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Heritage & Architecture Tours

Experience a journey back through the ages in the company of a City of Ely Tourist Guide or Blue Badge Guide as they guide you around Ely’s medieval streets and Monastic buildings. 

Hear the secrets, stories and scandals of Ely’s past or learn about the fascinating array of architecture through Ely’s historical buildings. Let’s not forget about Eels, why not discover of the importance of Eels to Ely on our guided Eel trail.

Dates of our regular public Guided Tours are posted on the What’s On pages of this website. Tours are very popular and need to be pre-booked. Contact Ely Tourist Information Centre on 01353 662062 to book your tickets.

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.

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.

For more information on Heritage & Architecture Tours please contact the Tourist Information Centre or complete our online enquiry form.