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Discovery Tours

4 November 2022, 11:30


Delve deeper into the fascinating history of Ely Cathedral on one of our bespoke 'Discovery Tours'.

What's included: Admission to Ely Cathedral and an hour and 15 minutes guided tour.

Tickets: £12 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.

October & November Tours, 11.30am
Wednesday 5 October: Discovering why was a Monastery founded on a little island in the fens in AD 673
Friday 4 November: Discovering the Victorian Cathedral circa 1871

Wednesday 5 October - 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).

Friday 4 November - Discovering the Victorian Cathedral circa 1871

Visit Ely Cathedral 150 years ago. The major restoration programme and reorganization 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.