If you are into antiques, then this place is the largest in the area. It's housed on 3 floors of an old maltings, with different dealers displaying their stock. There's good parking, and it's in a pretty area of Ely; right by the river, with ducks/ tea-room/ riverside walks etc.
Don't expect cheap antiques though; dealers are well aware of the value of their stock!
This is a MUST see in Ely, even if you are not an antique shopper. Why? Because it's filled with all kinds of interesting stuff, and half the fun is trying to guess what many of the old contraptions were used for.
If you are looking for antiques, then this is the jackpot. There are over 70 dealers on three levels under one roof, and not all are keenly aware of the value of their merchandise; a few even admitting that they haven't got a clue about some of the things they're selling.
Plan to spend at least an hour here for fun or over two hours if you're a serious antique hunter. The tour guide at Ely Cathedral pointed this place out to me from atop the Octagon, and he said great bargains can be found as the dealers are currently "hard up."
I went to Waterside Antiques on a Sunday and there weren't many people browsing. Most tourists who visit Ely on day trips probably don't have time to shop here, or don't stay long enough to find the hidden gems that end up being featured on "Antiques Roadshow."
It's located at the Wharf near the riverside and Maltings.
What to buy: Here is a small sample of the thousands of items available at Waterside Antiques, based on my recent memory:
Ancient Chinese bronze arrow heads (see photo #2), old bear traps (photo #3), old wood tennis racket (photo #4), German military hats (photo #5), old Elvis Presley records, antique bottles, old books and maps, antique dolls and toys, antique kitchen utensils, antique furniture, 19th century stained glass lanterns, and much much more!
What to pay: Prices as low as 5 and 10 pounds can be found on hundreds of items.
This is a really cheapie shop for just about anything for the house. It has a variety of things if you are looking for eg a spanner or a souvenir. I managed to pick up some really nice flower seed packets for 50p each which, if you are a gardener, is a big saving, most packets of seeds can cost up to £2.49.
I am sure you can find these shops anywhere in your home town, but if you want something to take home which won't break the bank, this is it.
What to buy: They also have discount shoe shops and clothes shops.
What to pay: Minimal. I like a good bargain!