Group Tours & Corporate Activities
Within easy travelling distance of London, Counties of East Anglia and Lincolnshire, Ely has a treasure trove of heritage, art, shopping facilities and bustling markets on offer for our group explorers. With free coach car parking, strategic drop off points within the city and a wide range of facilities, Ely is the ideal destination for a day visit.
We are very proud to have a bank of trained guides who can offer a range of guided tours to explore our heritage and history. Each tour can usually be tailored to your special interest, whether that is architecture, royalty, costumes, craftsmanship, food, country life or general history. Tours can be arranged for any number of visitors, can be done in combination with a visit to any of the local attractions and can also be offered in French or German if requested in advance. You can find a selection of our tours below. Coach drivers and tour organisers are offered free places on the tours.
If you are interested in arranging a guided tour or would like some assistance in planning your day, please contact our Tours Administrator and let us know which tour/tours you are interested in. If you wish to tailor or combine one or more of the tours to suit your specific requirements, please give us full details of what you would like. You can use our online enquiry form to send us the information, or alternatively you can telephone us on 01353 662062 or fax us on 01353 668518.
Sample menus of local restaurants, tearooms and cafés available.
Oliver Cromwell’s House Tour (with costumed guide)
We invite you to experience what domestic life would have been like in the 17th century in a variety of re-created period rooms including exhibitions of the civil war. Our guide will talk you through the early years of Cromwell, show you what family life would have been like and explain how the House was used after Cromwell left.
Guided Walking Tour of the Historical City of Ely
What better way of discovering the history of this magnificent city than being guided around its splendid array of medieval paths and monastic buildings. Discover the origins of the Cathedral and the importance of trade in this former Isle of Eels.
Guided Walking Riverside Tour
This expanded tour takes in the city centre as well as the picturesque waterside with some stunning views. Learn about the drainage of the fens, the life of the fen folk and how the river serves visitors and residents today.
Ely – through its Architecture Guided Tour
You will find out about the diverse architectural history of the city and the typical features of each style. Was Ely’s court house built by the same man who designed the famous Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum? The tour is suitable for those who particularly admire architecture and those interested in its history.
Monastic Ely Guided Tour
Visitors to Ely Cathedral often wonder how such a small town in the countryside came to have such a large and magnificent work of architecture. The answer is St. Etheldreda, who founded an abbey in Ely in 673 AD. Her monastery flourished throughout the Middle Ages and her shrine attracted many pilgrims.Discover and explore the ground of the largest groups of medieval monastic buildings still in use within Western Europe and listen to tales of monks and royalty.
Eel Heritage Guided Walk
The prosperous town of Ely (EEL-ee) was an island until steam power drained the surrounding fenlands in the early 1800s, creating a flat, reed-covered region of rich farmland. Legend has it that the city got its name when St. Dunstan transformed local monks into eels for their lack of piety. A more likely story is that “Elig” (Isle of Eels) was named for the bountiful slitherers that infested the surrounding waters—they were once so numerous that taxes were payable in eels. Today, Ely remains proud of its eel-inspired heritage. The local market sells them fresh from the Great River Ouse, Eel Day celebrates the city’s history, and the Eel Heritage Walk snakes through all of the city’s major sights.
Join us for one of our immensely popular Ghost Tours around one of the most haunted cities in Europe. Hear the stories that have traveled down through the ages as well as more recent tales. Ghostly sightings guaranteed!
For those not so brave (i.e. there are no guaranteed ghosts on this walk!) but interested in learning about this haunted city, this is the ideal tour for you. Our guide will take you to the most haunted areas of Ely where ghostly happenings have been reported.
Haunted Happenings at the House– discover the ghostly secrets of Oliver Cromwell’s House
There appear to be several ghosts who haunt Cromwell’s House, one is said to be Oliver Cromwell himself. There have been many claims of doors slamming and voices being heard. Are you brave enough to visit the House?
What the Night watch man saw The night watchman will take the group through the dark streets of the medieval town. He shares stories and teaches the group with the perfect blend of history and entertainment. My advice? Be sure to come with questions! The Night Watchman has been doing the tour for many years and can answer nearly any question about the history of Ely. Take advantage of his knowledge and come prepared!
Suggested Itinerary for a group day visit to Ely
Arrival and coffee- choose from either traditional tearooms with beautiful architecture and stunning gardens, or perhaps a contemporary setting is more to your liking.
Ely Cathedral- Ely's top tourist attraction and it is easy to see why. Look in awe and wonder at this 12th century building in your own time, or take advantage of having a more informative experience by having a guided tour. Tours also include optional visits to the Octagon and/or Lantern Towers, where the spectacular view makes it well worth the climb!
Stained Glass Museum- housed in the South Triforium of Ely Cathedral, with its stunning collection of stained glass. It is the only museum dedicated to stained glass in the country. A guided tour is highly recommended as it unveils the story of stained glass.
Lunch - whatever your taste and budget, Ely has a host of different eateries on offer whether you choose to eat as a group or as individuals. The midday break also gives you an opportunity to visit the many gift shops, craft shops, antique shops, art galleries or market (depending on the day of your visit).
Oliver Cromwell's House - home to the Lord Protector, Cromwell lived in this house with his family for ten years, his only remaining home apart from Hampton Court Palace, London. For an atmospheric experience, tours using costumed guides are recommended.
Ely Museum- discover the story of Ely from prehistoric times to the 20th century set in a former Gaol. Tours will bring the rooms and artifacts to life.
Time for a stroll- following the eel trail is an excellent way of seeing historic Ely at its best. This circular walk self-guided by brass waymarkers set in the ground, takes you past the oldest parts of Ely with its beautiful monastic buildings with stunning architecture and spectacular views.
Time for a Meal before you leave- many of the attractions host evening tours and/or drinks receptions. So, before you leave, take advantage of the truly atmospheric experience that is created in some of Ely's oldest buildings before partaking some of Ely's finest cuisine delights.