White Stuff comes to Ely

White Stuff Ely

There’s a buzz on the streets of Ely. Over the summer we’ve all been watching a tired old shop gradually change into something special. We’ve been peeping through the windows, watching the progress. Finally, this week, the wait is over – White Stuff have opened their lovely new shop.

White Stuff Ely

White Stuff is one of my favourite brands – cool, quirky and with a conscience. It’s the perfect fit for our tight-knit little city. I’m so thrilled they’ve decided to open their 100th shop here. For those of you who aren’t familiar with White Stuff, it’s a dreamy lifestyle brand, selling clothes, shoes and accessories for men and women – along with some lovely gifts. We’re all going to be looking very smart from now on!

To celebrate the opening of White Stuff, I’d like to share some of my favourite Ely places with you – and persuade you that you really must come and visit soon…

The Markets

Ely market finds

Ely’s markets are thriving. Come on a Thursday to buy anything from local fruit and veg to a Norfolk crab or a new broom – or come on a Saturday for an eclectic mix of antiques, crafts, flowers and food. Every other Saturday there’s a famers’ market too.

Ely flower market

Just recently, the flower, food and craft market has also started on Sundays. It has a slightly quieter feel. Pick up some beautiful artisan bread from the Brown Bread stall, or some lovely plants and bric-a-brac.

Ely market bread stall

Ely market finds in a basket

The Samovar Tea House

Samovar Tea House, Ely

After all that bargain-hunting on the market, you’ll be in need of refreshments. Ely has a lot of places to drink tea and coffee. My favourite is the Samovar Tea House. Walk away from the bustling market place and down Forehill – and halfway down you’ll find this quirky little gem, inspired by the tea-drinking culture of the East.

Samovar Tea House, Ely

You can choose from up to two hundred different teas, and Sofia, Marta and the team are coming up with new blends all the time. On this visit I chose London Fog – a beguiling mix of vanilla pods, bergamot, blue cornflowers and Vietnamese black tea. It tastes wonderful with milk, and looks as beautiful as it sounds.

Samovar Tea House, Ely

If you fancy coffee instead, then there’s lots to please you too. Particularly interesting is the Polish coffee – a dark, bitter confection. My husband loves it, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. I prefer the wittily-named Flatland White.

Samovar Tea House, Ely

The food, too, is blissful. Memorable bagels and salads, and wonderful cakes. Oh, the cakes. Try the chocolate and beetroot cake – heaven on a plate.

Polish Doughnut

Samovar Tea House, Ely

Topping & Company Booksellers

Topping & Company Booksellers, Ely

After you’ve finished your tea and cake, walk back up the hill to the High Street and visit Ely’s well-known independent bookseller. Spread over three floors, Topping’s is every book-lover’s dream. You can lose hours in there, browsing through thousands of books. My favourite place is the very top floor, full of beautiful art books. Sit in the window and catch a glimpse of the cathedral through the old sash windows. If you missed out on a coffee earlier, then enjoy one here – brought to you by one of the lovely, knowledgeable booksellers (I can vouch for this as I used to be one).

Topping & Company Booksellers, Ely

Topping & Company also run a year-round programme of exciting literary events.

The Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

What can I say about the Cathedral? It’s spectacular. For almost a thousand years it has defined Ely. You can see it for miles around, soaring out of the flat fenland landscape. Living so close to such an amazing building, you have to make sure that you don’t take it for granted. It’s good to make the effort to go inside and remind ourselves how lucky we are that it’s here.

The Riverside

Narrow boat by the river in Ely

No visit to Ely is complete without a walk along the river. If you arrive by train, this is the first bit of Ely you’ll see. It’s a busy, bustling stretch of the River Great Ouse – packed full of narrow boats. Enjoy an ice cream, or call in at one of the riverside pubs and restaurants. You might also meet Ely’s most unusual residents – the rather grumpy Muscovy ducks. Along Waterside, as it’s known, you can also enjoy the beautiful Georgian buildings, some of the city’s prettiest. It’s always worth a little wander round Waterside Antiques too – a huge old warehouse, jam-packed with wonderful old things. We’ve bought so much for our house there over the years.

Waterside Antiques, Ely

And finally… there’s the new White Stuff

I was so impressed with the new store on Market Street.  I loved the products, the witty vintage styling, the retro children’s kitchen – even the noticeboards. It felt like visiting a really cool friend’s house.

White Stuff Collage

A lot of thought has gone into the store, and I was thrilled to see that they will be supporting a well-known local charity, Branching Out. As part of their White Stuff Foundation, this charity will receive at least 1% of the store’s annual profits. Pretty awesome, don’t you think?

White Stuff Ely will be having a grand opening party on 16th and 17th September 2015. Why not pop along for a glass of fizz and lots of other exciting goodies? 

Throughout this post I am wearing this dress, coat, scarf and shoes. They’re all available now from White Stuff.

Clothes and shoes courtesy of White Stuff – as ever all thoughts, words and photos are my own. 



  1. September 16, 2015 / 7:15 am

    Fab blog! I’ll look forward to a visit on our next trio to Ely XXXXX

    • marmaladepie
      September 17, 2015 / 9:03 am

      Thanks Ruth – you and Jon would really enjoy the Samovar

  2. September 16, 2015 / 1:05 pm

    Absolutely love the dress Lizzie!

    Ahhh, every time you post something about Ely I miss living there just a little bit more, although it does seem to have improved somewhat since I lived there.

    I may have to jump on the train one day and have a walk around. xxxx

    • marmaladepie
      September 17, 2015 / 9:04 am

      Thank Catherine! How long is it since you lived here? It’s certainly changed a lot in the last 15 years xx

      • September 18, 2015 / 4:01 pm

        I moved away from Ely in 2005. I split my time between Ely & Littleport (I had a house in Littleport and my then boyfriend lived in Ely) xxx

  3. Karen
    September 16, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    Hi again Lizzie, hope you and all the family are well. Very much enjoyed “strolling round ” Ely with you – made me quite homesick for East Anglia. I used to like the way my train from the north to Norwich always came out of Ely the opposite way to which it went in… xx

    • marmaladepie
      September 17, 2015 / 9:05 am

      Thank you Karen! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. The views across the river are so stunning when you get the Norwich train from Ely aren’t they – I did it one day when it was a hard frost and it looked so beautiful. x

  4. September 16, 2015 / 8:43 pm

    I love this post!!! You look fab in your new clothes and it’s like you’re a film star with your very own photographer following you around. Adorable!!

    • marmaladepie
      September 17, 2015 / 9:05 am

      Thanks Rachel! It was really fun – and so nice to stop and really talk to the people working in all the places I visited. x

  5. September 21, 2015 / 8:55 am

    Brilliant post Lizzie! Very impressed. And I like the dress too. Did your husband take your photos? What does he think about all this bloggy stuff?!

    • marmaladepie
      September 21, 2015 / 6:48 pm

      Thank you Katie! I love those dresses – this is my third in the same style (they do them every season). Yes, James took the photos of me, although the ones inside the store are mine. He enjoys helping out with blog things if I need him – I think it helps that he already works in a creative kind of field. We really enjoyed doing this together and it was fun to play tourists for the day x

  6. September 21, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    Hi, I have just discovered your blog and I’m so pleased I did. This post is lovely, I love White Stuff and tea and walking along the river close to where I live, so I always enjoy reading posts like this. I love the dress you are wearing. Gemma xx http://www.jacquardflower.uk

    • marmaladepie
      September 21, 2015 / 6:44 pm

      Thank you so much Gemma! I’m looking forward to checking out your blog too x

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