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Ely Cathedral

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. 


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Top Hotel Deals

See all 487 Hotels near Ely Cathedral
Lamb Hotel £69
Lamb Hotel

Lamb Hotel

2 Lynn Road, Ely
     
    3.6
    of 5, from 178 reviews
    3.0 out of 5.0

    Situated in Ely, this hotel is steps away from Ely Museum and Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's House and Babylon Gallery are also within 10 minutes.

    Poets House £125
    Poets House

    Poets House

    40 - 44 St Marys Street, Ely
       
      4.5
      of 5, from 77 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Situated on the riverwalk, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oliver Cromwell's House and Ely Cathedral. Ely Museum and Babylon Gallery are also within 15 minutes.

      The Royal Standard £67
      The Royal Standard

      The Royal Standard

      24 Fore Hill,, Ely
         
        4.7
        of 5, from 3 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in Ely, this inn is close to Babylon Gallery, Ely Cathedral and Ely Museum. Nearby attractions also include Oliver Cromwell's House.

        The Nyton £83
        The Nyton

        The Nyton

        7 Barton Road, Ely
           
          4.0
          of 5, from 75 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in Ely, this golf guesthouse is within a 10-minute walk of Oliver Cromwell's House and Ely Cathedral. Ely Museum and Babylon Gallery are also within 1 mile (2 km).

          Hotel Barge Waternimf £82
          Hotel Barge Waternimf

          Hotel Barge Waternimf

          Annesdale, Ely
             
            5.0
            of 5, from 26 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in Ely, this bed & breakfast is within a 15-minute walk of Babylon Gallery and Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's House and Ely Museum are also within 15 minutes.

            Ely Guest House £57
            Ely Guest House

            Ely Guest House

            8 St Mary's Street, Ely
               
              3.5
              of 5, from 47 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in Ely, this inn is steps away from Ely Museum and Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's House and Babylon Gallery are also within 10 minutes.

              Riverside Inn Guest House £82
              Riverside Inn Guest House

              Riverside Inn Guest House

              8 Annesdale, Ely
                 
                4.2
                of 5, from 23 reviews
                2.5 out of 5.0

                Situated on the riverwalk, this guesthouse is within a 15-minute walk of Babylon Gallery and Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's House and Ely Museum are also within 15 minutes.

                St Johns House
                St Johns House

                St Johns House

                St Johns House, Ely
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Ely, this holiday home is close to Oliver Cromwell's House, Ely Cathedral and Ely Museum. Nearby attractions also include Babylon Gallery.