East­ern prom­ises

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Easy Trips -

With the throngs of sum­mer fad­ing from its time-worn streets and mists ris­ing from the River Ouse, early au­tumn is a par­tic­u­larly at­mo­spheric time to visit Ely. Its cathe­dral, stand­ing sen­tinel over the sur­round­ing Fens for nearly a mil­len­nium, is the ob­vi­ous place to start. Guided tours take in its oc­tag­o­nal tow­ers, con­sid­ered ar­chi­tec­tural mar­vels of the me­dieval world. For a slightly more mod­ern spin on Ely’s his­tor­i­cal riches, book into the Es­cape Room at nearby Oliver Cromwell’s House – the ruse is that you’re a cap­tured Roy­al­ist, and have 60 min­utes to es­cape from the Lord Pro­tec­tor’s guards and flee the build­ing. Peril over, beat a path over to the Poet’s House, a Grade II-listed ho­tel with fine views over Ely Cathe­dral and Cromwell’s House from many of its bed­rooms. The styling here is rather more con­tem­po­rary, with a colour pal­ette of black, grey and sil­ver, cop­per bath­tubs in the rooms and a long glass ex­ten­sion hous­ing the cocktail bar at the back. Din­ner is a re­laxed if el­e­gant af­fair, with a short menu in­clud­ing the likes of seared pork with rhubarb and saf­fron-poached John Dory. Look out, too, for dishes fea­tur­ing Ely’s orig­i­nal name­sake: its famed eels.

Twelfth-cen­tury Ely Cathe­dral, seen from the banks of the River Ouse

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