Canterbury Cathedral has announced a new trial inviting visitors to explore its historic precincts for free.
Canterbury Cathedral opens up its precincts free of charge to visitors.
The Free Precincts Trial gives sightseers access to the southern precincts including the Memorial Garden, the Dark Entry and the Green Court for free.
Visitors will still need to pay to enter the cathedral building, as well as the northern side of the precincts including the Cloisters, Herb Garden and Chapter House during standard sightseeing hours.
As with all cathedrals, Canterbury Cathedral is free for worship and prayer.
The scheme starts this Monday (29 January) and runs for six weeks.
The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd David Monteith said:
“We’re really excited to offer this Free Precincts Trial, when the gates will open and visitors will be able to enjoy the beauty and wonder of Canterbury Cathedral Precincts.
“We hope as many people as possible use this trial and hope it helps us learn from each other how together we can cherish this amazing place, be good stewards, and still balance the books.”
Founded by St Augustine in 597 AD, Canterbury Cathedral is a unique place of worship, a major pilgrimage destination, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site .
It is home to rare texts, ancient treasures stained glass and the Martyrdom Chapel with an altar and sculpture marking the spot where St Thomas Becket was killed. There is also a permanently lit candle in the Trinity Chapel that marks the spot where his Shrine stood.
It costs Canterbury Cathedral £30k a day to cover its substantial running and maintenance costs. The Trial is intended to test the feasibility of balancing free access to large parts of the Cathedral estate with the need to attract paying visitors and meet these costs.
Full details, including Frequently Asked Questions, are available on the website here.