Ely Cathedral Facts

Ely Cathedral is a huge medieval cathedral in the center of Ely, a town in Cambridgeshire, England.

The cathedral has been named one of the Seven Medieval Wonders of the World.

People admire it for its beauty, size, and architecture. You can see it from miles away!

The cathedral’s story begins in 673 A.D.

A woman called Saint Etheldreda founded a monastery where the cathedral is today.

This monastery was destroyed in the 9th century and a new one was built in 970.

It officially became a cathedral in 1109 and over the years it has been added to, changed, and restored.

Ely Cathedral Facts for Kids

  • The cathedral is located right in the middle of the historic city. Nearby there are other medieval buildings and lots of green spaces, such as parks.
  • In 1986, it was discovered that the cathedral needed some major repairs. The repairs were not going to be cheap. Lots of local people helped to raise four million pounds towards the work that needed to be done. The entire restoration project lasted from 1986 until 2000.
  • There are regular services at the cathedral and it has its own choirs. In the boys’ choir, there are 22 choristers and they sing in the cathedral up to six times a week. The girls’ choir is made up of 18 girls, and they sing in the cathedral two evenings a week.
  • The cathedral covers 46,000 square feet of space – around the same size as 16 tennis courts.
  • The cathedral has been used as a film set a few times in recent years. Parts of ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ were filmed there.
  • In 1322, the central tower on the cathedral collapsed. A tower called the Octagon Tower was built in its place. The top of this tower is built in the form of an eight-sided lantern. Visitors can go on a tour of the tower and go up the 170 steps into the lantern and look down on the cathedral from above!
  • The cathedral has another tower, too, called the West Tower. This tower is 215 feet high – taller than the Octagon Tower. There are 288 steps up to the top of the West Tower where there are wonderful views of the city of Ely.
  • Visiting Ely Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Cambridgeshire. Around 250,000 people visit the cathedral each year. Ely is only around 16 miles north of the city of Cambridge, a very popular tourist destination.
  • Running a cathedral this big is not cheap. It costs around 6,000 pounds a day to keep the cathedral open. Visitors can enter the cathedral for free but if they want to explore further, they have to pay an admission fee. This goes towards the costs of running the cathedral.
  • There is a stained glass museum inside the cathedral, too. Here visitors can learn about the history of stained glass and how it is made. They can look at stained glass from different time periods and examine it up close.



Question: How long is Ely Cathedral?
Answer: It is 537 feet long.

Question: What is the cathedral made of?
Answer: It is made of stone and marble.