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Nestled in a corner of the Ely Cathedral is the intricate Bishop Alcock's Chantry Chapel.
Nestled in a corner of the Ely Cathedral is the intricate Bishop Alcock's Chantry Chapel. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Nestled in a corner of the Ely Cathedral is the intricate Bishop Alcock's Chantry Chapel.
Nestled in a corner of the Ely Cathedral is the intricate Bishop Alcock's Chantry Chapel. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Inside the Lady Chapel, attached to the Ely Cathedral, a 12th-century Gothic architectural wonder that still holds daily services open to the public.
Inside the Lady Chapel, attached to the Ely Cathedral, a 12th-century Gothic architectural wonder that still holds daily services open to the public. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Hymn books sit at a pew inside the Ely Cathedral, a 12th- century Gothic architectural wonder that still holds daily services open to the public.
Hymn books sit at a pew inside the Ely Cathedral, a 12th- century Gothic architectural wonder that still holds daily services open to the public. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
A stained glass scene of the crowning of Esther is displayed inside the Ely Cathedral.
A stained glass scene of the crowning of Esther is displayed inside the Ely Cathedral. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
A lights beams down on a sculpture of Mary Magdalene recognizing Jesus Christ on the morning of his resurrection.
A lights beams down on a sculpture of Mary Magdalene recognizing Jesus Christ on the morning of his resurrection. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

ELY — Let’s face it, church can be boring. But, inside the 12th-century Ely Cathedral, at least you can do some sightseeing while listening to the sermon.

And, for those neither Christian nor spiritual, it’s still worth a visit to this architectural wonder.

The cathedral’s 215-feet-tall West Tower can be seen from miles away. Because of its dominance over the surrounding flat countryside, it has become known as the “Ship of the Fens.”

The cathedral’s exterior is completely covered with designs of yesteryear. But it’s the inside of the old church — with its Gothic architecture — that draws 250,000 visitors each year.

Perhaps the most impressive feature is its corridor, which stretches more than 500 feet, while its ceiling rises to about 100 feet. The ceiling is filled with paintings of religious icons and if your neck gets stiff from looking up, there is a mirror to assist in viewing.

Stained-glass scenes are displayed on the outer walls of the cathedral, where numerous bishops are buried and honored with stone or marble caskets and statues.

Small chapels found nestled in the corners of the cathedral are perfect locales to light candles and pray or to just sit and relax.

In the middle of the cathedral, there are rows and rows of seats — enough to accomodate large crowds. On a recent Monday evening, the seats were empty except for a few watching a daily Evensong service.

Church personnel held the traditional service inside the main chapel while a choir filled the vast cathedral with hymns.

Another treat inside the cathedral is the organ. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to hear the organ pump out some bass lines that make the hairs on the back of necks stand up.

Another must-see is the Lady Chapel, a 14th-century sanctuary sometimes used for private concerts, banquets and exhibitions.

Also, view the stained glass museum, which has a collection ranging eight centuries displayed in illuminated cases. There is an additional fee of 3.50 pounds for adults to enter the museum, which takes about 30 minutes to tour.

Getting thereHours: 7 a.m. – 7p.m. during the summer.

During the winter, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission: 5.20 pounds for adults, free for children 12 and younger. Admission is free to anyone on Sundays.

Free parking can be found at the short stay parking lot, located a few blocks from the cathedral.

For more information on Ely Cathedral or its services, check out www.cathedral.ely.anglican.org.

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