Ely is a perfect one day or short break destination.
The first port of call for any visitor to Ely today will almost certainly be the Cathedral. This imposing structure towers across the fens for miles around. Dominating the skyline, it is one of England's most beautiful and largest Cathedrals. Known locally as the 'Ship of the Fens' it is famous for its unique Octagon tower, which when lit can be seen for tens of miles. The Cathedral is also home to the only national museum dedicated to Stained Glass. If it's history you're interested in then Ely Museum, housed in the city's old gaol, is an excellent place to start.
Ely's most famous historical resident of Ely was of course Oliver Cromwell. In 1636 he inherited a large estate from Sir Thomas Steward, his maternal uncle, who farmed about two miles outside Ely at Stuntney. He became to local tax collector, or 'Farmer of the Tithes', for the local parishes. It was up to Cromwell to ensure that all the local taxes - including money, wheat and straw - were delivered to the Dean of the Cathedral. He was permitted to keep any excess collected and soon became a man of property and quite considerable local status. The Cromwell family left sometime in 1647, but you can still visit their house, which now doubles up as an interactive attraction and the award winning local Tourist Information Centre.
Within a short driving distance of Ely, attractions such as Wicken Fen and Welney Wetland Centre will leave you with a lasting impression of the great natural Fenland landscape. Life in the Fens could be harsh with its geographical challenges. Burwell Museum and The Farmland Museum at Denny Abbey will transport you back in time to explore the past. Technical minded visitors will appreciate the historic and heroic efforts of the pumps located at Prickwillow Museum and Stretham Old Engine during the Drainage of the Fens.