I recently wrote about how much L and I love to go out and have a little adventure by train. Ely was on our hit list so Father’s Day seemed like the perfect day for a #RailAdventure to Ely with Greater Anglia.
I hadn’t visited Ely for many years, but had really fond memories of a day trip there as a kid. We had all gone on a boat trip and my sister was taunting a swan through the windows of the boat with her ice cream, only there was no glass in these windows, so the swan just leant in and ate it. Ahh, happy times.
Ely is on my preferred train route to London from Norfolk, heading into Kings Cross instead of Liverpool Street. A prettier line if you ask me, so every time I had got the train through Ely I had thought of that day.
Husb had never visited Ely before, so he was just up for an explore. If I’m honest I think he was pretty blown away with how much was on offer. I had some prior knowledge of what a gem this little City is, with it’s amazing Cathedral, beautiful river and good walks.
The train from Wymondham to Ely is a direct route, no changes required and takes around 50 minutes. A lovely length of time for L, though to be fair, travelling by rail is by the easiest way to travel with him. Especially when you get a table seat. He can get up and move around, no one feels cramped, there is so much to see and it’s just exciting for him. The train journey itself is a as much of a part of the day out as the actual destination.
Ely station is busy, especially considering it only has three platforms! But with good links to London and freight running through as well, there was no shortage of trains to see. The station is right next to a large Tesco, super handy. It has a car park, a couple of food and drink outlets, waiting room, bathrooms and ticket hall. It’s also really central.
We were at the river within 10 minutes at the pace of a 4 year old and got back from the cathedral in around 15 minutes. Perfect.
Ely itself is a real gem. It’s the perfect spot for a family day out. Filled with green open spaces, play areas, plenty of places to eat and of course the river. I cannot express what a beautiful city Ely is. The Cathedral is one of the most impressive I have seen, well worth a visit and every where you turn there is another interesting building to see.
Our main reason for visiting Ely was to go on a boat ride. Ages ago L had said he wanted to get on a train to find a boat, so this was the perfect opportunity. We opted for Liberty Belle Cruises. They offer a half hour tour of the River Gt Ouse, this for us is a great length. Any longer and there’s the chance of L becoming a handful, any less is pointless. It’s a very interesting little tour, covering some of the city’s history and allowing you to see the wildlife. The boat is comfortable and the captain is so friendly and helped us no end by directing us to some other playgrounds in the area and suggesting some places to go and eat.
The best bit, I’m almost certain it was the same boat we were on all those years ago when my sister tried to trick a swan.
It’s £6 per adult and £4 per child for the 30 minute cruise and they leave regularly from 11am. You’ll see the boards they put up from 11am but the Liberty Belle is easily located as it is moored just outside the Riverside Bar and Kitchen. They also offer longer cruises and even a fish and chip cruise, yum.
After our river cruise and stopping at the playground for a second time, rolling down some hills and a nice walk we had a little mooch round the Cathedral (2for1 with Greater Anglia) before stopping for lunch. I had fancied trying The Cutters Inn by the river, but then L spotted Wildwood. Although a chain of restaurants, there isn’t one in Norwich so it was new to us and they had a candy floss machine so L was sold and wouldn’t contemplate going anywhere else.
To be fair he made a wise choice, Husb had a delicious calzone and an ice cream sundae, I had a Prawn Linguine and L opted for one of the kids pizzas with marshmallow jelly and of course some candy floss. Service was fab, the atmosphere spot on and the food was amazing! We loved that you could combine a film with your food as they have a cinema screen and had we known may have timed our stop with a film. We really need to see a Wildwood in Norwich, that’s all I can say.
Our day in Ely went really fast, we’d arrived at just gone 10am and didn’t leave until gone 3pm. We would happily looked round longer had I not been suffering from a nasty combination of Tonsillitis and Sinusitis. It’s a gem of a combo I can tell you. I did manage to score a nap on the train though, another point to trains!
We love our rail adventures and find them such an easy day out. Hopefully it will have inspired you ready for the Summer Holidays, let me know by completing this survey.
For me the trick is booking in advance, you can get from Norwich to London for £10 one way if you are organised enough, combine that with one of the fab 2for1 attraction offers from Greater Anglia and it’s a great value day out.
Kids travel free until they are 5 years old, which is perfect for us and I was a bit worried what I would do after he turned 5. But then I found out that accompanied children on any off peak train travel for £2 return. That’s flipping amazing! It’s not available via the app which is a bit of a pain as I LOVE the Greater Anglia app but you can buy them at the station or on the train so it’s not an issue, I personally just feel a bit weird boarding a train without a ticket, such things bother me.
I don’t know where our next #RailAdventure will take us, Cambridge is still on my list, as is London, I do love London and I think Southend would be a grin. Any suggestions for me?
Disclosure – Greater Anglia kindly provided our Rail Ticket and arranged our boat trip with Liberty Belle Cruises. All opinions are my own.