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Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Western PA
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Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Please help me plan this.

It appears that there are plenty of trains, but the time constraint seems to come in when we attempt to include a guided public walking tour of Cambridge. It appears the tours are at 11:00 and 13:00.

I don't quite see how to do Ely before Cambridge,so I'm thinking that we get to Cambridge in plenty of time to take the two hour walking tour at 11, which would finish up around 13:00. At that point we would take a train to Ely and spend a few hours in a more leisurely fashion.

When done there, we would get a train back to London.

Some sticking points for me are

1) the timing of the Cambridge tour. Could we plan a self-guided tour or would it be too difficult to enter certain places without a guide? Another possibility would be to splurge on a private tour at about 35£ pp. Really a bit too expensive but if there isn't another way.

2) Ely Cathedral opens at 10:00. Maybe we could go straight there from London and get to Cambridge for the 13:00 tour. Seems rushed as I am very fond of cathedrals.

3. How the heck do I book the train tickets once I decide? National Rail site only has return options with no third destination option.

I could really use your help. Thanks.

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London
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1. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Booking the train ticket is quite easy; an Off-peak Day Return London - Ely would allow you to break your journey in Cambridge in either direction.

Be aware that the station is some distance out of the city centre in Cambridge; factor in a 20-minute walk/bus ride if you are planning timings around a tour.

Edited: 12:41 pm, January 13, 2013
Cotswolds
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2. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

You can buy the tickets on the day - no need to book and no advantage in doing so for this trip

Cambridge, United...
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3. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

I think you would be pushed to enjoy both towns Ely Cathedral is lovely but I would make that a seperate trip .Cambridge has so much to see and a day in my opinion is not enough.

Western PA
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4. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

I think we'll be pushed, too, but this is our only day out from London. In several trips we've not made it to Cambridge, and although it is surely worth the time for a day or more on its own, I am particularly interested in Ely Cathedral.

I'm really glad to hear that there isn't any advantage in booking ahead because if the weather is bad, I may not want to make the trip at all.

It's interesting that I've only read about walking or a bus as transport from Cambridge rail station. Are there no taxis? Are Cambridge taxis wildly expensive for a trip from the rail station to the tourist office? Unless they are much more than taxis in other UK cities we've visited, I think we would be doing ourselves a favor by taxiing from the rail station.

Does anyone have an opinion on the importance of taking the guided tour?

U.S. expats
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5. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Have you thought of doing a punt down the college backs with a guide? They have this on offer in fine weather all day long, and it is only about an hour.

It was humourous, informative and beautiful.

Cambridge, United...
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6. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Regarding taxis, there is a taxi rank at the front entrance to the station and should cost no more than £10 to go to the city centre.

Hope you do make it to Cambridge, it's a fine city.

Cambridge, UK
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7. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

I would go straight to Ely, if I were you. Check trains from Kings Cross to Cambridge/Kings Lynn (which will stop at Ely) That is the fastest service. (The trains 'split' at Cambridge, so look for signs where you should sit on the train - front 4 coaches, I think) A cheap day return will probably allow you to use the 9:45 Kings Cross departure at the earliest. I think it would be worth paying a bit more that allows an earlier departure, that would get you to Ely earlier in the day. Again, on your tight schedule, I would suggest a taxi in Ely to the Cathedral to save the 15 minute walk.. The Cathedral does do guided tours which are very good - you can get details of these here - visits@cathedral.ely.anglican.org, but you may have specific things you want to see. Then get back to Cambridge for the guided tour (I can recommend the Blue Badge guided tours) and spend the rest of the day here. If this is a summer trip, you could enjoy the city in the evening before catching a (later) train back to London. If big churches is your thing, don't miss Kings College Chapel!!

hth...

Cambridge, United...
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8. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Also, Ely Station is a good 10 minute walk from the town as well, but there's a nice bus which goes up there every 20-30 minutes, which I believe Greater Anglia are supporting and as such they should know about that, but the buses are every 3-5 minutes in Cambridge the C1,C7,C8, Park and Ride all go to where you want, for C1 - Destination Display - Arbury - C7 - City Centre - C8 - Cottenham and P&R - Milton . You can also get guided busway service A but that stops not very centrally in Cambridge and I'd not recommend that one I'm afraid as where you are wanting is central, that one doesn't help at all.

When you leave the station turn left, cross the road, and you will see a lot of bus stops and the real time displays should tell you how long until the next bus, but that system has been on the 'blink' recently and might show scheduled times not the real time if the system is down.

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9. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Here is to give you an idea of Cambridge and Ely:

http://tinyurl.com/yhsjl99

http://tinyurl.com/2uphwzw

http://tinyurl.com/ykgqs36

Edited: 6:03 am, January 14, 2013
Cambridge, United...
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10. Re: Plan for day out from London to both Cambridge and Ely

Zipper

A tenner into town from the station ???

If you paid that you were well and truly had .