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Cambridge and Ely on daytrip from London?

Cambridge and Ely on daytrip from London?

Old Jun 7th, 2009, 07:48 PM
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Cambridge and Ely on daytrip from London?

Hi

I am torn on this one. I really want to see Ely Cathedral and its Close. I am mad for English Cathedrals, and the small streets and gardens around them.

So Im thinking that it hardly makes sense to go to Ely without going to Cambridge. In fact, I rather think I have to get to Cambridge to get to Ely. Then back to Cambridge to get back to London.

Our London days are crammed with art, history and Shakespeare. Cambridge calls to me for the punting (can't help it).

So is there a reasonable itinerary for a day trip from London that would include some highlights of Cambridge, a punt (?) if the weather suits, and a visit to Ely? Has anyone done this?

I would love feedback please.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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I'm sure some that have attempted this before will have better advice, but I think it can be done. Next month I'm planning a daytrip to Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge, so I'm sure Ely and Cambrige is doable. Cambridge is about an hour by train from King's Cross, and Ely is 15 minutes further. Plan on going to Ely first, by an early-ish train (connecting thru Cambridge), see the catheral and have lunch, then back to Cambridge for the afternoon. Spend the afternoon punting or whatever (don't miss Kings Cross Chapel if possible), have dinner, and take a late afternoon or early evening train back to London.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 09:13 PM
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You don't need to go to Cambridsge to go to Ely.

Just about all trains to Kings Lynn from Kings Cross stop at Ely. Just buy a return ticket to Cambridge, get a Kings Lynn train and get off at Ely, see the cathedral, get a train to Cambridge, see what you want to see then get a train back to Kings Cross.

This won't be desperately cheap on a weekday: you're really going to have get a train before 0930, so you'll have to buy a full fare (£27.50) ticket.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 07:10 AM
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I like Ely, not so Cambridge. From the Ely train station off to the right about 70 yards down the street is the river. A nice small marina, Pub, B&B and eating place. Walk down the river until you come to a park. Cross to the other side and you will end up in Town center. After your visit you can make connections to Cambridge. As I recall, the station is quite a ways from the town center.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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Yes - Cambridge station is away from the center, but that doesn't matter, because your punting adventure can begin at the basin on Silver Street, across from Queen's.

It's a mile walk from the station.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 08:29 AM
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Ely is literally tawdry (look up the origin of the word tawdry - it comes from Ely cathedral).

Apart from the, wonderful, cathedral there's not much in Ely. It's tiny.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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"tawdry - it comes from Ely cathedral"

No it doesn't. It comes from St Audrey's FAIR - which was never held in the cathedral. The fair was famous for its tatty lace necklaces - either the cause of her death, or ways of warding off throat tumours, depending who you believe, but tawdry in either case.

Since the fair was held just one day a year, and in Ely market place, the whole point of the word 'tawdry' is that neither Ely nor the cathedral was ever thought to be tawdry. If you look closely, there's a remarkable amount of once-bright, pre-Reformation paintwork on the cathedral's staues and stonework. But 'tawdry' never referred to that.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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Ely Cathedral has something I don't remember seeing anywhere else - a stained-glass window commemorating paratroop and tank units.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 09:42 AM
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There's a bus service from right outside Cambridge station to the city centre, and it's reasonably frequent (every 10 mins or so). Although a good mile, it is a completely level walk and no great effort (though admittedly, not a very picturesque trek).

The two cities are definitely doable in one day.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 10:02 AM
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Trains to Ely run every hour from London Kings Cross and go via Cambridge. There are more frequent trains from London to Cambridge, with connections to Ely.
A day return to Ely is £29.50 before 0930, or £24.50 after 0930. You are allowed to break the journey at Cambridge.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Oh, now I'm confused. I do see that this is doable, but not sure if I should do both. I guess I'll wait until the time comes.

Thanks.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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The one thing common to every answer you've had is that visiting both places in a day is a complete doddle.

So what, exactly, makes you "confused"?
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 07:11 AM
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After reviewing all of the above, it is obvious that saying "every answer you've had is that visiting both places in a day is a complete doddle" is a complete doodle.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 08:43 AM
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No it doesn't. It comes from St Audrey's FAIR >>>

Ahem - no it doesn't. It comes from St Audrey's Chains (the symbol worn to show you'd done the pilgrimage to Ely).

You bought them in the cathedral or it's precinct.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 09:40 AM
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Do this trip. You won't regret it and it is doable.
As someone else said - start early and do Ely first. The cathedral is my favorite in Britain. The gothic lantern dome is unique - if you are not easily embarassed, lie on the floor and look up for the best view of the dome.
Ely is mainly about the cathedral - so when you are done with that - head to Cambridge.

Cambridge - I would forget the punt (unless you are really keen on this) and instead wander about the colleges (most of which are surprisingly easy to access - just be respectful and don't go into the areas marked private).
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Semiramis: thanks, that is the type of thing I was looking for.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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The colleges are easy to access but almost every college has an admission charge. Those tend to add up over the course of a day.

I don't question the need--the upkeep must be horrific, but it made us be a bit more selective about which we decided to enter.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 04:03 AM
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tuscanlifeedit:

Agree start early via Cambridge to Ely. The cathedral is wonderful and well worth your visit.

On your return to Cambridge you could catch the hop on and off bus right at the station. You can get off at places of interest and when your time runs out get back on to return to the station.

www.visiteastsofengland.com is helpful in planning.

Sandy
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 04:05 AM
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Sorry the link is: www.visiteastofengland.com
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Old Jun 15th, 2009, 12:17 AM
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I love Cambridge, much better than Oxfordf INMH. A day trip from London would be great but if you could spare two days there's also lots to do in the wider Cambridgeshire area. Take a look here http://www.womenrepublic.co.uk/travel/cambridgeshire/

I have to stay that I wasn't too impressed by Ely Cathedral but I probably don't appreciate cathedrals as much as do.
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