Culture and Heritage

Fenland and East Cambridgeshire is steeped in history with relics dating back to the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. There are plenty of ways to make the most of this heritage and culture.

To immerse yourself in the areas history, you can take the family to Flag Fen, a Bronze Age settlement that was created over 3,500 years ago. The site has a visitor’s centre, reconstructed dwellings and a museum to learn about the history of this unique site. Fossil Galore is also a great place to take the children to discover the history of the area.

Throughout the year, there are many festivals to celebrate the heritage of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire. The market towns of Ely and Wisbech both hold open heritage weekends every year, where local historical sites are open and free to the public, such as Ely Cathedral. Ely also holds an Eel festival weekend each year to celebrate the origins of the city. The Ouse Washes community holds a variety of events and festivals including the Fenland Jam and Willingham Craft Fair.

There is also a variety of museums in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, focusing on the historic industries of the area. For example, must-visit museums include Ely’s Stained Glass Museum, Chatteris Museum, Prickwillow Drainage Engine Museum, March Museum and Whittlesey Museum among others. The area is also home to a wide assortment of historical houses, including Peckover House, Oliver Cromwell’s House and Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House.

Ely Cathedral is an important historical site in East Cambridgeshire. The Anglican cathedral, which was built in 672 AD, is breath-taking; spanning over 530ft and at its highest point, reaching 217ft tall. It is known locally as ‘The Ship of the Fens’ due to its sheer presence on the flat landscape.

Nearby cities, Peterborough and Cambridge, are also full of history and offer a wide variety of arts and cultural activities. Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the premier music events in Europe and one of the longest running and most famous folk festivals in the world.

In the summer, The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival offers eight weeks of Elizabethan drama performed in the picturesque setting of Cambridge University’s gardens, where the audience can enjoy a picnic on a summer’s evening before watching the show.