Introduction to Ely

An Introduction to Ely from Cllr Sue Austen, The Right Worshipful Mayor of the City of Ely

I am honoured to be the Right Worshipful Mayor of the City of Ely. The Parish of Ely also includes the villages of Prickwillow, Chettisham, Queen Adelaide, Shippea Hill and Stuntney.

Nestling under the big skies of the Fen countryside, in the shadow of its magnificent cathedral, Ely offers a wealth of attractions and things to do. As the second smallest city in England, it is compact enough to explore on foot, but large enough to fill a full day and more.

A bustling shopping location

The City of Ely is a growing primary retail and service centre for the district. Shopping is easy and convenient, with free car parking. There are numerous well-known shops and a good mix of specialist shops in the busy retail centre. It also offers a busy market on a Thursday and a craft market every Saturday, with a farmers’ market every third Saturday. There is a wide variety of restaurants, cafés, pubs and hotels.

Abounding with history

Ely has a very large modern library and the Ely Museum. Also, standing in the shadows of the cathedral is the former house of England’s Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. This has been extensively restored and is a very popular tourist attraction, which also houses the Tourist Information Centre. The Cromwell family lived in Ely for some ten years, and today you can take a look inside their former home, which has been recreated to demonstrate what 17th-century domestic life would have been like. There is also an exhibition on the civil war.

Excellent transport links and tourist attractions

Ely benefits from a major rail interchange with five lines and has regular bus services to most local villages and towns.

The River Ouse flows through the city and there are free 48-hour moorings. There is also the opportunity to hire boats, and along its banks are pubs and restaurants. The council operates the wonderful, historic Maltings building, which sits on the Riverside. This is a great venue for any family celebration, wedding, conference or event. Currently, the venue is operating a tea room, so pop in and sample some of their delicious menus.

The council operates from the very grand former Magistrates Court building, Sessions House, which dates back to 1821. This has been sympathetically renovated over the past four years and is available for hire. In the past we have had musical recitals in the refurbished court room, and the council is hoping to offer tours of the building in the future.

If you visit Ely in the summer, you will see the colourful hanging baskets and floral displays throughout the city and the Riverside. Later in the year, the council ensures the city centre is lit up with an amazing range of Christmas lights and a huge, decorated Christmas tree in the marketplace. There is also a huge switch-on event, which sees thousands in attendance. Unfortunately, this will not be possible this year. But the council is hopeful that it will return next year and be an even bigger and better event.

I feel we are lucky to live in such a lovely place and we are happy to share this with everyone. It is certainly worth a visit; you will not be disappointed.

Cllr Sue Austen

The Right Worshipful Mayor of the City of Ely

To read another article about Ely click here.

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