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  • Writer's pictureGavin Human

#FocusFriday : Ely

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

A famous and an historic City, Ely may be small, but it is regularly cited as one of the best places to live. In this article in The Times from earlier this year (2021), Ely is praised for its "friendliness and historic atmosphere." It is also a well connected city, just 15minutes on the train to Cambridge (40mins by car), which makes it also just over an hour by train from London. At the bottom of this page is a map of the area and a link to local schools, doctors etc.

Let's start with what is often described as the heart of the city - Ely Markets. You can browse a wide range of stalls from food and fashion; to crafts and clothes much more.

A fair warning though - if you time it so that you're there when George's Bakery is in town, prepare yourself for a sumptuous treat and save some room to stock up on some cakes delights! Check out their instagram page to get an idea of what I mean.

As well as the market, the city centre is home to an array of shopping options, ranging from independent shops to your regular big name stores; from the quaint back streets to the more modern arcade.

You can break up any retail therapy for refreshments with a wide choice in front of you. What takes your fancy? Traditional pub? Quick tea and cake? Or something a bit more upmarket?

The Old Fire Engine House has been using local ingredients and recipes since its inception over 50 years ago and not only offers a beautiful menu in picturesque surroundings, but you can also enjoy their gallery before or after indulging your taste buds. Also in the heart of the city, you can find accommodation and fine dining at both Poet's House and The Royal Standard. The luxurious bedrooms and facilities at Poet's House has made it a favourite for weddings and events and it's easy to see why. The Royal Standard manages to pull off the trick of being surprising, delightful, and still comfortably familiar all at once. Once inside its traditional pub exterior, you'll be greeted by boutique style in the furnishings and the accommodation; whilst the menu of local produce and tempting dishes is supported by a 60 string wine list.

Ely is perhaps most famous for its staggering cathedral - a cathedral looking over the city for over 900 years. Whilst there is no doubting that it is worth a visit - whether to admire from outside or to marvel at the unique octagon tower - did you also know about the stained glass museum that is on site? It is the only one of its kind in the country and the visual effect as you walk around is quite stunning.

For more history, you could always take a short stroll to Oliver Cromwell's house where you can take a guided tour before finding yourself a souvenir in the gift shop.

Maybe you're looking for something more outdoorsy? If you take a short 15 minute drive from the city centre you can spend some time at the stunning nature reserve of Wicken Fen. There you can follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin who also made the trip to observe the most species rich area in the UK that is home to over 9000 animals.

Finally, I couldn't do a #FocusFriday about Ely without mentioning Eel Day and the Eel Festival!

Traditionally held in May, the annual celebration includes a parade and an eel throwing competition! (Not real eels I hasten to add!) The Eel played a large part in the diet of people in this area over the years, as well as helping the city with its name. A unique festival, for a unique city that continues to grow and garner a glowing reputation.

If you are thinking of moving and would like some help selling your current home, or finding you new one - don't hesitate to get in touch via my contact page.


Ely train station will get you to Cambridge in 20mins and London in around 75mins.


Obviously, around the city there are plenty of primary schools to choose form, but these are the most local:

For secondary schools, you are within easy access to some further away, bu the most most local are:




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