Take step back in time and discover city’s past
- Credit: Archant
Ely’s annual Heritage Weekend returns this Friday September 8 for a three day celebration of all things historic.
The event kicks off with three open nights. Head to Oliver Cromwell’s House between 5 and 8pm (last entry 7pm) to explore the English leader’s impressive former home. Admission is free and you no pre-booking is required.
You’ll be able to play with some toys from the period and experience 17th-century domestic life in specially re-created rooms. And for those brave enough – step into the Haunted Bedroom.
Or make your way over to Ely Museum in the evening for another free event, where displays include original prison cells, fossils to touch and Roman remains.
The third Friday open night is at the cathedral, between 6.30 and 8.30pm, where twilight tours of either the historical West Tower or the world famous Octagon Tower will be taking place. Tickets are limited to two-per-person and must be pre-booked via elycathedral.org.
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Then, on Saturday, discover Ely through its architecture on a guided tour of the town departing from the tourist information centre at 11.30am. Tickets should be booked via olivercromwellshouse.co.uk.
Or if you prefer to take in the amazing 15th-century Bishop’s Palace, owned and managed by Kings School. This will include an illustrated lecture from historian Francis Young, and an exhibition in the Long Gallery called Prisoners in the Palace, telling the story of Catholics imprisoned there by Elizabeth I. To book call 01353 660700 or email EmandaMoscatelli@kingsely.org.
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Daytime tours of Ely Cathedral’s West Tower, with spectacular views across the surrounding landscape, will also be taking place on Saturday, and can be booked by calling 01353 660359 or visiting elycathedral.org.
On Sunday, meanwhile, there will be guided tours of Ely Museum from, as well as opportunities to visit some of the town’s most intriguing houses – two of the medieval cottages on Silver Street, which feature 16th century wall paintings on the first floor. Pre-book for all these at olivercromwellshouse.co.uk.
And don’t miss out on the chance to visit Prior Crauden’s Chapel, dating from the 14th-century. The building is rarely open to the public and places are limited. For more information visit elycathedral.org.
Finally, book yourself onto tours of Ely Porta and the Monastic Barn on Sunday afternoon.
The Porta was once the main entrance to Ely monastery, welcoming travellers, pilgrims, royalty and local people selling their wares through its doors.
Today it houses the King’s School Library, where you can marvel at the architecture of the building and its impressive collection of books.
Sitting next to Cherry Hill Park, the Monastic Barn was built during the reign of Edward III, for storage of wheat, malt, salted meat and other foodstuffs.
Now a magnificent dining hall for the King’s School, with arched doorways and an exposed beamed ceiling, it’s sure to impress.
Tours of the Porta and Barn should be booked in advance. Visit olivercromwellshouse.co.uk to secure your spot.