Ely Museum



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Ely Museum is housed in a building dating from the 13th century that has been a private house, a tavern, a register office and, most famously, the Bishop’s Gaol. It was sensitively renovated in 1997 and you can see much of the building’s history, including prisoners’ graffiti, hidden doorways and original planking on the walls. Telling the story of the area from prehistoric times to the 20th century, the museum is a history centre for the Isle of Ely and the Fens.

Ely Museum
The Old Gaol,Market Street,ELY,CB7 4LS


  • Suitable for children of all ages
  • Parking nearby
  • Fully accessible
  • Facilities: Stair lift, auto doors
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Opening Times: Open during summer, Mon-Sat 10.30-5 & Sun 1-5. Winter Mon-Sat 10.30-4 (closed Tue), Sun 1-4

About the area

Discover Cambridgeshire

To the west of East Anglia is Cambridgeshire, a county best known as the home to the university that makes up the second half of ‘Oxbridge’ (the other half is Oxford). As well as its globally renowned educational credentials, it also has a rich natural history; much of its area is made up of reclaimed or untouched fens. These are low-lying areas which are marshy and prone to flooding. The lowest point in the UK is at Holme Fen, which is some 9 feet (2.75 metres) below sea level. Some of the fens had been drained before, but it was in the 19th and 20th centuries that wide-spread, successful drainage took place, expanding the amount of arable and inhabitable land available.

Ely Cathedral was built on an island among the swampy fens, but now sits among acres of productive farmland, albeit farmland criss-crossed by miles of flood-preventing watercourses. Oliver Cromwell was born in Ely, and his family home can still be visited. Cambridge itself is a beautiful and historic city, with any number of impressive old buildings, churches and colleges, and plenty of chances to mess about on the River Cam which gave the city its name.

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