Stay in Ely in Cambridgeshire
Ely to the north of Cambridge was once an island surrounded by wetland and marshes. It is dominated by the spectacular Ely Cathedral where you can take a tour and then enjoy the narrow streets and lanes lined with historic buildings such as the home of Oliver Cromwell, now a museum. Ely stands on the River Ouse and has an attractive riverside area with a marina, park, pubs, antique shops and plenty of places to sit and watch the boats go by!
The expansive landscape of The Fens forms one of the most distinctive areas of Britain, with its spectacular skies it is a breath of fresh air and a fabulous place to stay to get away from it all. It goes without saying that because of its unique flat landscape the Fens are brilliant for walking & cycling breaks! There are several cycle routes that take you through historic villages, past quaint pubs and alongside gently moving waterways. There are also plenty of places in the Fens where you can actually stand below sea level! Just outside Wisbech, for instance, is a fragment of a sea defence bank that once ran right around the wash. The land on one side of the bank is 2 metres higher than the other - it is silt left by the sea. With its rich black soil the fenland farms produce lovely strawberries, apples and herbs, and you will easily find a Farm Shop on your travels, full of delicious local produce to enjoy.
To explore the wildlife of the Fens visit Wicken Fen Nature Reserve (National Trust), just south of Ely. This is the last remaining un-drained portion of the great Fen levels, and home to an incredible range of wildlife. The rich peat soil allows hundreds of plant species to thrive and they create habitats for thousands of animal species. There is also a working windpump, restored fen cottage and café - North of Ely Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre is set in 1000 acres of wetlands with hides and footpaths allowing you to enjoy a wide range of wildfowl throughout the year, including returning swans in winter.
Wisbech is the 'Capital of the Fens' and is the perfect place for a day out. It is renowned for its Georgian architecture, and fine houses. For example, Peckover House, once the home of the Quaker banking family, and now in the care of the National Trust -Octavia Hill, co-founder of the National Trust was born in Wisbech. Visit Octavia Hill's Birthplace House & Museum which commemorates her life, work & legacy - A completely different example of Georgian architecture is Elgoods Brewery, one of the first Georgian breweries to be built outside London, which has stood almost unchanged for more than 200 years. You can watch traditional methods of brewing and will want to sample their award winning real ales! Brewery tours are available and you can also enjoy their 4-acre garden and maze.
Holiday Cottages near Ely, Cambridgeshire.