Ely

Travel Guide
Ely Cathedral showing a church or cathedral, heritage elements and heritage architecture

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.

The Swan on the River
The Swan on the River
3.5 out of 5
The price is £83 per night from 22 Jan to 23 Jan
Situated in Ely, this inn is within 6 miles (10 km) of Babylon Gallery, Ted Coney's Family Portraits and Jubilee Gardens. Ely Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell's ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (51 reviews)
"Lovely little riverside Pub/restaurant/hotel, which has benefited from money being spent sensibly and appropriately, to bring it up to modern standards, without sacrificing the charm and ethos of the village! Great food, super friendly staff and a bustling eclectic mix of locals and boating fraternity, ..."

Reviewed on 29 Nov 2021

The Swan on the River
Poets House
Poets House
4 out of 5
40 - 44 St Marys Street, Ely, England
The price is £170 per night from 24 Jan to 25 Jan
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 ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (258 reviews)
"Hotel is stunning. Service and food amazing! Only downside, you have these amazing rooms with uncomfortable small beds."

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2021

Poets House
Riverside Inn
Riverside Inn
4 out of 5
The price is £115 per night from 25 Jan to 26 Jan
Situated in Ely, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Babylon Gallery, Ely Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell's House. Ely Museum and Wicken Fen National Nature ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (89 reviews)
"Just everything"

Reviewed on 23 Dec 2021

Riverside Inn
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.
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 ...
5/5 Exceptional! (19 reviews)
Unique
"A unique property. Great location."

Reviewed on 11 Sep 2021

Narrowboat Puzzle
St Johns House
St Johns House
3.5 out of 5
St Johns Road, Ely, England
Situated in Ely, this cottage is within a 10-minute walk of Oliver Cromwell's House and Ely Cathedral. Ely Museum and Jubilee Gardens are also within 15 minutes. ...
St Johns House
The Hoist
The Hoist
3.5 out of 5
Flat 2 The Hoist The Vineyards, Ely, England
Situated in Ely, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Ely Museum and Ely Cathedral. Babylon Gallery and Ted Coney's Family Portraits are also ...
The Hoist
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.

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