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Ely Cathedral
Vacation Travel Guide

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 Hotels Close to Ely Cathedral

Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
3 out of 5
2 Lynn Road, Ely, England
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Located in the heart of Ely, this hotel is steps from Ely Museum and Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's House and Babylon Gallery are also within 10 minutes. Ely ...

3.8/5Good! (301 reviews)

"The hotel was as always clean and staff excellent, unfortunately stay was cut short because of virus."…"

Reviewed on Jan 4, 2021

Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Poets House
Poets House
4 out of 5
40 - 44 St Marys Street, Ely, England
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $194 per night from Jan 19 to Jan 20

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 ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (238 reviews)

"I'm not sure that there was anything unique about this hotel but it is certainly very stylish and the food is excellent. I had only one or two comments for improvement. Firstly the size of the towelling robe offered. Mine was suitable only for a child or size 10 or 12 female adult, which I am not. ..."…"

Reviewed on Oct 18, 2020

Poets House
The Royal Standard
The Royal Standard
4 out of 5
24 Fore Hill, Ely, England
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Situated in Ely, this inn is within a 10-minute walk of Babylon Gallery and Ely Cathedral. Ted Coney's Family Portraits and Ely Museum are also within 10 minutes. ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (86 reviews)
Nice overnight stay.

"An overnight stay at this delightful pub. Good service, clean and comfortable. Great full English breakfast. Will return when next in the area"…"

Reviewed on Oct 14, 2020

The Royal Standard
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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Best Lodging Options Near Ely Cathedral

Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
3 out of 5
2 Lynn Road, Ely, England
Lamb Hotel by Greene King Inns
Poets House
Poets House
4 out of 5
40 - 44 St Marys Street, Ely, England
The price is $194 per night from Jan 19 to Jan 20
Poets House
The Royal Standard
The Royal Standard
4 out of 5
24 Fore Hill, Ely, England
The Royal Standard
Narrowboat Puzzle
Narrowboat Puzzle
3 out of 5
1 Annesdale, Ely, England
Narrowboat Puzzle
Riverside Inn
Riverside Inn
4 out of 5
8 Annesdale, Ely, England
The price is $104 per night from Jan 22 to Jan 23
Riverside Inn
The Hoist
The Hoist
3.5 out of 5
Flat 2 The Hoist The Vineyards, Ely, England
The Hoist
Nyton Hotel
Nyton Hotel
4 out of 5
7 Barton Road, Ely, England
The price is $129 per night from Jan 18 to Jan 19
Nyton Hotel
St Johns House
St Johns House
3.5 out of 5
St Johns Road, Ely, England
St Johns House
Hotel Barge Waternimf
Hotel Barge Waternimf
3 out of 5
Annesdale, Ely, England
Hotel Barge Waternimf
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.