We will be offering a wide range of activities and excursions during the days, but of course if you just want to relax or wander around Ely that’s fine, too!
On the first morning we will have an orientation meeting in the dance hall after breakfast where there will be brief speakers from the local school, local tourist office and organizers. We will learn a brief history of Ely and of the school, and of the many activities offered by the tourist office.
Sign-ups for all the activities will take place in Ely starting after orientation. Sign-up sheets will also be posted on a bulletin board in the dining hall, and in the past we have always accommodated everyone’s wishes, so there should be no stress!
The activities fall into three main categories – local history walks, local hikes and bus trips.
Local history walks will be arranged to cover the school, Ely and the Cathedral. We anticipate that there will be no charge for these.
Local hikes will be led by a local dancer and rambler. In the past we have done one to the West (Cawdle Fen), one to the South (Cuckoo Bridge) and one to the East (Little Downham). Some new ones may be offered in 2019 to give a taste of local nature and great views of the cathedral. There will be no charge for these.
For the many attractions that are within a one or two hour’s drive, buses will be arranged. The cost last time for each trip was £10 ($13), plus any admission charges if applicable. Bus transport can be organized more or less on demand. In past years, trips have been arranged to the following attractions.
Cambridge, a special trip to include punting on the river Cam at the Backs of the colleges! This is our most popular excursion and has been led in the past by our local UK dancers. The tour includes not-to-be-missed views of the exteriors of many of the famous colleges.
Sandringham Estate, the Norfolk retreat of Queen Elizabeth II, and our second most popular destination. At Sandringham there is a chance to walk around the wonderful grounds, a museum and a small private church.
Castle Acre, which takes its name from the walled castle built in the 12th-century by the Normans. There is much to see in Castle Acre including the castle ruins and the amazing Cluniac Priory, which is a short walk away. The local village has very nice restaurants and pubs also.
Lavenham, which is a very pretty village noted for its 15th century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walk. In the medieval period it was among the twenty wealthiest settlements in England.
Wicken Fen, which is one of Britain’s oldest nature reserves, and was the first reserve cared for by the National Trust, starting in 1899. The reserve includes fenland, farmland, marsh and reedbeds. There is a very nice old village pub nearby called the Maid’s Head.
Bletchley Park, once Britain’s best kept secret, today Bletchley Park is a heritage site and vibrant tourist attraction. Open daily, visitors can explore some of the iconic WW2 Codebreaking Huts and Blocks and marvel at the astonishing achievements of the Codebreakers whose work is said to have helped shorten the war by two years.
Grimes Graves, is the site of a Neolithic flint mining complex that is 3000 years old. It has had popular appeal in the past.
Duxford Imperial War Museum, is Britain’s largest aviation museum.
We are always open to requests for additional excursions, so please ask. Sorry, Stonehenge is 4 hours away, and Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) is over 3 hours away. These might make great trips if you extend your stay in England!