I feel not many people know about this tiny little city in the Cambridgeshire fens that offers so much history, charm and beautiful surroundings, it’s the perfect place to spend a day out in the Autumn or any time of the year for that matter. I’ve only lived here for 6 years but it is very much ‘home’ to me, I love it here. Situated only 20 minutes from the university city of Cambridge and only an hour and a half train journey away from London, it’s well connected but Ely itself has a lot you can cram into 24 hours to enjoy a wonderful day and evening out here.
Now this is a difficult one for me as I’ve rarely ate breakfast out here. However, there is a cafe called Street Cafe on the high street that I really love but it may not be to everyones taste as it is technically a ‘builders cafe’. I really love their fry ups but if this is not for you then there are a few other places to check out such as Grand Central on the riverside if pancakes and waffles are your kind of thing! If you just want to grab a coffee there are many coffee shops both well known and independent. Costa Coffee is one of them.
AFTER BREAKFAST |
Walk off your breakfast with a nice stroll through Jubilee Gardens down to the stunning riverside. This is where the Cambridge University Boat Club sometimes train! You can even take a boat trip along the River Great Ouse which is something I need to do myself. A short walk along the river will bring you the Babylon Gallery if you like art galleries and it’s free too! There is also a lovely antiques centre, Waterside Antiques nearby.
If you do visit the Babylon Gallery, next door is the award winning Peacocks Tearooms. I’m yet to visit however it was voted the best tearooms in the country in 2007 so it must be good! Why not grab lunch here? They offer light lunches and snacks and even set afternoon teas! Another tea room recommendation near our breathtaking cathedral is The Almonry which I’ve to been many times and it’s lovely with incredible views of the cathedral.
AFTER LUNCH |
Ely is home to an absolutely breathtaking cathedral often referred to as the ‘Ship of The Fens’ and is the only UK building to be listed on the Seven Wonders of The Middle Ages. Not only is it incredible to look at from the outside but inside is spectacular too. Inside, there is a Stained Glass Museum and the chance to have a guided tour and/or go up to the West or Octagon towers for incredible views of Ely and the Cambridgeshire countryside. It has also been featured in many films such as ‘The Kings Speech’ and ‘Jupiter Ascending’ and soon enough you will see it in an upcoming Netflix drama ‘The Crown.’ I’ve been in the cathedral many times now and it still takes my breath away every time. It’s beautiful.
After visiting the Cathedral, take a short walk to Oliver Cromwell’s House where he lived for 10 years. Oliver Cromwell was the Lord Protector of England and this house has been recreated to show how his family would have lived in the mid 17th century.
Ely has many great restaurants to choose from. There are your usual chains like Pizza Express, Prezzo and Wildwood. However my favourite would probably be Grand Central. If you like American restaurants then this is for you! If not, I’d recommend either The Lamb, The Hereward or the newly refurbished High Flyer for some good pub food and a few drinks to go with it too! If A la Carte dining is more your thing, make sure you visit Poets House.
AFTER DINNER/NIGHTLIFE |
If cocktails are your kind of drink, visit Ta Bouche on the riverside. In my opinion, these are the best cocktails in Ely! If bars and pubs aren’t your kind of thing why not check out the ADEC Cinema at The Maltings? Some evenings, there are showings of popular films from recent months.