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ElyUnited Kingdom

One of the top attractions in the Fens, this little market town is mostly known for its stunning cathedral. 

Ely is a compact town comprised of medieval streets and surrounded by quaint countryside. Admire its impressive cathedral, go for a walk along the charming riverside footpath or browse the traditional shops that line its main thoroughfare.

Ely takes its name from the eels that once lived in the undrained fens surrounding the town. Until the 18th century, Ely was a true island, encircled by dangerous marshlands that were difficult to cross. Visit Wicken Fen, a nature reserve found 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) south of town, to see what the undrained fenlands once looked like. This important wetland is home to more than 8,500 species, including Konik ponies, hen harriers and numerous types of dragonflies.

Don’t miss the town’s most famous attraction, the 11th-century Ely Cathedral. The imposing cathedral’s gorgeous Gothic octagon took nearly 20 years to build. This domed stained-glass skylight is considered to be a masterpiece of medieval engineering.

Near the entrance of the cathedral is the Stained Glass Museum, where you can inspect a beautiful collection of glasswork dating between the 13th century and the present day. To the north of the church, check out the charming shops and Georgian houses lining Ely’s High Street.

Explore Oliver Cromwell’s House, a half-timbered residence where the controversial military and political leader lived with his family in the 17th century. The interior has been decorated with period furnishings, as well as exhibitions and displays dedicated to its infamous former occupant.

Take a look inside the interesting little Ely Museum, which traces the history of the Isle of Ely and the Fens from prehistory through the 20th century. You’ll see displays of original prehistoric tools, Anglo Saxon jewelry and Roman pottery. The museum’s other exhibitions focus on the formation of the Fens, as well as old-fashioned trades like eel fishing and leatherwork.

Ely is easily visited as a day trip from Cambridge. Ride an express train or stagecoach bus from Cambridge. Trains for Ely also depart regularly from London's King’s Cross Station.

Top hotels in Ely

Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
3 out of 5
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £60 per night from 6 Dec to 7 Dec

Located in the heart of Ely, this hotel is steps away from Ely Museum and Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's House and Babylon Gallery are also within 10 minutes. ...

3.8/5Good! (294 reviews)

"The Staff the food and the location was excellent we loved the hotel"…"

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2020

Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Poets House
Poets House
4 out of 5
40 - 44 St Marys Street, Ely, England
The price is £162 per night from 18 Dec to 19 Dec

Located in the heart of Ely, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oliver Cromwell's House and Ely Cathedral. Ely Museum and Babylon Gallery are also ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (236 reviews)

"I'm not sure that there was anything unique about this hotel but it is certainly very stylish and the food is excellent. I had only one or two comments for improvement. Firstly the size of the towelling robe offered. Mine was suitable only for a child or size 10 or 12 female adult, which I am not. ..."…"

Reviewed on 18 Oct 2020

Poets House
The Old Hall
The Old Hall
4 out of 5
The price is £105 per night from 9 Dec to 10 Dec

Situated in Ely, this luxury bed & breakfast is 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from Jubilee Gardens and 2.2 mi (3.5 km) from Ely Cathedral. Ted Coney's Family Portraits and ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (91 reviews)

"My wife and I had an incredible time at The Old Hall, and couldn't recommend it enough. The properly is simply stunning and we were made to feel fully at home - the staff were kind and accommodating, the room was extremely comfortable, and breakfast superb. We were looking forward to a quiet, restful ..."…"

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2020

The Old Hall
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Holiday Rentals in Ely

Narrowboat Puzzle
Narrowboat Puzzle
3 out of 5
1 Annesdale, Ely, England

Situated in Ely, this houseboat is within a 15-minute walk of Jubilee Gardens and Ely Cathedral. Ted Coney's Family Portraits and Babylon Gallery are also within ...

5/5Exceptional! (15 reviews)
Ely - a view from the canal.

"A first-time experience of being on a narrowboat. I was drawn to the quirkiness of the experience taken as a whole. It exceeded my expectations. My fear of not getting a good night’s sleep, given the size of the bed, was unfounded. The setting and the proximity to Ely centre are big plusses too."…"

Reviewed on 4 Feb 2020

Narrowboat Puzzle
Countryside Retreat Near Historic Ely
Countryside Retreat Near Historic Ely
Alder House Mews, 24 Main St, Ely, ENG

Situated in a rural location, this historic apartment building is 4.1 mi (6.5 km) from Oliver Cromwell's House and 4.2 mi (6.7 km) from Ely Cathedral. WWT Welney ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (4 reviews)
Rural hideaway

"Friendly, helpful owners. Good location for exploring the Cambridgeshire countryside and trips to Ely, Cambridge and further afield. Warm and comfortable accommodation, plenty of space for two people. Adequately equipped kitchen-wise, though a toaster would, have been appreciated (grilling bread ..."…"

Reviewed on 24 Oct 2020

Countryside Retreat Near Historic Ely
Isleham River Lodge
Isleham River Lodge
3.5 out of 5

Situated on the riverfront, this holiday home is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) from Mildenhall Stadium and within 9 miles (15 km) of Royal Worlington & Newmarket Golf Club ...

4/5Very Good! (1 review)
Great Riverside setting

"Lovely setting, so peaceful!! Great for fishing and canoes provided for water enthusiasts!! Lodge has everything you could need, basic but clean and comfortable. Ely and Cambridge close by to explore. All in all a great break!"…"

Reviewed on 21 Aug 2018

Isleham River Lodge
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Ely

Top things to do in Ely

Reviews of Ely

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
33
5 - Excellent 55.932203389830505%
4 - Good
23
4 - Good 38.983050847457626%
3 - Okay
2
3 - Okay 3.389830508474576%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 1.694915254237288%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

17 Mar 2020

A lovely, quaint and welcoming place to visit, with lots of pubs, bars and restaurants, and so close to many interesting places

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

15 Feb 2020

Thoroughly enjoyed tour and tower tour

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

16 Jan 2020

I was working...so didn't see much....great meal in the Prince Abert Pub

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

28 Dec 2019

Very nice people and very clean facilities excellent

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

29 Sep 2019

great Antique centre by the river

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

19 Sep 2019

Typical market town, not a lot to see unless it’s market day.

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