Heritage Britain

Ely, Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire, England


A Historic Tour of Ely, Cambridgeshire

A Historic Tour of Ely, Cambridgeshire

Ely, Cambridgeshire

VISIT ELY

‘There’s a welcome in our City, so come and explore. Our ancient stone and weathered beams will leave you wanting more.’

Located only 12 miles from Cambridge, Ely is a perfect one-day or short break destination. The first port of call for any visitor to Ely today will almost certainly be the cathedral. This imposing structure towers across the fens for miles around. Dominating the skyline, it is one England’s most beautiful and largest Cathedrals. Known locally as the ‘Ship of the Fens’ it is famous for its unique Octagon tower, which when lit can be seen for tens of miles. The cathedral is also home to the only national museum dedicated to stained glass. If it’s history you are interested in then Ely’s Museum, housed in the city’s old gaol, is an excellent place to start.

Ely’s most famous historical resident of Ely was of course Oliver Cromwell. In 1636 he inherited a large estate from Sir Thomas Steward, his maternal uncle, who farmed about two miles outside Ely at Stuntney. He became the local tax collector, or ‘Farmer of the Tithes’, for the local parishes. It was up to Cromwell to ensure that all the local taxes – including money, wheat and straw – were delivered to the Dean of the cathedral. He was permitted to keep any excess collected and soon became a man of property and quite considerable local status. The Cromwell family left sometime in 1647, but you can still visit their house, which now doubles as the local Tourist Information Centre.

As you would perhaps expect from a place that trades on its tourism potential, there is a high proportion of gift shops, craft shops, antique shops, art galleries and the ubiquitous teashops. Follow the city’s heritage public art trail, which is a walk that takes you past five pieces of stunning art portraying the life cycle of an eel, is an excellent way of seeing the historic city at its best, but for the stout of heart a ghost tour might be the more exiting option!

Ely boasts an extensive summer events programme as well as its year round tour options. Ely’s annual Eel Day kicks off the tourist season in May with a celebration of the city’s eel traditions. Ely is very proud of its connection with eels as the name Ely is derived from the Isle of Eels when Ely was surrounded by water and marshland. Eels are still caught in the Great River Ouse. Historically eels were part of the local staple diet as well as a valuable source of income. Clients also came from London with the popularity of jellied eels although

For more Information please contact:
Oliver Cromwell’s House and Tourist Information Centre, 29 St Mary’s Street
Ely,
Cambridgeshire
CB7 4HF
Web:  www.visitely.org.uk
Email:  tic@eastcambs.gov.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1353 662062

Where to stay and things to do in Cambridgeshire

Hotels | Bed and Breakfast | Pubs and Inns | Self Catering | Places to Visit | Antiques and Collectables | Museums and Art Galleries | Arts, Crafts and Fairs | Gardens | Castles | Cathedrals | National Parks | Railways | Wildlife | Weddings and Honeymoons | Apartments | Conferences, Seminars and Corporate Events | World Heritage Sites | Abbeys and Priories | Nature Reserves | Health Spas | Haunted Places | Churches | Theatres | Restaurants | Animal Sanctuaries | More Cambridgeshire Information

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County Information

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