Ely is a town just a 15 minute train trip away from Cambridge. We’d heard it had a nice Saturday market and, from our tourist book, a magnificent cathedral. So, we climbed on a train and headed up the road.

Train Traveling

Ely has a beautiful city center with winding streets and shops in old buildings.The town is quite small, but it does have a varied craft market and delicious farmer’s market. We did a little shopping on our way out.

Ely Streets

However, the key sight to see is the cathedral. It’s stunning. Impressive. Detailed and decadent. Quite out of place in the small town that surrounds it.

Panoramic Ely Cathedral

The site where the cathedral is was originally a monsatery in 673. The present building commenced construction after 970 and was completed  in 1109. Henry VIII closed the monastery in 1539 but it has continued to exist as a cathedral to the present day.

Pretty tall!

What an entryway. Magnificent. Aparently built in the 11th and 12 centuries, it’s one of the most inspiring interiors in England. The ceiling was painted in Victorian times and shows ancestry of Jesus from Adam through to his resurrection. Or something.

Jesus Story on the Ceiling

The arches on either side are rounded – Norman style. There’s medieval details too.

Walking to the halfway point

In the center of cathedral is the octagon ceiling – the glory of Ely, the guide book says. This ceiling was built after the Norman central tower collapsed in 1322. In its place, this octagon lantern was built.

The Octagon Ceiling

It’s a lantern because of the windows around the edge of the octagon. In the center of octagon is an image of the Jesus. Much of the imagery of the cathedral is related to Jesus and his story.

The Octagon

The presbytery, past the choir stalls, was built in the 13th century as a shrine. In the background is the east window, installed during the Victorian restoration.


The window depicts the life of Jesus from his birth to his resurrection and the ascension. The colours of the windows were quite spectacular.

Stained Glass

Despite Rob’s sense of humour, this doorway is the Prior’s Door, a 12th century entrance ot the cathedral with Norman stone carving.

Jesus Imagery Everywhere

There’s some wonderful detailing in the archway.

Cathedral Details Cathedral Faces

Some of the original Norman wall is still visible.

Old walls and New ones

It’s quite an amazing cathedral, with wonderful details, and some interesting ones.

A Priet just Chilling

Ely Little Frog Ely Little Face

We were pretty surprised by the grandeur of the cathedral. The stained glass windows might not compare to the York Minster, but the space and style of the place had its own magnificence.

One up for Ely.

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