Ely Cathedral | Tower and Exterior

Doesn't even look real, right? I know. And when you see the Ely Cathedral in person it still doesn't seem real. The Ely Cathedral is nicknamed "The Ship of the Fens",the 'fens' being the marshy farmland around Ely and East England. Ely actually used to be an island.....yep, an island in the middle of England. 'Ely' literally means Eel Island. So if you can imagine, the town of Ely sits a few feet higher than the surrounding farmland which is very flat. The Ely Cathedral can be seen from miles away and I can see where it gets its 'ship' nickname from. It kinda does look like a ship. I love driving into Ely from the A142. Seeing the Cathedral in the distance takes your breath away.

I was able to take an Octagon Tower tour at Ely Cathedral last week and it was pretty amazing. The tour takes you up into the shorter tower (seen in the picture above). The construction history is quite interesting and our tour guide filled the group in on all of the details. The tower is held up by eight huge oak tree trunks, which are supported by other large wooden beams......seriously. How insane is that? We were able to walk around the upper interior tower and touch the support beams.

From the top of the tower, we were able to get a better view of the tower ceiling and of the view down into the cathedral. Interesting fact; this tower actually collapsed in the 1300s.

After viewing the interior of the tower, our guide brought us out into the open. Luckily it was fairly sunny and our group was able to get some good photos of the town.

Looking southeast...

The front tower of the Cathedral actually has a slight lean and is incredibly annoying when taking photos...someone should take care of that! Looking northwest....our house is actually somewhere out there in the distance.

I was so happy to have been able to take the tower tour. The history behind many of the English Cathedrals can be so interesting. And old. I am continually in awe of the age of the buildings in England. I guess that's just part of being an American....our buildings are babies compared to other countries.

As you can see, the Cathedral is just plain beautiful. So many movies have been filmed here and I was SOOO upset when my friend told me that a Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis movie was filmed here back in the spring! BUT, I just discovered another movie will be filmed here in March and they are casting extras. You better believe I turned in an application :) They will be filming Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard (both gorgeous). Eeeekk! So excited, Hollywood coming to my little British town!!

I hope you have enjoyed the Ely Cathedral photos. It truly is a beauty. If you ever are out in East Anglia,you should stop and take a peak at the Cathedral. Walk around the grounds and snap some photos. Take in the beauty and enjoy :)

Find the Ely Cathedral interior tour here.



  1. I loved visiting places like this when I was living in Britain. I used to live in Cirencester, which has a really impressive church. It is very old and unusual as it much bigger than you would expect.

    Great post - reminded me of home!

  2. wow! that is breathtakingly beautiful! so jealous!

  3. Jamie, this makes me want to visit Ely even more! It looks so charming. I LOVE Fassbender! I heard recently Marion Cotillard was in the Covent Garden piazza the same day I was, and I missed her. I'm such a celeb siting stalker! I was crushed. Your pictures are incredible. Must be that great camera ;-)