14 Sep 2018 – 16 Sep 2018

The City of Ely is steeped in history and is proud of its strong heritage with the largest collection of monastic buildings in private dwelling in Europe. It is therefore fitting that we join in with the national Heritage weekend celebrations. This provides an excellent opportunity for locals and visitors alike to see many of the City’s buildings for free and visit some venues not usually open to the public.

Friday 14 September – Open Night

Ely’s visitor attractions are opening their doors, free of charge, so you can experience these atmospheric buildings after hours.

Oliver Cromwell’s House – 5 pm to 8 pm: Visit this impressive historic house at dusk and experience domestic life in the 17th Century in our re-created period rooms. Play with the toys of the times and venture into the Haunted Bedroom if you dare! No pre-booking necessary.

Ely Cathedral – 6.30pm to 8.30pm: One of the most magnificent examples of medieval architecture in Europe, Ely Cathedral is steeped in history, which dates back to the 11th century. The Cathedral will be offering Twilight Tours of either the historical West Tower or the world famous Octagon Tower. Places for the tours are limited to two tickets per person and must be pre-booked at 01353 660359.

The Stained Glass Museum – 6.30pm to 8.30pm: Housed in the evocative South Triforium of Ely Cathedral, we are the only museum dedicated to the art of stained glass in the country. View our many stunning stained glass windows, which date from 1200 to the present day. For those wanting to find out more about stained glass and this unique collection, join a guided tour with our Curator at 6.30 pm. Places for the tours are limited and must be pre-booked. Contact 01353 660347,

Ely Museum – 5pm to 8pm: Take this free opportunity to visit our bright, friendly local history museum. Displays include original prison cells, fossils to touch and Roman remains. No pre-booking necessary.

Saturday 15 September – Open Tours

Ely’s Architecture Walking Tour – 11.30am: What better way of discovering the wealth of architecture of some of Ely’s period, historical buildings during this walk with our informed guide. Departing from Ely Tourist Information Centre at Oliver Cromwell’s House. Places must be pre-booked at

Ely Museum – 11 am: Let our knowledgeable guide lead you around Ely Museum exploring the fascinating history of The Old Gaol. Discover fascinating local archaeology, learn about the Fenland landscape and children can pick up one of our ‘Explorers’ Kits’ from the front desk. Booking essential at

Bells, Birds and Open Church at St Mary’s – 12.30pm to 3.30pm: St Mary’s church is open with a welcome to all visitors. See what’s beneath the spire, a well-known Ely landmark, and explore the ancient art of campanology. There will be a ground floor exhibition using videos, information and live camera relay from the belfry with experienced ringers on hand to explain the bellringing. Scheduled tours to see a demonstration of change ringing, and perhaps have a go yourself to make a bell sound. St Mary’s tower is a successful nesting site for Swifts, and there will be information on these annual visitors. Pre-booking essential at

Ely Cathedral – West Tower Tour – 10 am: Ely Cathedral will be offering a tour of the famous West tour at 10 am. At 215ft high, the West Tower offers one of the most spectacular views across Cambridgeshire landscape. Places for the tour are limited to two tickets per person and must be pre-booked at 01353 660349.

Ely Courthouse (The Sessions House) – 10.30, 11.30am, 12.30pm: Recently taken over by Ely City Council following the closure of the Magistrates Court in 2012, this is your chance to visit this fascinating building and view the actual Court famously featured in the Toad of Toad Hall Film.  Tour the cells and hear about the ‘Murder Most Foul’ which concluded with the execution of John Rolfe in 1823.  Places for the tours are limited and must be pre-booked at

Sunday 16 September – Open Houses

Silver Street Cottages – 10.30am to 4 pm: Chance to visit these medieval cottages dating from the 15th Century and view the 16thcentury first-floor wall paintings. Places must be pre-booked at

Old Porta – Tours, courtesy of Kings Ely will run at 2, 2.30, 3, and 3.30pm: Ely Porta was once the main entrance to Ely monastery and through it passed travellers, pilgrims, royalty and local people selling their wares to the monastery. Today it houses the Kings Ely Library and you can marvel at the architecture of the building and its impressive collection of books. Places must be pre-booked at

The Monastic Barn – Tours, courtesy of Kings Ely will run at 2, 2.30, 3 and 3.30pm: Situated beside Cherry Hill Park the Monastic Barn was built c.1375 in the reign of Edward III for storage of wheat, malt, salted meat and other foodstuffs. Now a magnificent dining hall for Kings Ely with arched doorways and exposed beamed ceiling. Places must be pre-booked at

Prior Crauden’s Chapel – 10 am to 4 pm: Rarely open to the public, don’t miss the chance to visit this impressive 14th Century chapel with its wall paintings and medieval tiled floor. Places for the tours are limited. Contact 01353 660359.

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