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Property for sale in Ely, Cambridgeshire

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The local area guide to living in Ely

A charming market town with a rich history, Ely is tucked into the heart of the Fen countryside. Its name means ‘island of the eels’, referring to its past as a marshy island before the Fens were drained in the 17th century. Today, it’s well known for its bustling shops, markets, and well-preserved architecture. This small city is dominated by the impressive Ely Cathedral, undoubtedly the area’s top tourist attraction. It dates back to the 12th century and provides magnificent views of the countryside. The Cathedral hosts a Stained Glass Museum with guided tours as well. Oliver Cromwell’s House and the Ely Museum are further highlights for visitors.

The city offers many conveniences including supermarkets, boutiques, and antique shops. Ely’s waterside and Jubilee Gardens provide a pleasant, green setting for a stroll or cycle, and the River Great Ouse is lined with restaurants and tearooms.

Information about the local residents

Ely is the largest urban centre in the East Cambridgeshire District, with a total population of around 20,256. The District Council is based here, and the area serves as a thriving hub of economic activity with many links to nearby Cambridge. The Ely West ward is the most densely populated in the district. This entire area has experienced a great deal of growth over the past few years. Between 2001 and 2009, East Cambridgeshire’s population grew at a rate of 13%, with the majority of this growth occurring in Ely South and North wards.

Its proximity to Cambridge and London means that there are plenty of commuters and young families in Ely. However, it’s also a popular location for retirement due to its tranquillity. The population of East Cambridgeshire as a whole is aging, with a high percentage over the age of 65.

Nearby schools

Ely is widely popular with families due to its green spaces, leisure facilities, and excellent schools. At primary school level, students may attend Ely St John’s Community or Ely St Mary’s C of E Junior schools. Both of these have been rated ‘Good’ in their Ofsted reports as of 2010. There is also the Lantern Community Primary, which received an ‘Outstanding’ designation.

King’s Ely, formerly known as The King’s School, is one of the oldest schools in the world. It was founded in 970 AD and today includes a reception class, junior and senior school. There is also an international school on the campus. In an ISI inspection report from 2014, the school was found to fulfil its aims ‘extremely well’ with strong academic achievements from the students.

Getting around

Ely residents are well-served by motorway, rail, and air connections alike. The Ely Railway Station is within walking distance from the city centre. You’ll be able to catch both taxi and bus connections from this central location. Cycle hire is available here as well. There are direct trains to Stansted Airport, the Midlands, and London King’s Cross. Cambridge can be accessed within a 20 minute train ride. Stagecoach bus services are operated regularly to destinations throughout the region. The Dayrider Plus ticket is a day pass providing unlimited travel.

Motorists arriving in Ely will find long stay car parks available on the outskirts of the city centre, and residents can find street parking. From Ely, it’s approximately 25 minutes to either Cambridge or the M11/A14 motorways.

Local shops

Ely’s traditional city centre lends itself well to window-shopping, with a variety of independent boutiques on offer. It’s easy to spend the better part of a day popping in and out of the local bookshops, art galleries, and gift shops that line the high street. Don’t miss the chance to visit second-hand vintage emporiums like the Waterside Antiques Centre to find one-of-a-kind gifts and furnishings. Big-name retailers like Waitrose and Marks and Spencer help round out the selections.

There are a number of markets held regularly in Ely, including the bi-monthly Farmers Market. You can also visit the weekly General Market, or Craft and Collectables Market on weekends. These are abound with locally produced goods and street entertainment to create a festive atmosphere.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.