As I said in a previous post I’ve always wanted to visit Ely (Eel-ee. Not Eel-i), and I still have no idea why (although this morning my sister has given me some ideas – which make me thing maybe I once saw it the old Holiday programme when it was hosted by Cliff Michelmore).
That said today was the day (Monday 26th June 2017) that I finally fulfilled my long held dream 😊
Ely didn’t disappoint. From parking in the cathedral car park and looking for the pay machine to find that there isn’t one. Because the parking is free!!
This isn’t a big city and we were soon within sight of the cathedral itself. And what an impressive sight it is. Before heading towards it though we saw a sign for Oliver Cromwell’s house (he lived here for 10 years and his 2 youngest children were born here – of 9 children in total).
It cost £4.90 each to visit the house and, whilst very interesting (I learned much that I wasn’t aware of about Cromwell), we only got to see a small number of the rooms. I’m also not entirely sure that the ‘coverage’ wasn’t a little biased towards Cromwell! I still can’t decided whether he was a hero or a villain – as they ask you to do at the end of the tour! I still veer towards villain but feel I need a little more study before I can make my mind up for sure!
It was now lunchtime so we set off in search of somewhere to eat. We eventually settled on Julia’s Tearoom, which was very nice (and the cakes looked scrummy) but we nearly didn’t go in as the frontage wasn’t overly welcoming (a quick clean of the windows might help a little!)
Finally we were ready to head for the cathedral itself. It really is magnificent, but we were disappointed to find that there was a charge of £8 plus £7 each to go on the Octagonal Tower tour – £30 between us to visit seemed excessive. There’s also a Stained Class Window museum. At £4.50 each…
I really wanted to go in but Calv wasn’t bothered so I went in while he wandered around the town. The cathedral is beautiful, particularly the lantern at the top of the octagonal tower. The tour takes you to the top of this tower and gives many insights into the history of the cathedral.
This is not the original tower. That collapsed in the 14th century! (As we’re visiting many churches and cathedrals I’m finding out that this isn’t actually that rare an occurrence!)
The tour was excellent. Apart from the fact that the guide could be a little rude and impatient. I can live with that though. Also the higher you ascended the narrower the spiral stairways became, and you have some tiny doorways to squeeze through – the smallest being just 18 inches wide 😊
This cathedral has the largest Lady Chapel I have ever seen – very impressive. I also really loved the mix of ancient and modern inside the church, with some new sculptures being present. I went to find Calv when I left the cathedral (luckily he had his phone with him for once! Although he didn’t have any cash….)
If you turn left on leaving the cathedral you will soon come across a large stone gateway. Walking through here you find yourself taking a path through a park. Crossing a road you can see the river ahead of you, packed with barges and riverboats. This small section of park has a sculpture of an eel.
The riverside is rather lovely with a couple of pubs and cafes along the banks. We had a drink in The Cutter Inn sat watching the world go by.
Wandering back up through town we were charmed by the little town centre.
This is a lovely little city – a visit is a must if you’re in the area 😊