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What's On - Key Events

"To End All Wars" An Exhibition

Thu 1st Feb 2018 - Wed 28th Feb 2018

A dynamic new art installation in the South West transept of Ely Cathedral, commemorating the impact of the First World War in Cambridgeshire. 


With a cascade of 100 banners, each an individual artwork and reminiscent of prayer flags, the installation forms a moving tribute to those involved in WW1. Seventeen artists from the OuseLife art group have been given the opportunity to commemorate events of a century ago in 'To End all Wars.' Their installation features 100 banners with original artwork stimulated by the impact of the First World War in local communities around Cambridgeshire. 


For this installation, the OuseLife artists have drawn from diverse sources in their research, but all have been touched by the stories of local individuals and their experiences in the war. Working with a selection of different media unified by a deliberately sparse palette, the artists have explored a wide range of themes and symbolism. Some of the evocative imagery which makes up the installation is bold and familiar, while other pieces are more personal, drawing on the experience of individuals. Together, the resulting cascade of banners form a captivating collection of images that connect different aspects of the First World War and encapsulate a wider interpretation of the conflict and its effects. The installation forms a moving tribute to those involved in WW1, and also resonates with global events today. 


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"100 Hearts for 100 Years" An Exhibition

Thu 1st Feb 2018 - Wed 28th Feb 2018

SSAFA the Armed Forces charity brings their collection to Ely which will include 100 Hearts, some dating back to the First World War. 


Pincushions were made by wounded soldiers to send home to their loved ones. Known as 'Sweethearts' these moving momentos, made with love, proved to be excellent therapy for troops recovering from the horrors that they had experienced. Using a modern interpretation of the theme, the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA Wiltshire, have created one hundred hearts, one for each year since the Great War, which are on display in this exhibition. Location: South Transept 


The Exhibition will also include talks and workshops with Lt Col Neil Stace (Great British Sewing Bee Finalist). Also as part of this exhibition are workshops by celebrated international textile artist, Helen M. Stevens. 


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New Escape Room at Oliver Cromwell's House

Fri 16th Feb 2018 - Sun 28th Apr 2019

Every Saturday and Sunday at 11.30 am, 1 pm and 2.30 pm We can also accommodate weekdays and hours outside those stated.  Please contact us to discuss further.


Following the launch of Ely’s first Escape Room, Oliver Cromwell’s House is pleased to announce the opening of its new room – a Lock-in at the Cromwell Arms.


The new theme is set around a plot to murder Queen Victoria and bring about a new republic. The landlord of The Cromwell Arms is deeply troubled and needs your assistance to prevent this unspeakable crime.


Sessions are priced at £90 and are ideally suited for between 4 and 8 people. To find out more then please click on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


The activity also lends itself to the corporate market, work parties or even young people's parties (aged 13 to 16).  To discuss your requirements, please call or call us on 01353 662062.


Website - Oliver Cromwell's House

Amnesty Ely Presents - Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

Tue 20th Feb 2018

Amnesty Talk given by Paul Dawson, AIUK country coordinator for Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Gulf states. He will focus on writer and blogger Raif Badawi, who is in prison facing 950 lashes for exercising his right to free speech, and human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence.


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SGMinis - Colour and Shape

Wed 21st Feb 2018

Join us at the Stained Glass Museum for our monthly SGMinis sessions, with stories, crafts and other activities inspired by our collection. 


February's theme is Shape and Colour. £2 per child, accompanying adult free. Drop in sessions between 1pm and 3pm. Stories read at 1pm and 2pm. 


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In conversation with Mike Rouse

Wed 28th Feb 2018

Oliver Cromwell's House are pleased to be continuing their program of "In Conversation With...." this time featuring a true Renaissance man; author, historian, photographer, councillor and former teacher - with such a range of subjects, this promises to be an amazing evening.


With a list of Local History books covering topics such as Oliver Cromwell and "Secret Ely" Mike Rouse brings with him a wealth of knowledge and add that to his years of dedicated public service, his years at the "Coal Face" of education in local school, there will be something for everyone when Mike joins Oliver Cromwell's House in conversation....


Tickets - £10

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An Audience with Joanne Trollope

Wed 28th Feb 2018

'Why on earth, after all you’ve been through, all you’ve survived, all you’ve achieved, why do you want to get married?' Rose Woodrowe has just got engaged to Tyler Masson – a wonderful, sensitive man who is head-over-heels in love with her. The only problem? This isn’t the first time for either of them, and their five grown-up children have strong opinions on the matter . . . . Who to listen to? Who to please? Rose and Tyler are determined to get it right this time, but in trying to make everyone happy, can they ever be happy themselves? 


Nobody writes about family life quite like Joanna Trollope, and it is a great pleasure to welcome her back to Ely for the publication of 'An Unsuitable Match'. 


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An Evening with Jim Kelly

Thu 1st Mar 2018

1939, Cambridge: The opening weeks of the Second World War, and the first blackout – The Great Darkness – covers southern England, enveloping the city. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke, a wounded hero of the Great War, takes his nightly dip in the cool waters of the Cam. Daylight reveals a corpse on the riverside, the body torn apart by some unspeakable force. Brooke investigates, calling on the expertise and inspiration of a faithful group of fellow ‘nighthawks’ across the city, all condemned, like the detective, to a life lived away from the light. Within hours The Great Darkness has claimed a second victim. War, it seems, has many victims, but what links these crimes of the night? Jim Kelly is a master of gripping crime fiction, with the added charm, for local readers, of the East Anglian settings. Do join us for what will be an excellent evening, celebrating the publication of The Great Darkness. 



Newsletter subscribers can reserve complimentary places at this event. If you would like to take up this offer, please sign up for our newsletter here: and then email us at to let us know how many seats you would like to reserve. 


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The Library Presents - Oh Whistle....

Fri 2nd Mar 2018

“Robert Lloyd Parry catches the sense of dread that gives James his originality”- The Times Nunkie Theatre Company bring to life two of the eeriest and most entertaining stories by the Master of the English ghost story, M R James, in a thrilling performance by Robert Lloyd Parry. Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad is a tale of nocturnal horror on the Suffolk coast, considered by many to be James’s masterpiece. It is beautifully complemented here by The Ash Tree, a story of witchcraft and vengeance down the generations. 


Suitable for adults and young people (minimum age 13yrs, under 16s must be accompanied by an adult) Refreshments: 


Drinks and snacks available to purchase (Licenced Bar) 

BBC Civilisation Festival Partnership Event with Ely Library - The Modern Day Prodigal Son

Sat 3rd Mar 2018

Do you like telling and illustrating stories? Come along to Ely Library 1pm - 3pm, re-tell and modernise the famous parable of the Prodigal Son into the modern day and get create your own inspired comic strip! 


Suitable for 8 years and over. £2 per participant. Under 16's must be accompanied by an adult at all times. 


Tickets available from Ely Library. 


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BBC Civilisation Festival Partnership Event with Ely Library - Engage Extra

Tue 6th Mar 2018

Join us and Ely Library for an Engage Extra, 2pm - 3.30pm. 

Hear about the work of the Stained Glass Museum, about stained glass as an artform and how it has evolved. Join the discussion about civilisation and what it means to you! £3 per person. 


Tickets available from Ely Library. 


Refreshments available, donations welcome. 


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An Evening with Wendy Cope

Tue 13th Mar 2018

In 'Anecdotal Evidence', her first collection of new poetry since 2011’s acclaimed 'Family Values', Wendy Cope celebrates ‘the half-forgotten stories of our lives’ with compassion, wisdom and wit. She continues to be the most generous of authors, sharing her experience of childhood and marriage and writing poignantly about the passing of time. In several of the poems she re-imagines Shakespeare in unorthodox fashion; in others she offers heartfelt tributes to friends and to public figures including Eric Morecambe and John Cage. 

'Anecdotal Evidence' demonstrates the formal brilliance and empathetic insight which have delighted readers for years, and shows why Wendy Cope is one of our best-loved poets. We are, as always, delighted to celebrate a new collection from Wendy, and this is sure to be a wonderful evening of thought-provoking and wise poetry.

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The Library Presents - Men in General

Fri 23rd Mar 2018

Men in General mix well-loved songs, and à cappella classics with comedy, advice on relationships, fashion, home baking, car parking tricks and the tender side of man. Fast-moving and funny, the show features highly interactive flights of fancy, such as an indoor parachute jumping, a road movie, a painting by Edward Hopper, unusual hobbies, a pub at midnight and mistakes anyone could make. Men in General are quadruplets separated at birth, recently re-united by a social networking site and now singing Billy Joel, Lou Reed, Red Molly, Meghan Trainor, Tom Jones, The Beach Boys, The Spooky Men’s Chorale & many more top lyrics. “witty chat and lovely, uplifting music”- BBC 5Live Men’s Hour


 Suitable for adults and young people (Minimum age 11yrs, under 16s must be accompanied by an adult). Refreshments: Drinks and Desserts available to purchase (Licenced Bar) 


Tickets £7, £4 concessions 

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SGMinis - Animals

Wed 25th Apr 2018

Join us for our monthly SGMinis sessions for crafts, stories and other activities inspired by our collections. 


April's theme is Animals. Drop in sessions between 1pm and 3pm. Stories read at 1pm and 2pm. £2 per child, accompanying adult free. 


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Ely's Eel Festival Weekend - Eel Day

Sat 5th May 2018

It is to the humble Eel to which Ely owes so much; including the name of the City. How ever can we try and thank our beloved Eels? With a whole day dedicated to them!

The annual Eel Day Parade begins at 10.30 am from Cross Green (adjacent to Ely Cathedral).  Ely’s ‘Ellie the Eel’ will be heading the carnival inspired procession along part of the City’s Eel Trail Heritage Walk – everyone is welcome to join in!

We have a full programme of arena events in Jubilee Gardens including Folk Music, Eel Pottery Workshops, Music and Dancing, Historical Displays and Re-enactments with lots of family participation opportunities.  As you would imagine, eels feature massively in the day and there will be the chance to see live eels. 

Obviously it wouldn’t be Eel Day without the opportunity to sample what was once a staple food in the Fens, so this is your chance to taste smoked and jellied eels as well as more conventional forms of food. Not to forget our brilliant Beer and Cider tent, for washing down those fabulous smoked eels. 


Website - Ely's Eel Day

Ely's Eel Festival - Food and Drink Festival

Sun 6th May 2018 - Mon 7th May 2018

Rounding up the weekend is the ever popular two day Food and Drink Festival where over 75 artisan and specialist food and drink traders will be showcasing their wares.  We have an amazing Street Food Scene, comprising of a range of culinary delights which will tantalise your taste buds with the unusual, yet exquisitely crafted combinations.  We also have a beer tent and cocktail bar with some easy listening live music to enjoy.

Please check back regularly for announcements and updates.

Website - Ely's Food and Drink Festival

Ely Cathedral Flower Festival - 'Kaleidoscope of Life'

Thu 21st Jun 2018 - Sun 24th Jun 2018

'Kaleidoscope of Life' takes place in the magni?cent setting of Ely Cathedral. 


This major Flower Festival is expected to be one of the largest and most spectacular events in the East of England. Over 50,000 blooms will adorn the Cathedral in breath taking displays depicting ‘Life’. The Festival’s Creative Director is Chelsea gold medal winner, Roger Woolnough. Roger was part of the design team for Westminster Abbey’s Festival of Flowers and was the mastermind behind Ely Cathedral’s highly acclaimed 2013 Flower Festival. Throughout the event, Ely’s 14th century Lady Chapel will host a programme of musical performances. Visitors to the Festival can also enjoy ?oral demonstrations by professional arrangers as well as an opportunity for shopping in the Gift & Craft Marquee located in the Cathedral grounds. 


Preview Evening - 20 June Tickets to the Preview Evening are limited and will include a drinks reception in the Bishop’s Garden with special guest Diarmuid Gavin. Military Wives Concert - 22 June A special evening viewing of the Festival preceded by a concert with the Military Wives Choir. For full ticketing information and times please see our website. 

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Ely Aquafest 2018

Sun 1st Jul 2018

Aquafest, Ely's Premier Community event which will be in it's 40th year in 2018!

Ely Aquafest is held on the first Sunday in July, the date for 2018 is Sunday 1st of July Aquafest covers three premier sites along the riverside, Lavender Green, Jubilee Gardens and the Maltings Green,and is a must for families of all ages and interests.

Whether you are 9 or 90 Aquafest has something to offer YOU!

There is also the fun fair, beer tent, burger bar and stalls - a miscellany of charity stalls, with charity, craft and a variety of business stalls there providing something of interest to all. 

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A Celebration of Peace

Wed 4th Jul 2018

Music Celebrations International presents A Celebration of Peace in Ely Cathedral on Wednesday 4th July 2018 at 7.30pm

Featuring a chorus of 250 from across the United States of America, singing music by Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis Dona Nobis Pacem Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus Sancta Civitas With the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra Stephen Cleobury and Craig Jessop, Conductors In aid of Ely Cathedral One hundred years after the end of World War I, a massed choir of 250 singers from across the United States comes together on American Independence Day to perform a Celebration of Peace with the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra, under the batons of Stephen Cleobury (Kings College, Cambridge) and Craig Jessop (former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir).

This unique concert will include Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis, Dona Nobis Pacem, Sancta Civitas, 5 variants on Dives and Lazarus, and other works by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Premium tickets cost £15, including preferential reserved seating and a glass of wine during the interval. Other tickets £10 (unreserved). Concessions £8 in £10 seats. In aid of Ely Cathedral.

Tickets from Ely Cathedral Box Office, tel 01353 660349, email or online from