After thoroughly enjoying our mini seaside adventure we thought we should head inland to see one of the wonders of the medieval world, the magnificent Ely Cathedral. As the land in this part of England is extremely flat, we could spot the Cathedral from miles away. We learnt that this part of England is referred to as 'the Fens' because most of it lies just a few metres above sea level with some places now actually lower than sea level. It originally consisted of fresh - or salt-water wetlands. These have now been artificially drained and continue to be protected from floods by drainage banks and pumps. A little bit like Holland with its dykes and windmills.
Now back to the Cathedral....what was really amazing was that while the Cathedral is architecturally outstanding both in scale and decorative styles - surprisingly the town is quite small. Over the years numerous chapels were added and sadly at times destroyed by fire or vandalism. The original tower collapsed and a new stunning octagonal one was built to replace it, taking 14 years back in the 14th century. Most of the free standing statues were destroyed and the heads of carved statues were decapitated during the English Reformation. What a pity.
It might look familiar as it was used in the following movies: The King's Speech, The Other Boleyn Girl, Elizabeth: the Golden Age.
Grae was amazed there was also ample free parking throughout the town, a rarity in England.
The area has an amazing history.... before the Fens were drained, the harvesting of willow and rush and the extraction of peat were important activities, as were eel fishing. The town itself reads like a who's who of famous or infamous historical figures including King Canute, William the Conqueror, Hereward the Wake, Henry III, Edward III, Queen Phillipa and Oliver Cromwell all playing their part.
Our accommodation was a lovely posh georgian Airbnb in nearby Littleport with a very friendly dog called Darcy and some very conveniently located pubs within walking distance. I had the best smoked salmon salad and Grae had a delicious steak and ale pie.