Heritage Open Days in the area

Heritage Lottery Fund

This weekend sees the annual Heritage Open Days, where many heritage venues are opening their doors for free. Please check out the national website (https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/) for ideas for your area.

We have already selected some events in and around the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area you might be interested in:

Ely this weekend is celebrating its rich heritage with a range of events, with its museums and local houses opening their doors for longer, giving you more time to see the local heritage.

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Ely Museum, as part of Heritage Open Days, is holding an event for all ages and are staying open for longer so you can experience a night viewing: on Friday the 13th after 5 pm it is free to enter Ely Museum! This weekend at the Ely Museum is also the last chance for you to see its exhibition about the Old Goal: the last chance this year to experience what life at the museum was like when it was a prison.

Oliver Cromwell’s house is opening its door for evening visits as well, so you can experience the house as it get dark which adds to the atmosphere to the house with its rooms from the 17th century. If you dare visit the haunted bedroom at night! To finish off your tour of the Oliver Cromwell house try a sample of Cromwell’s Cider and listen to the medieval tunes of Ely’s Authentic Pied Piper.

Ely’s Silver Street Cottages are privately owned dwellings which are open this weekend, giving you a chance to visit some cottages that are from the medieval period dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. On the first floor of these building are wall paintings dating from this period.

Prior Crauden’s chapel is open this weekend in Ely Cathedral which is rarely open to the public. The 14th century chapel is impressive with wall paintings and a medieval tiled floor entrance to the chapel is free, but if you want a guided tour there are limited spaces (to book a guided tour, visit http://www.elycathedral.org/).

Ely’s Stained Glass Museum currently hosts an exhibition of painted heads and faces on glass from the medieval period to the present day. This exhibition will be running till the last Sunday of September.

Prickwillow Engine Trust has an exhibition of 6 large diesel pumping engines; all British built from the early to mid 20th century and which were rescued from the Fenland pumping station. The Mirrlees engine is the original engine and was installed at Prickwillow in 1924; the others have been recovered from other sites around the Fens. These pumps were used to drain the Fens. For more information about Prickwillow Engine Trust museum visit http://prickwillow-engine-museum.co.uk/engines.html.

National Trust’s Houghton Mill is located on the Great Ouse River just west of St Ives and has been there for 1000 years; it was saved by the local community from demolition and has inspired artists and photographers for generations. Come and experience the sounds and atmosphere of a working mill and have a go at making flour and enjoy the setting of it next to the river.

This weekend at The Norris Museum in St Ives as part of the heritage weekend there is an event ‘Call the Midwife’; so come to the Norris Museum and see how midwives looked after mothers and their babies in the past and see the equipment they used. A retired midwife from the area will be there to talk to you about her memories.

Corkers Crisps are holding a local food fair to celebrate it launching the biggest bag of crisps in the world. The event at Corkers Crisps HQ includes local farm food from around the Fens and Cambridgeshire, live bands and a petting zoo; there is also a guided tour around the Corkers Crisps HQ at Willow Farm. For more information, visit http://visitely.eastcambs.gov.uk/events/biggest-packet-crisps-world-event-14th-september-2013.

With so much happening in the area around the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership, go and explore you local heritage for the day or evening. Let use know about your adventures.

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Oliver Cromwell’s Museum in Ely. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/enjoy-england/special-offers-april

Summer events

Heritage Lottery FundIt is summer time, so many places in and around the Ouse Washes area have organised an events programme.

With the kids off school, a lot of venues are organising family friendly activities. Just a short selection of what’s going on:

Wildlife Reserves:


New Fen book:

Cllr Mike Rouse will be in Burrows Bookshop, this Thursday, August 1st (11AM – 12:30 PM_ to sign his latest book, ‘The Ghosts of Fens End’.  See also this news article

Downham Market Water Festival: 11 August, http://www.downhamweb.co.uk/water-festival/

Hilgay Vintage Countryshow, 10-11 August: http://www.fensvintage.co.uk/shows/hilgay/Archaeology:


An exciting tour is given this Wednesday (31 July; 7PM) at Earith Bulwark, the best preserved Civil War fort in the country. A unique change to see the earthworks up close (is on privately owned land, so access is not granted very often). See also Cambridgeshire County Council’s Archaeology Public Events Programme 2013

Events in the future

As part of our delivery phase (starting April 2014), we will have a dedicated Ouse Washes website. On this, we intend to have a comprehensive list of events in the area, providing people with a one-stop-shop to what’s on?

My question to you is: what kind of events are you after? Do let me know (click on the comments ‘balloon’ at the top, or send me an email). We will take your wishes on board when designing our website.