Ely has a beautiful waterside where you can enjoy a boat trip, a riverside walk or listen to music in the neighbouring Jubilee Gardens. As well as an art gallery and the region's largest antique centre, the riverside is home to a variety of eateries. Whether it is a glass of wine, a light lunch, a pint of traditional ale, a gourmet meal or a cream tea at the best tearooms in the country, as voted by the Tea Guild 2007, Ely's waterfront has it all.
Soak up the beauty and the tranquility of the local countryside with a boat trip along the River Great Ouse and its connecting rivers. From the head of the river's navigation in Bedfordshire to the Norfolk Coast, The River Great Ouse is the perfect place to go boating, walking or simply to relax in one of the many riverside restaurants.
Continuing along the waterside you will find the quaintly shaped Ladder House and the larger Quay House, once the home of Ebenezer Harlock who built The Maltings in 1868 for sprouting barley before it was taken to the brewery. These days The Maltings is a popular conference and restaurant complex which hosts numerous events as well as the City's Cinema.
Ely is a tiny jewel of a city, and every part is immediately accessible to you. As you step onto the quayside, our ancient Cathedral beckons you. Follow the Eel Heritage Walk, a self-guided tour following brass way markers set into the pavement, through Jubilee Gardens and across into the Cathedral grounds.
Jubilee Gardens is a newly created park, so called to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The park is located on one of the oldest commercial parts of Ely, and following an archaeological excavation in 2000, many artefacts were found on the site dating from medieval times. These artefacts, including pottery and leather goods, can be found displayed in Ely Museum.
The Cathedral is known locally as 'The Ship of the Fens' because is seemed to float on the mists of the marshes that surrounded it in former times, the Cathedral is internationally famous for its unique Octagon Tower and Lantern Tower which is floodlit at night. Guided tours take place daily. Ely Cathedral is also home to the famous and unique Stained Glass Museum, the only national museum of this spectacular medium.
Continue the trail into the High Street where a wealth of individual shops mix with brand names selling everything from delicious handmade chocolates to fine arts and crafts. Make sure you take time to visit , Ely Museum formerly the Old Gaol, as well as Oliver Cromwell's House, home to Ely's most famous resident, who lived in Ely for ten years before becoming Lord Protector of England. His home is open to the public throughout the year and visitors can learn more about him in specially restored rooms and exhibits about 17th Century life. The House also doubles as the local Tourist Information Centre where further information on Ely and the surrounding areas can be found.
The circular route will take you back to the riverside to complete your tour of Ely.
For more information on Ely Riverside please download our Riverside Information Brochure available at the bottom of the page.
For more information on Moorings, visit our Marinas and Moorings pages.
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Another treasure of the city is the Maltings. Idyllically located on the banks of the River Great Ouse, the Maltings was built in 1868 for the brewery of Ebenezer William Harlock and was acquired by East Cambridgeshire District Council in 1968 for just £100. Today it is a thriving entertainment complex, as well as being one of East Anglia's best used conference centres.
When the Maltings was originally built, locally grown barley was transported here where the brewing process began. The main hall was originally on three levels. The barley was first sifted to remove foreign objects and then conveyed to the top floor where it was steeped in water for several days. The barley was then spread out on the second and first floors and allowed to sprout. The grain was moved along the floor with shovels towards the drying kiln. After drying it was stored ready for brewing. Malting continued from September to May. Barley was processed in this way at the Maltings for nearly 100 years.
In 1967 the Maltings was badly damaged by fire and was offered to East Cambridgeshire District Council in 1968 for use as a Public hall for the princely sum of £100. The building was carefully renovated and extended and was opened in 1971 as a multi purpose venue designed for conferences, exhibitions and banqueting.
Today The Maltings restaurant/bar, function rooms, theatre and cinema make it ideal for a wide variety of uses including conferences, meetings, exhibitions, wedding receptions, dinner dances, theatre productions, live music, cinema screenings, craft fairs, antique fairs and Christmas parties to name but a few of the wide variety of events that are held here. To ensure that the amenities and events held at the Maltings are equally available to all, we offer disabled access throughout the building including the Harlock Bar and Elysian Hall. A stairlift provides disabled access to the first floor Kempen Room. In addition there are hearing loops in the Elysian Hall and Kempen Room.
The restaurant and bar open daily and has a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for enjoying a quiet drink or a selection from the freshly prepared menu. The bar also has a sun terrace to enjoy the halcyon summer afternoons watching wildlife and the world pass by. In addition The Maltings also offers Conference, Exhibition and Banqueting facilities. Wedding receptions, private parties and dinner-dances can all be catered for. There is also a stage, which has been recently refurbished and can be hired for performances.
It has been said that 'The Maltings is very successful asset for East Cambridgeshire'. It has excelled as a tourist facility, entertainment complex and major regional conference centre. The Maltings look set to remain one of East Cambridgeshire's most successful attractions. An outstanding amenity for Ely and the local community that continues to be a popular and successful economic asset. From an empty burnt out building to a thriving, buzzing and busy conference banqueting and function centre. Long may the Maltings success story continue.