Great Gransden was first mentioned in AD 973 when the land of Grantedene was endowed to Thorney Abbey by Æthelwold of Winchester. Its older centre is made up of cottages grouped around the 16th century church, although its tower dates from about 1390.
A pulpit dating to 1600 and a rare clock whose chiming mechanism is said to date from 1683 are notable artifacts in the village church. Great Gransden also boasts what is believed to be the oldest post mill in England.
The well regarded and attended Gransden Show is held on the last Saturday of September. This is one of the few remaining shows of its type still running in England. The show was established in 1891 and with the exception of the years during the Second world war, it has been running every year since.
Great Gransden has only one pub, The Crown and Cushion. It also has a lawn tennis club, bowls club and a football team called the Gransden Chequers. Ironically the Chequers is a pub based in Little Gransden but the team play home matches in Great Gransden
Great Gransden owes much to Barnabas Oley, who was first instituted to the vicarage in 1633. He was a Fellow of Clare College and editor of George Herbert's works. During the English Civil War, he was one of the most active Royalists in the University. He was ejected from his fellowship and lodgings in 1644, but they were restored to him in 1660. From 1664 he lived chiefly at Great Gransden, and he left many benefactions. The village has recognised him most visibly in the naming of the village school, "Barnabas Oley CofE Primary School"