Ely Cathedral

Holiday Travel Guide
Ely Cathedral showing a church or cathedral, heritage elements and heritage architecture

Towering over the flat surrounding countryside, this beautiful cathedral is nicknamed the Ship of the Fens.

Ely Cathedral is one of the most prominent cathedrals in the country and is considered to be a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Its relatively isolated location and the surrounding plain fields make it stand out in the landscape and appear even grander than it would in a built-up setting. Today, it’s a popular filming location for movies. See if you recognize the structure from movies such as The Other Boleyn Girl, The King's Speech and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

The cathedral site originally served as a Benedictine monastery founded by the Anglo-Saxon Saint Etheldreda in 673. After the nunnery was destroyed by the Danes, the Normans constructed a church here in the late 11th century. Note the Romanesque arches that support the building’s massive walls, which were added when the church was elevated to cathedral status in 1109.

Enter the cathedral through the great West Door in the Galilee Porch, which is a characteristic typical of the Early English style of architecture. Admire the cathedral’s lofty nave, which is the fourth longest cathedral nave in England, measuring 248 feet (75 meters). Other noteworthy architectural features include the Victorian painted ceiling and the simple round Norman arches.

Be sure to see the magnificent Lantern Tower, which was constructed in 1322. Consisting of over 400 tons (365,000 kilograms) of lead and wood, the tower is a remarkable engineering achievement.

Don’t miss the 14th-century Lady Chapel, a Decorated style chapel, which retains its original charm despite suffering damage during the Reformation. Look closely at the empty niches, which once contained exquisite period statues.

Save time to see the cathedral’s museum, which explores the evolution of stained glass throughout history. With displays of stained glass windows presented in illuminated cases, the museum provides an interesting perspective on how styles of craftsmanship have changed over more than eight centuries.

A visit to the cathedral is particularly enchanting during choral services and evensongs. Sign up for a guided tour to get a rare look inside the cathedral’s towers.

Ely Cathedral is within walking distance from the train station, which has frequent connections to Cambridge. The cathedral is open daily and there is an admission fee for adults, but children can enter for free.

Top things to do in Ely Cathedral

Top Trending Hotels Near Ely Cathedral

Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
3 out of 5
The price is £63 per night from 2 Jan to 2 Jan
Located in the heart of Ely, this hotel is steps away from Ely Museum and Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's House and Babylon Gallery are also within 10 minutes. ...
3.8/5 Good! (307 reviews)
"Excellent location, lovely building and grear staff"

Reviewed on 11 Sep 2021

Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Riverside Inn
Riverside Inn
4 out of 5
The price is £104 per night from 12 Dec to 12 Dec
Situated in Ely, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Babylon Gallery, Ely Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell's House. Ely Museum and Wicken Fen National Nature ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (83 reviews)
"Our experience was an excellent one, they have a pristine location by the river, their rooms are impeccable, the lady that tends to and cleans the inn is very friendly, efficient, and always available and willing to help. Their continental breakfast is one of the most complete I have ever seen, and ..."

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2021

Riverside Inn
Poets House
Poets House
4 out of 5
40 - 44 St Marys Street, Ely, England
The price is £160 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
Located in the heart of Ely, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oliver Cromwell's House and Ely Cathedral. Ely Museum and Babylon Gallery are also ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (253 reviews)
"This was our second stay at the poets house. It is conveniently situated for the centre and a stone throw from the cathedral. Breakfast is very good with plenty of choices. My wife is vegetarian and there was choices for her too. I must admit to being tight when parting with money. This hotel is ..."

Reviewed on 6 Sep 2021

Poets House
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Ely Cathedral

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Riverside Inn
Riverside Inn
4 out of 5
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Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
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3 out of 5
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Hotel Barge Waternimf
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3 out of 5
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The Royal Standard
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The Hoist
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Nyton Hotel
Nyton Hotel
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 DEEP CLEANED AFTER EVERY STAY
DEEP CLEANED AFTER EVERY STAY
11 Prickwillow Rd, Ely, ENG
DEEP CLEANED AFTER EVERY STAY
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.