2019 is shaping up to be quite a year for one of Ely’s key visitor attractions, Oliver Cromwell’s House. It began with the opening of their new refurbishment by Earl Spencer back in March as a result of funding from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development.
The former home of the Lord Protector and Ely’s most famous resident now boasts a completely re-vamped Civil War Exhibition with impressive interactive displays and interpretation. There is also a new timeline and family tree to provide more engaging content about this complex man who killed a King, but refused the crown.
Now the House is delighted to introduce a brand new, augmented reality trail, specifically designed to engage a younger audience. Families now have the chance to complete The Cromwell Quest – which poses questions that can only be answered by finding a clue in each room. The House is the first attraction in Ely to offer this type of experience and it is hoped that families will enjoy this alternative way of learning history.
Later in the summer, on Saturday 3rd August, the House comes to life for a very special “Meet the Cromwells” family day of drama, music and history. Visitors will have the chance to step back in time and join the household servants as they prepare for Lamas-tide, an ancient harvest festival. However, beware, for as the House rejoices in the excitement, Oliver is about to appear and he is not known for his love of pagan and popish practices!
The House is also home to the city’s Escape Room which is now in its third year. Whilst there are now several Escape Rooms in the area, Oliver Cromwell’s House offers something that no other Escape Room experience can – location and atmosphere. The themes have been designed around the heritage of the building and the connection with Oliver Cromwell, although being a history geek will not help you one bit! If you have yet to take on the challenge of an Escape Room, then you are missing out on a great family or group experience.
In addition to the sessions that run every weekend, we are also hosting a series of Family Sessions, every Thursday in August for the reduced price of £60 for up to 8 people. So, gather friends and family and see how well you work together to find clues and solve the puzzles but remember the clock is ticking and you have just 60 minutes to make your escape.
Seeing a niche in the market for providing new and different experiences for smaller groups to enjoy and celebrate special occasions, the House is now offering Murder Mystery Evenings to its ever-growing programme of events. This atmospheric building makes for an evening like no other. Participants are encouraged to dress up and act in character with their own unique script. You then move from room to room in between enjoying a three-course meal, to discover clues and work out just which one of your party is the murderer!
Whilst this works well for groups between 8 and 10, larger groups can also be catered for in yet another new immersive theatrical style experience – The Celestial Meddler, where you can once again test your puzzle solving skills and work against your friends, family or colleagues to see who will be the first team to defeat this sinister, time-travelling magician.
Tracey Harding Manager said: “This really is an exciting year for us and we are looking forward to welcoming more visitors into our atmospheric House. Our programme of events and activities just keeps growing and we are particularly looking forward to seeing more families.”
Press release from Ely Tourist Information Centre