Photo Gallery: Thousands flock to see Ely Cathedral’s flower festival

PUBLISHED: 15:56 21 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:56 21 June 2013

Part of the river running through Ely Cathedral. Picture: Helen Drake

Part of the river running through Ely Cathedral. Picture: Helen Drake


Thousands of visitors have descended on Ely Cathedral as its highly-anticipated flower festival got under way.

Cathedral officials said more than 6,000 advance tickets had been sold before the event opened on Thursday, with 48 coach loads of visitors arriving on the first day.

The first event of its kind in the city for more than 15 years, the festival has taken over a year to plan and features 80 classic and contemporary floral exhibits inside the stunning setting of the medieval cathedral.

Its centrepiece is a river of water running down the nave to the altar, which has been filled with more than 30 thousand litres of water.

Although not officially encouraged to, visitors have even taken to throwing coins in the water.

Roger Woolnough, the festival’s creative director, has won gold medals at both Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows.

“The biggest challenge we had to face is the vastness of the space the cathedral offers,” he said. “We have had to think big in order to have the desired impact.

“The 34 metre-long river down the centre of the building provides an unusual focal point and is the key feature in our depiction of the seven days of The Creation.”

Specially designed ironworks and willow structures have been also been commissioned for the event, including the 18ft long metal teardrops which have been suspended high above the Nave.

Three large marquees in the cathedral grounds, in the city centre, will house a gift and craft fair throughout the event.

There will also be musical entertainment daily in the cathedral’s famous Lady Chapel and there will be a programme of floral demonstrations and Q&A sessions in the Garden Marquee.

Food will also feature heavily throughout the event including a summery menu of lunches and refreshments by local producers of cider, strawberries, cakes and ice cream.

Tickets are £10 which allows access to the site for the entire day. Under 16s are free. Pre-booked tickets automatically entitle you to fast track admission into the event, meaning you can avoid the queues.

Tickets are available online at, or by calling the festival box office on 01353 660349.

The festival is running daily until Sunday.

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