Ely Travel Guide

  • River Great Ouse
    River Great Ouse
    by gordonilla
  • Exterior (1)
    Exterior (1)
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  • A ceiling detail
    A ceiling detail
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Ely Things to Do

See all 53 Things to Do in Ely
  • Go to Jail!

    Sounds like an odd thing to say - go to jail, but it can be a rewarding experience. The jail (or gaol) in question is the old Bishop's Gaol in Market Street, now converted into a very interesting local history museum.The ground floor traces the history of the area from the earliest times, and also has a fascinating video of old Fenland practices...

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  • Oliver Cromwell's house.

    Few English historical figures provoke as much division of opinion as Oliver Cromwell. To some he represented a brave new world away from an hereditary monarchy, to others he was a ruthless despot who banned just about everything. Love him or loathe him, you certainly can't ignore him. Before rising to prominence, Cromwell was an unknown country...

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  • Visit the Cathedral.

    This is probably the primary reason people visit Ely, and it is certainly worth the trip. The word magnificent is often overused in terms of architecture, but nothing else really fits. Rising above the flat Fenland, and visible for miles around, it is quite breathtaking.The history of the Cathedral really starts with St. Etheldreda, a princess from...

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  • Tourist Information Centre

    The centre was a short walk from the Cathedral precincts and is in fact in Oliver Cromwell's House. It should be noted the Cromwell family left the area in 1647. The centre was quiet when we called in but does offer a very good level of service.

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  • Stained Glass Museum

    The museum was an online find, and we did think we would see a lot more than we did. It is the only museum in the UK that deals with this subject. I do have to say that although there was a lot of history around there were not so many really old examples of Stained Glass.There is a small charge for entry and you are not permitted to take...

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  • Ely Cathedral

    This was a first visit to Ely and the Cathedral; even if it was suggested well over a year ago. It was a fairly cold day, however the Cathedral staff were warm and welcoming.There is a charge to enter the Cathedral, however you can access their shop and café for free.The Cathedral is also home to the country's only Stained Glass Museum.

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  • River Ouse and Jubilee Gardens

    One thing people frequently recommend you (beside visiting the Cathedral) is a walk along the river and a pint at one of the pubs and restaurant. Of course, this is a fair weather activity, although some still do that in rain and snow, skipping the walk part of the recommendation. Usually, a couple of barges and canal boats are moored at the river,...

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  • Ely Museum

    Like most mid-sized towns, also Ely has a local history museum. Similar to others of its kind, it starts from what the era looked like in prehistoric times to the post-war years. Although it has an old-fashioned appearance, it is one of the more interesting of its kind. The reason is the exceptional geographical location of Ely. Before the Fens...

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  • Oliver Cromwell's House

    This attraction was unexpectedly excellent. I was just awaiting some displays of local history and a couple of facts about the time when Cromwell used to live in that house. However, it turned out to be a small, but good museum about the life of one of Britain's most controversial historical figures. All rooms on the first floor and some rooms on...

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  • Visit the Cathedral

    Ely Cathedral is the main sight of Ely. There was a monastery on its place as early as 673AD, but it was destroyed by the Danes in the late 9th century. In the late 11th century, Abbot Simeon arranged and supervised the building of a new church which became a bishop's see and thereby a cathedral in 1109. The cathedral didn't last long: In 1322, the...

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  • Ely Cathedral - Stained Glass Museum

    The Stained Glass Museum is located at one of the Southern Galleries in the Cathedral and can be visited without having to pay the entrance to the Cathedral. However, there are combo-tickets at the cathedral desk which include the Cathedral, the Stained Glass Museum and in some cases also a tour to one of the two towers.The museum itself has a good...

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  • Ely Cathedral - Octagon Tour

    A guided tour to the Octagon is available several times a day. This includes an introduction to the history of the Octagon, most of which you will known already if you have done the free Ground floor tour (for details about the ground floor of the Octagon, please see my tip about the Ground floor tour). The interesting part, however, comes when you...

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Ely Hotels

See all 10 Hotels in Ely
  • Travelodge Ely

    A10 A142 Roundabout, Witchford Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB6 3NN, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

  • The Lamb Hotel

    2 Lynn Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4EJ, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Solo

  • Riverside Inn

    8 Annesdale, Ely, CB7 4BN, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

Ely Restaurants

See all 7 Restaurants in Ely
  • Decent food in nice surroundings

    Not so much a restaurant as a pub that sells good food at reasonable prices. All the usual favourites are here - fish and chips, ploughman's, pies, scampi and so on, and not overpriced given the proximity to the Cathedral.The staff were friendly, which always helps. I had a ploughmans lunch, which is somewhat of a favourite of mine. There is a...

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  • A coffee and tea break

    We had been walking around Ely after a visit to the Cathedral, and although I would have preferred lunch, we called into "Tea for Two" for a warm drink.There is indoor seating upstairs and they also have seating outside too. The toasted sandwich I had was excellent and just hit the spot!

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  • Bring your own food!

    I noticed this pub on the way from Barton Road car park. It looks a pleasant enough place, but it's useful to know that they are happy for you to eat your own packed lunch (sandwiches etc) in the garden, as long as you buy a drink. That's pretty unusual for an English pub, and worth noting.Won't be any use if it isn't garden-sitting weather though!

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  • Mug of tea?

    In Ely's market place, tables outside when it's warm and seats inside when it's not. Basic English food; tea, bacon rolls, toast etc. Cheap and cheerful.If it doesn't appeal, there's a Starbucks opposite. If you must. Mug of tea, 2 rounds of toast & jam 2.50 GBP. Ok.

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  • Pot of tea for one..................

    Home-cooked food, locally-sourced where possible. Tables outside in the garden if it's nice, otherwise eat in the 12th century undercroft .Good range of snacks, lunches etc. Very more-ish scones!

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  • Eat As Much As You Like!

    Now here's an interesting concept: "eat as much as you like"Sounds like a buffet, right? Actually, you pay 10 pounds to order as much food as you can eat from the special "price deal menu" (11 pounds on Saturday).The restaurant opens its door at 18:00 for this special dinner and I arrived 10 minutes early in order to be the first customer.Here's...

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Ely Transportation

  • Time your journey.

    If you are travelling to Ely from London, there are a couple of ways you can do it. There are trains to Cambridge from either Liverpool Street or Kings Cross, and trains to Ely from Kings Cross. The trains from Liverpool Street are stopping services, as is the Ely train from Kings Cross.If you time it right, I find the quickest way is to get the...

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  • Good train service

    Ely is not a very big town, but its train station is important. Several lines go through Ely and several train companies use the station. When my direct train from Cambridge to Norwich was cancelled because of a strike, I was very glad when I was told I could go to Ely and change into a train run by a different company there.From the train station...

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  • Parking

    There's an excellent car park on Barton Road. It's big, its free (up to 23 hours), it has toilets and it's only about 5 minutes walk from the cathedral. Follow the signs for 'long-stay parking' from the A10 Cambridge road.There are other long-stay car parks too (Broad Street, Ship Lane) and short-stay in St Mary's Street/ Newnham Street, but Barton...

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Ely Shopping

See all 3 Shopping in Ely
  • Blissful browsing.........

    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...

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  • The largest center in East Anglia for...

    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...

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  • Cheapie Shop if you haven't got much...

    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...

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Ely Local Customs

  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    by christine.j Written Sep 18, 2007

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    I had heard Ely pronounced as "Eelee" and as "Eeli" and wasn't sure which the correct way was, so I asked the friendly lady in the tourist information. She said basically both are correct. Ely was called the Isle of Ely, which was shortened into Ely, pronounced" Eelee". But it was also called the other way around, Ely isle, and this was shortened into" Eelil", the "L" was dropped and "Eeli" remained.So both are correct, but "Eelee" is more common, she told me.

    The tourist information is located in Oliver Cromwell's house.

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Ely Tourist Traps

  • planxty's Profile Photo

    by planxty Updated Sep 22, 2005

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    I popped into this place for a quick drink prior to returning to the Station for my train, and I have to say, it's not really my sort of place.

    The original maltings is a lovely building, but I found the modern extension at the riverside to be incongruous with its laminate wood floor and tubular steel seating. The photo shows the extension.

    Even when relatively quiet, the bar service was terribly slow, although, in fairness, friendly enough.

    A quick look at their website would suggest that the place is set up as a conference venue, and that is exactly what it feels like.

    Unique Suggestions: You don't have to. Ely is full of decent places for a drink.

    Fun Alternatives: Walk fifty yards along the river (away from the town) to the Cutter Inn. A proper pub, full of character and right on the river.

    Maltings, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. Maltings, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Beer Tasting

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Ely Off The Beaten Path

  • Ely Park

    One of the nicest things about Ely is that there is so much green space within the city. Ely Park is pleasant in itself, but if you look carefully you can still see the earthworks remaining from the original Norman 'motte & bailey' castle. The castle mound itself (hidden in the trees in my photo) was used in the 14th century for a windmill to grind...

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  • As once it was........part 2

    Walk to the side of the main entrance to Ely Cathedral, and look closely. You can see clearly how the building has changed and grown over time. The Galilee porch was added to the Western entrance during the 13th century.The weblink below details all the changes undergone by Ely cathedral; such buildings have never been the solid, static entities...

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  • Bits knocked off...

    You'll notice these in various places around the UK. Basically, the corners of houses were removed so often by large carts (and, later, lorries) that it became simpler to make them less sharp. This one is on the corner of Waterside; I imagine large carts carrying loads from the river quay kept bumping into the house when the roads were narrower.

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Ely Favorites

  • Confucius's Profile Photo

    by Confucius Updated Jun 6, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Ely retains more of a small town atmosphere than Cambridge, in my humble opinion. If coming from London for the weekend, you should spend Saturday at Ely and Sunday in Cambridge. A visit to Ely rewards you with more of a historical appreciation for the entire region of Cambridgeshire and gives you an authentic taste of the countryside. The Cathedral and museums in Ely have interesting stories to tell, and if you've been to Oliver Cromwell's House then you'll be more keen to look for his head at Sidney Sussex College back at Cambridge.

    Fondest memory: London is one of the world's greatest cities but I still believe a visit to England is not complete without venturing out into the countryside. Imagine going to China and only seeing Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong ... or a tour of America that only included New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. You need to spend at least one day in the countryside and try to go off the beaten path. Most of the time, that one day will prove to be the most memorable highlight of your vacation.

    Old houses look the same except for door's colors The waterfront along the River Great Ouse in Ely Springtime in Ely and Cambridgeshire Designated duck feeding area near the Maltings
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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Explore Deeper into Ely
Ely Cathedral - West Tower Tour
Things to Do
Ely Cathedral - Ground floor tour
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Ely Cathedral - General information
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Ely Cathedral Tours
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The mighty Cathedral
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Oliver Cromwell's house
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The back side of the cathedral
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The Dry Garden
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Ely Cathedral - Expensive
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Jubilee Garden
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Connecting Past and Future
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Ovin's Stone
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Ely Cathedral
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The cathedral - obviously
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Sacrist's Gate
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Ely Museum
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The cannon
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Staging post
Off The Beaten Path
St Edmund's Chapel
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Possibly the earliest tombstone
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Another fascinating tomb
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Bishop Hugh de Northwold
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As once it was...........
Off The Beaten Path
Almshouses
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The Lantern........
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The Lady Chapel
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Bishop West's Chantry
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The Ely Porta
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Eel-y Ely
Off The Beaten Path
Hidden recycling
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Oliver Cromwell's House
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Ely cathedral................
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Visit Littleport, famous for Harleys and riots!
Off The Beaten Path
Ely's Thursday and Saturday markets
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Oliver Cromwell's House/Tourist Information Centre
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Ely Museum shows you the history of Ely
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Wicken Fen
Off The Beaten Path
Take a river walk.
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So what are they?
Off The Beaten Path
Cromwell's church.
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Map of Ely

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