“ Listed as one of the ‘Top 20 Must see UK buildings’ thousands of visitors come to Ely Cathedral each year, from all over the world. Few are ever disappointed, for there is something here for everyone. Widely acknowledged as ‘one of the wonders of the medieval world’, lovers of architecture will rejoice in the many different styles, blending to create the whole building. History abounds around every corner, and the beauty created by artists in wood, stone and glass is everywhere. ”

Lesley Ann Thompson, Marketing & Development

Architectural History

Acknowledged as one of the ‘Wonders of the Medieval World’, Ely Cathedral boasts one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe. Its history dates back to 673. However work started on the main building as it stands today in 1083. The Nave, with its highly decorative painted ceiling, measures 76 m in length and 32 m high which makes Ely the third largest Cathedral in the UK. The overall length of the building is 164 m, which mirrors the length of Ely High Street. Construction began on other parts of the building around 1110 and was completed, with the addition of a Lady Chapel, in 1353. The Lady Chapel measures 30 m long, 14 m wide and its magnificent 14th-century ceiling is 18 m high. It is the largest of its kind in Europe. In 1322 the central Tower collapsed and was rebuilt in the shape of an Octagon, using a unique wooden structure described as one of the major feats of engineering in the world.

Architectural Features

Ely Cathedral has two Towers. The West Tower is 66 m high and offers viewing turrets into the interior of the Cathedral and the Nave from 30 m above. The Octagon Tower is unique to Ely and without doubt its crowning glory. At 52 m high (exterior), it is the focal point of the Cathedral and its highly decorated panels open up to view the Cathedral below. The Lady Chapel is attached to the Cathedral via a passageway, but can be shut off from the rest of the building as required. This is a very gracious stone structure which was stripped of all its colour and decoration during the Reformation. Many of the stone figurines have been decapitated or defaced, but what remains is a beautiful light blank canvas, offering a vast and open space.

Filming Attributes

Ely Cathedral is a unique and breathtaking building. Its magnificent size and versatile nature, along with its creative and flexible staff, has established the Cathedral as an exemplary filming and recording venue favoured by producers, artists and film & television companies alike. Some of the films recorded at the Cathedral include, The Other Boleyn Girl, The King's Speech, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Ely Cathedral is located in the centre of one of the smallest cities in the UK, but it is surrounded by parkland and meadows. This setting creates a natural background and also provides plenty of outdoor space for parking, marquees, trailers, catering tents, etc.



Located in the heart of Cambridgeshire, Ely was an island until the draining of the Fens in the 17th century. Ely sits in the heart of East Anglia and is easily accessible by rail with a direct line from London (60 mins). By road it is 20 minutes from Cambridge via the A10 and 90 minutes from London via the M11. Ely also has direct road and rail links to London Stansted airport.

Crew and Relevant Links


Email: L.Thompson@cathedral.ely.anglican.org

Phone: 01353 660350

Website: www.elycathedral.org