An intriguing mixture of old and new, Ely is a place to visit time and time again. You can feel the City’s time honoured past as you journey through its narrow streets flanked by Victorian, Georgian and 16th Century buildings, Cathedral gardens and delightful waterfront.Ely is also home to a plethora of restaurants, cafés and antique shops, meaning there is something for all tastes. Take in the relaxing views across the River Ouse as a variety of boats gently cruise past or delight in the busy City Centre, where a range of boutique and gift shops charm visitors from around the world. With tranquility, elegance and history combining together, Ely is a truly exceptional place to enjoy.Close to Cambridge and within easy reach of the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline, Ely is an ideal base from which to explore and, with London just an hour away by train, there really is something to appeal to everyone
Renowned for its Cathedral, with its unique Octagon Tower, the City has developed around this magnificent structure. The Cathedral you can enjoy today originates from the 11th Century and is a place to enjoy at your own pace or with the benefit of an informative guided tour. If you have the stamina, you can make the worthwhile climb to take in the spectacular views from the Octagon and West Towers. As a thriving cultural centre, the Cathedral also hosts a number of concerts and events throughout the year. The Stained Glass Museum, situated in the South Triforium of the Cathedral, houses a wonderful collection and is the only one of its kind in the country. The experience is enhanced by a highly acclaimed audio-guided tour which tells the history of stained glass through the ages.
Just two minutes away from the Cathedral is another of Ely’s main attractions: Ely Museum. Set in the City’s former Gaol, the friendly museum takes you on a journey from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. The museum boasts a fascinating collection of memorabilia relating to the Isle of Ely and the surrounding Fenland. You can visit the original prison cells, handle the fossils and study the Roman remains before enjoying an archive film of the Fens. This coupled with an exciting programme of special events and temporary exhibitions, makes the museum appealing to all age groups.
There is so much to see as you walk through the City taking in the attractive blend of modern and medieval architecture. One example of an impressive 17th Century building is Oliver Cromwell’s House. This former home of the Lord Protector of England is his only surviving residence other than Hampton Court. The House, which also serves as the City’s Tourist Information Centre, provides a clear picture of how Cromwell and his family would have lived during their ten years in Ely in the mid 17th Century. Audio tours bring this impressive building and its history back to life. An important figure in British history and often branded a villain, Oliver Cromwell’s former home is well worth a visit – come and see for yourself whether he really was a hero or villain.
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