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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Rich in heritage and historic buildings, Ely, in the heart of the Fens, offers a fantastic day out for all age groups
Where is Ely?
Ely is in Cambridgeshire and was an island until the draining of the Fens in the 17th century. Its 40 minutes from Kings Lynn along the A10, and just 20 minutes from Cambridge.
What to see and do in Ely
Ely boasts a rich history. It is home to Ely Cathedral, one of the largest in England, and the wonderful medieval building dominates its surrounding city and Fenland landscape.
The cathedral is affectionately known as the Ship of the Fens because some say it looms out of the mists across the flat Fenland landscape like a vast ocean liner. The cathedral is also home to the only museum dedicated to stained glass.
Ely is rich in historic buildings dating from medieval times, and is characterised by its pattern of narrow streets and monastic buildings.
As well as the cathedral, Ely was also the home of Oliver Cromwell who rose to fame as a military and political leader during the English Civil Wars of 1642 and 1649. Following the execution of Charles I, Cromwell was declared Lord Protector and became the most powerful man in the land until his death in 1658.
Cromwell went to Ely before his rise to power. His house in Ely (pictured) is his only remaining home, with the exception of Hampton Court Place in London. His Ely home has been restored showing how Cromwell and his family would have lived during the 10 years he was there.
The house also contains a permanent Civil War exhibition and throughout the year there are special events and war re-enactments in and around the house.
A visit enables you to step back in time and live and breathe the life of Oliver Cromwell a fascinating insight into the life of such an influential man.
Although rich with history Ely also boasts a good range of shops and leisure activities. It has an array of small specialist shops and teashops as well as all the high street store names.
There are also regular markets throughout the week, including farmers markets and those selling craftwork.
The city boasts a beautiful waterside area where there is a chance to enjoy a boat trip, walk along the banks of the River Great Ouse, or explore the many cafes and antique shops.