More Information about Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, England

Ely cathedral has the largest collection of Medieval domestic ecclesiastical buildings still in use in this country. Although you can walk around and look at these buildings most of them are not generally accessible to members of the public and can be visited only by prior arrangement.

There is a plan of Ely Cathedral and all of the surrounding medieval monastic buildings and also a single page document in PDF format which you can print and take with you if you so choose.

Although walking around the Cathedral Precincts is free the cathedral is one of those currently making an entrance charge to go inside. I don't like this idea but cannot offer a sensible alternative. Ely Cathedral's maintenance costs are of the order of 5000 pounds per day and they have about 300 paying visitors per day so that those visitors will cover only a small proportion of those costs. This information was current at the time of our visit in September 2002.

The alternative is the 'suggested donation' method which some cathedrals still operate. If we take York Cathedral as an example it would appear that they receive an average donation of 50 pence per visitor which means that an awful lot of visitors must donate nothing at all. Very mean minded.

If you are one of those potential visitors who might complain about the entry charge remember that there is not, at present, a financially sound alternative which will help towards the phenomenal maintenance costs. You are also getting an awful lot of building and history for your money so pay up in good grace and with a smile knowing that you are helping to preserve these important monuments for the future. (Gets off high horse).