Architectural History

King's Ely school was founded in 970AD and acquired its Royal Charter from King Henry VIII in 1541. The remaining buildings date from the 12th century, with many being internally restored or renovated. Constructed in the 12th century, the Old Infirmary is one of the oldest surviving monastic buildings. Nearby Queen's Hall and School House also date back to the Norman period. The Chapel was built in 1324 and retains much of its original wall decoration. Now the school Library, the 14th-century Porta is the gateway into the monastic buildings of the Cathedral. The adjacent Monastic Barn once housed the abbey's crops and is now the dining hall. Situated in 3 acres of mature gardens in the centre of Ely, under the shadow of Ely Cathedral, the largest of the school’s buildings is the old Tudor Palace. Used as the Bishop of Ely’s residence until 1941, the Old Palace has been renovated into the school’s Sixth Form. The 19th-century Hereward Hall, a large four-storey building with cellars, is a former theological college. Many more 19th- to 21st-century school buildings are situated throughout the city, including a brand new music block, recital hall and art complex.

Architectural Features

The school’s portfolio of period properties boasts a myriad of traditional and unique architectural features: towers, pillars, arches and gateways, beamed wooden ceilings, ornate fireplaces and fountains, a long gallery, elaborate stonework, carved inscriptions, spiral staircases, stained glass windows and many fine examples of stonemasonry from a range of periods. Levels of restoration vary; the interior of the chapel remains largely untouched, while the Old Palace has been restored and renovated to embrace state-of-the-art facilities. There are many significant trees, including the oldest and largest plane tree in England, which was planted by Bishop Gunning in 1674. Ely Cathedral provides a magnificent backdrop to views from the river and the school boathouse.

Filming Attributes

Ample on-site parking throughout the school and free public parking at various locations throughout the city. Most locations provide hard standing. All properties have electricity and the majority have a generous provision of electrical sockets. Food and refreshments can be provided, subject to terms and availability.
Special considerations:
• Wide range of architectural periods and styles
• Modern practical facilities
• Potential to film with Ely Cathedral
• School holiday filming preferred though not essential


Special Considerations

  • Accommodate Unit Base


Historic Cathedral city setting with riverside views surrounded by vast green open space and wider Cambridgeshire countryside. The monastic buildings surround Ely Cathedral, which is adjacent to the Old Palace and Palace Green, with other central buildings in the nearby Gallery and Barton Square. Further 19th-century listed buildings to the north of the city. Boarding properties have mature, maintained and often walled gardens, some with water features and ponds. Various school fields and sports facilities are available including boathouse, pavilion, tennis courts and outdoor swimming pool. Based in rural Cambridgeshire, the city of Ely is easily accessible from London (80 miles) and Cambridge (14 miles). The school is within walking distance from national rail links, with trains to and from London King’s Cross every 20– 30 minutes.

Crew and Relevant Links

Ely Cathedral



Phone: 01353 660530 / 07703 835239