Ely Travel Guide

  • Ely Museum
    Ely Museum
    by Airpunk
  • Ely Museum
    Ely Museum
    by Airpunk
  • Ely Museum
    Ely Museum
    by Airpunk

Ely Highlights

  • Pro
    leics profile photo

    leics says…

     Packed with history and architectural interest 

  • Con
    leics profile photo

    leics says…

     None that I came across 

  • In a nutshell
    leics profile photo

    leics says…

     For 'the great ship of the Fens' 

Ely Things to Do

See all 50 Things to Do in Ely
  • 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 Cathedral - West Tower Tour

    The West tower is the higher of the two remaining towers of Ely Cathedral. A similar looking East tower collapsed in the middle ages and was never rebuilt. Tours to the West Tower are especially recommendable on clear days which give you a 360 degree sight over the Fens, sometimes even as far as Cambridge. During your tour, you will hear some...

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  • Ely Cathedral - Ground floor tour

    There are several tours available in the cathedral and they are all worth their money. The ground floor tour is free (once you have paid the entrance fee for the cathedral itself) and takes place four times a day. Please check out the exact timetable as they very per season and day of the week. The most interesting parts are located in and around...

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  • Ely Cathedral - General information

    Among England's Gothic Cathedrals, Ely's is one of the most beautiful. Although it does not have the majestic façade as Peterborough, the filigranity of Durham or the scissor-arch architecture of Wells, it has enough unique features to be worth a day trip.The present building was begun in 1083. Most parts of the Cathedral show the Norman-Romanesque...

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  • Ely Cathedral Tours

    There are three separate tours of Ely Cathedral, plus the optional Stained Glass Museum.The nave tour is free and the two tower tours have fees. If you can only choose to do one tower tour, then the Octagon is a better choice. The Octagon tour takes you up past the stained glass windows to the Lantern Tower and atop the roof. There are 165 steps to...

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  • The mighty Cathedral

    As you approach Ely by train, the Cathedral rises above the city. However, when you start towards it, it vanishes for a time. You are actually better off continuing ahead when a roadsign would take you to the right.This is a terrific building with a fine Norman nave and transepts. The choir and chancel were built later in the Early English [Early...

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  • Oliver Cromwell's house

    Oliver cromwell was born near Ely and lived there for a long time, before he went to London. Today, the tourist information is situated in the building and they offer tours by audio guide.These tours are very well organised, basic information for those who are in a rush, and many additional details for those who want to know more about daily life...

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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: Very Good

    Good for: Solo

  • The Lamb Hotel

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

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Couples

  • Riverside Inn

    8 Annesdale, Ely, CB7 4BN, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

Ely Restaurants

See all 6 Restaurants in Ely
  • 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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  • 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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  • Do not get Full English Breakfast here!

    If you have had a full English Breakfast and know the value of a good full English Breakfast, you will not find that at Tea for Two. It is a quirky coffeeshop right in the heart of Ely. It is a tourist trap with its strategic location and unique looking shop. You can sit outside or inside, the upstairs. The service is decent, can be busy at times....

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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

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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
    Maltings, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. 1 more image

    by planxty Updated Sep 22, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Food and Dining

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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
    Old houses look the same except for door's colors 3 more images

    by Confucius Updated Jun 6, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Architecture

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Explore Deeper into Ely
The back side of the cathedral
Things to Do
The Dry Garden
Things to Do
Ely Cathedral - Expensive
Things to Do
Jubilee Garden
Things to Do
Connecting Past and Future
Things to Do
Ovin's Stone
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Ely Cathedral
Things to Do
The cathedral - obviously
Things to Do
Sacrist's Gate
Things to Do
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
Off The Beaten Path
The Lantern........
Things to Do
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
Off The Beaten Path
Oliver Cromwell's House
Things to Do
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
Visit the Cathedral.
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Take a river walk.
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So what are they?
Off The Beaten Path
Cromwell's church.
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Oliver Cromwell's house.
Things to Do
Go to Jail!
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Ely Cathedral
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Oliver Cromwell's house
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Ely Cathedral
Things to Do
Map of Ely

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