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Discovery Tours and Lunch

10 June 2022 - 19 July 2022

Tickets

Join us on one of our 'Discovery Tours' to find out even more about the fascinating history of Ely Cathedral.

What's included: Admission to Ely Cathedral, an hours guided tour and a two course lunch in the Almonry Restaurant.

Tickets: £22 per person (for up to 6 people with a guide). Tickets must be pre-booked online up to the day before your visit, via the link on this page. This tour is not suitable for children.

Please meet your guide at the west end of the Nave, 5 minutes before your tour is due to start.

Wednesday 20 April, 11.30am - Ely Cathedral In Print and On Screen

A tour showcasing the ways in which Ely Cathedral can be adapted to represent other famous historical buildings in its use as a film set, and as it is portrayed and interpreted through works of fiction.

Over the past 15 years or so, Ely Cathedral has been a sought after venue for films, documentaries and tv series, hosting famous actors and personalities from the worlds of film and television. Aspects of Ely Cathedral also feature in several works of fiction for both children and adults.

On this tour you will walk around the various internal locations used in some of the more well known film and tv productions; see some ‘behind the scenes’ photographs and press clippings; discuss fictional books in which Ely Cathedral is featured; and hear some amusing anecdotes associated with various productions.

Wednesday 27 April, 11.30am - Encountering Ely Cathedral's Modern Art

Ely Cathedral is steeped in history and heritage, and the beauty of its medieval architecture can seem timeless. But the story of the Cathedral continues to the present day, with each new generation making its own mark.

Explore the cathedral from a fresh perspective on this tour which focuses on its 20th century art. Encounter modern works which often go unnoticed or unremarked, by artists including David Wynne and Peter Eugene Ball. Find out the fascinating stories behind the pieces - how and why they came into being, what they represent, and who were the artists who created them.

Friday 10 June, 11.30am - The Victorian Cathedral circa 1871

Visit Ely Cathedral 150 years ago. The major restoration programme and reorganisation of the building is virtually complete! Begun by Dean George Peacock when he was installed as Dean in 1839 and facilitated by the architect George Gilbert Scott from the time of his appointment in 1847, Ely’s is the most comprehensive restoration of any British Cathedral attempted to date. The building was re-imagined from top to bottom, inside and out in an effort to repair the damage wrought by the Reformation and remove centuries of accretion that obscured a medieval masterpiece.

The tour is intended to be a kind of time travel back to 1871 in order to appreciate the Cathedral as it would have appeared to a visitor at that date. The guide will walk the modern visitor through the building highlighting the Victorian restoration and bringing to life the personalities of the 19th century individuals like the Dean, the clergy, the architect, the painters, the carpenters, the metal smiths who all contributed to creating Ely Cathedral as we know it today.

Wednesday 22 June, 11.30am - Why was a Monastery founded on a little island in the fens in AD 673?

Though Ely Cathedral may seem incredibly old it is in fact the third important abbey building on this site. It was founded by someone you have probably never heard of, Queen St Etheldreda. If you had been alive before the Reformation you would most probably have known a lot about her, but would almost certainly have called her St Audrey.

Come and hear the story of Queen St Etheldreda, the founding of her monastery, what happened to the church she built and the second church which was replaced by the current Cathedral after the Norman Conquest. The tour will take you round the Cathedral to look at what signs of St Etheldreda still remain. (If you have binoculars please bring them with you).

Wednesday 20 July, 11.30am - Reformation & Reconciliation at Ely Cathedral

Towards the end of this tour we will visit the Bishop’s House, but will mainly spend time discovering the Cathedral and Monastic precinct as they were in the sixteenth century. We shall follow in the footsteps of Richard Cox, who became one of the first canons in the New Foundation at Ely and who was close to the Royal Court of Henry VIII, where he was tutor to his son, the future Edward VI.

Later, having been appointed by Elizabeth 1, Richard Cox was one of our 16th century Bishops, leading the reformation in Ely. Bishop Cox lived and worshipped at a time of great religious upheaval across Europe and in our own country. He occupied a senior role in England's national scene where, amongst others, he gave approval for the first Books of Common Prayer.

This tour will explore Cox and his world, his appointments and achievements, highlighting the impact of the English Reformation on both the person and the place, the fact of change and the need for reconciliation - themes that are as relevant today as then.

Discovery Tours are also available without lunch included, details here.