Are You Ready to Discover Cathedrals, Discover Pilgrimage

10th May 2021

Are you ready? We are.

It’s time to Discover Cathedrals, Discover Pilgrimage. 

Immersive art installations to help us reflect on a year in the time of the pandemic open at Southwell, St Albans and Liverpool cathedrals, there’s outdoor cinema at Chester and Guildford, Leicester opens with Luke Jerram’s installation of Gaia, and Hereford Cathedral welcomes the Knife Angel.

There’s Dippy the Dinosaur at Norwich Cathedral in August, summer outdoor theatre at Chichester, Ely, Lincoln and Peterborough, flower festivals at Winchester and Manchester and Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon will land in Bristol Cathedral this August too.

And whichever English cathedral you visit this year, you will be able to arrive by bike with the launch of the Cathedrals Cycle Route on May 30, a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals that will link all 42 Church of England cathedrals to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.

All our cathedrals are getting ready to safely welcome back visitors from Monday 17 May in line with Step 3 of the Government’s RoadMap.

For Salisbury Cathedral, it was bittersweet as they said goodbye to the Sarum South Primary Care Network vaccination team who have played a big part in cathedral life over the past few months, and have now moved into another cathedral building for the next phase of the roll-out programme.

Discover cathedrals, Discover Pilgrimage Getting Ready

A special farewell ceremony was held at the end of their last vaccination session in the Cathedral.

The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury said:

“We will be sad to see the NHS team go. Their distinctive blue cubicles, vaccinators and volunteers have become a familiar sight in and around the Cathedral, along with the thousands of patients turning up for their jabs. Their story is and will remain part of our story forever.”

Southwell Minster will host the Leaves of the Trees – an installation of 5,000 steel leaves by artist Peter Walker, embossed with the word HOPE and laid out on the floor of the nave, opens to visitors to Southwell Minster on May 17.

It has been designed to offer visitors the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the pandemic on their lives and the lives of their friends and communities.

The Very Reverend Nicola Sullivan, Dean of Southwell, said:

“We have all been affected by the terrible impact of the pandemic. We have had so few ways to grieve and Peter Walker’s simple but powerful installation will help us find healing and hope amidst our tears and loss.

“This is for everyone – whatever age or faith, and we invite everyone to come to their Cathedral for moments of quiet reflection,” she added.

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Liverpool Cathedral for its latest major art project, Peace Doves which will see over 15,000 paper doves suspended in the cathedral.

The installation created by artist Peter Walker, is accompanied by a soundscape from composer David Harper, and was originally scheduled to open last May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Before lockdown visitors, local school children and community groups were invited to write messages of peace, hope and love onto thousands of paper doves.

Alongside Peace Doves, visitors to the cathedral will also be able to view the return of the popular Angel Wings moving light projection, created by Luxmuralis. And another new, interactive art installation also going on display is Peace to Ourselves. Visitors will be asked to place a button inside the shape of a giant dove and take a moment to contemplate the past year and remember those who have lost their lives.

Discover cathedrals, Discover Pilgrimage Getting Ready

The installations will officially open on May 21st as part of Liverpool’s LightNight event that evening. They will run until August 31st but must be booked in advance.

To book your slot for May visit.

Staff at Peterborough Cathedral are busy preparing to re-open to visitors and are extending their current opening hours. Visitors will be able to have a close-up view of the tomb of Henry VIII’s first wife Katherine of Aragon and the former grave of Mary, Queen of Scots. The historic transepts, the legendary chapel of St Oswald and the building’s 15thcentury clock – one of the oldest working time-pieces in the country – can also be accessed.

The Dean, the Very Revd Chris Dalliston said:

“This place of prayer, pilgrimage, events, tours and hospitality is historic but it is also a modern and crucial focus for this city and the chance to re-open it more fully is a great joy.”

Peterborough Cathedral’s events programme is also resuming with a vintage fair on Saturday 22nd May and paid-for guided tours will start again from Bank Holiday Monday, 31st May.

For more information please visit or find the Cathedral on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

York Minster has three new exhibitions planned for the summer. Visitors will be able to see and hear the Grand Organ following its once in a century refurbishment and explore the cathedral’s next major conservation project, the medieval St Cuthbert Window, through an exhibition opening in June.

photography exhibition exploring the craft skills which were applied to the £2m refurbishment project of the Grand Organ will run from 18 June – 18 July and on Saturday 12 June a new exhibition about the medieval St Cuthbert Window, which tells the story of the life and miracles of one of Northern England’s most significant saints, will open at the cathedral.

The exhibition, Light, Glass & Stone: Conserving the St Cuthbert Window, will run until 2024 and explore the cathedral’s current project to conserve the window, which is around 600-years-old and one of the largest surviving narrative windows in Europe.

Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see at close range medieval stained glass panels removed from the window as part of the work.

In August the Minster will celebrate the life and work of Grinling Gibbons, the most celebrated British woodcarver of the 17th century, as part of a national programme marking the 300th anniversary of his death.

Grinling Gibbons: Monuments to Glory, will open at the cathedral on Sunday 1 August. It will focus on three stone monuments which Gibbons produced for the cathedral of Archbishops Dolben, Lamplugh and Sterne, placing these in the context of his life and wider work. The year-long exhibition will be complemented by a sculpture trail inside the cathedral.

The Dean of York, Jonathan Frost, said:

“We’re delighted to be reopening and look forward to welcoming people back to the Minster.

“We have developed a programme of exhibitions and activities for the summer which will enable visitors and pilgrims to explore the layers of history held in the cathedral’s magnificent architecture, which has the Christian story at its heart.”

Lincoln Cathedral will open with a special ‘welcome back’ admission price of £5 for adults with children aged 16 and under free.

The Very Revd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln, said:

“It is a pleasure to welcome tourists and pilgrims back to Lincoln Cathedral, and to be able to once again share the engaging history, faith and architecture of this inspiring place.

The daily worshipping life of the Cathedral continues, and as well as opening the building for tourist visits, the Cathedral will also be hosting events in the coming months, with music making a welcome return.

More details can be found on the Cathedral website –

Staff and volunteers at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, are looking forward to welcoming visitors once again from 17 May. The Cathedral will be open Mondays to Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm and from 12.30 to 3.00 pm on Sundays.  There is no charge to visit the Cathedral, which relies on donations. Since March it has been possible to visit the Cathedral for personal prayer and reflection but now visitors can explore the building and learn about its history from volunteer Welcome Stewards. The Cathedral Shop and its restaurant, Pilgrims’ Kitchen, are open daily. There will even be the chance to donate a brick to the LEGO model of the Cathedral.

“Ensuring that everyone can visit safely remains a primary concern,” said Sarah Friswell, Visitor Experience Manager. “We hope that visitors, particularly local people, will take the chance to enjoy the richness of our heritage in Bury St Edmunds. There is much to discover.”

In the coming weeks, as the restrictions lift further, a programme of special guided tours and Tower tours will be announced.  Keep an eye on the cathedral website.

The team behind the Knife Angel project have announced it will sit outside Hereford Cathedral for 30 days this June as it restarts its national tour following the pandemic.

The sculpture by artist, Alfie Bradley, was created from 100,000 blades handed in to or confiscated by police forces across the UK and has toured a number of our cathedrals already including Chester, Coventry, Derby, Leicester, Liverpool and Rochester.

Earlier this month, the Hereford organising team visited the Ironwork Centre to discuss the logistics of safely moving the Angel to Hereford Cathedral. They have created the Hereford Crime Conference, pulling together education providers of all types, community leaders, emergency services and council representatives.

“During the Knife Angel’s visit we will run a series of workshops and interactive events. It is envisaged that this initiative will continue after the Knife Angel leaves Hereford,” a spokesman said.

Discover cathedrals, Discover Pilgrimage Getting Ready

Portsmouth Cathedral will reopen on May 17 with new visitor experiences created with funding from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

A new augmented reality experience will show an alternative version of what might have been if the proposed 1960s modernist designs for the nave by world renowned architects, Studio Nervi, had been built.

New audio guides and interactive tours available on the app will allow visitors to explore the cathedral at their own pace. There will be a choice of free and paid tours, as well as a special ‘explorers tour’ for families.

The Dean of Portsmouth, Reverend Dr Anthony Cane, said:

‘We have really missed being able to welcome visitors to our cathedral over the past months. We have been pleased to offer the opportunity to visit for prayer and some services, and as restrictions ease we look forward to opening up more of our building for visitors and pilgrims.

‘New digital experiences, including our app which offers audio guided tours, as well as virtual reality and interactive screens will add a wonderful new element when visiting the cathedral.’

Portsmouth Cathedral has also been working hard to improve other aspects of its visitor experience, such as its shop which now features a brand-new collection of unique products exclusive to the cathedral.

Please be assured all our Church of England cathedrals have achieved the Visit Britain’s industry standard and consumer charter mark We’re Good to Go which means visitors can be confident that cathedrals are taking all the necessary steps to help ensure people’s safety in line with latest Government and Public Health guidance including booking a ticketed slot at some places, hand sanitising stations, and please be advised face-coverings are now mandatory in places of worship unless you are exempt.

Please check each cathedral’s individual website for up to date information.