid in an oak tree to escape Cromwell’s soldiers. For a while King Charles actually lived at the pub (in Victorian times one landlord had the surname of Charles and King was his Christian name). The old pub closed in 1986 after which it was redeveloped and reopened as The Lazy Otter in April 1987.
The Lazy Otter Complex is set in just under 11 acres of land, and has been owned by The Gough Family since 2007.