…and another Cathedral

In addition to all the fun and games surrounding my birthday celebrations we managed to find time to have a look around Ely Cathedral.

Cathedral

It really is a spectacular building outside and in. It has all the usual cathedral features.

Beautiful stained glass….

StainedGlass

DSCF3128

Elaborate decoration…..

PaintedEntrance

CeilingPainting Carving

Laid back Bishops….

LaidBackBishop

The highlight of the visit was undoubtedly the climb to the top of the Octagon Tower. I’ve always been a bit wary of climbing up the towers of cathedrals as they tend to take you up in a group and I’m always conscious that I’ll hold everyone up as I puff and pant my way up the staircase or tentatively easy my way down. The Octagon Tower is different in that it’s split into four manageable chunks. You stop at each level to look at things and have a chance to catch your breath – I decided to give it a go.

Octagon

View of the octagon tower from the ground floor. The ‘lantern’ at the top is decorated with massive painted panels depicting angels

OctagonLantern

You get a better view of the lantern when you stop at the first level.

StainedGlassDetail

You also have a closeup view of some of the stained glass panels.

On to the next level and we got our first trip out onto the roof.

ViewFirstLevel

Unusual view of the outside of the Cathedral from the roof at the second level of the tower

Up again and we found ourselves in among the beams that support this amazing structure.

BeamsOctagon

The tower was built 700 years ago and these oak beams were probably 300 years old when they were harvested – 1000 year old oak still doing the job it was intended for!

Then, to our amazement, the guide opened some panels in the wall and we realised that we were looking down at the nave of the cathedral through the painted angels – incredible!

AngelPanels

ViewFromOctagon

View of the nave of the Cathedral through an angel panel

Finally, after a total of 165 steps, we went out on the roof at the top of the tower and walked around the outside of the lantern. Well worth the effort!

DSCF3185

The Octagon tower lantern from the outside

GuideRoof

Our guide must keep himself pretty fit climbing up and down here three times a day!

ViewFromOctagon2

View of Ely from the top

Next on the agenda – a day trip to Cambridge. The Cam Conservators expect you to pay £90 or so for the privilege of visiting Cambridge by boat (and by all accounts it’s not the most attractive way of approaching the city) so we’re just going moor up at Waterbeach and take the 10 minute train journey.

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2 Responses to …and another Cathedral

  1. Sue E says:

    I’m a huge cathedral fan – no-one said you HAD to be religious to enjoy all that in-yer-face architecture, did they? Wonderful – think it would have taken me about 10 stops on the way up tho…

    • ewnhacul says:

      There were a couple of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ style doors – I thought I was going to need a ‘Drink Me’ potion to get through but I managed it – just. It would have been a touch embarrassing if I’d got stuck!

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