Cathedrals at Night Launched

03rd May 2022

Cathedrals will open their doors after hours to visitors in the first coordinated nationwide Cathedrals at Night campaign.

Taking place again in 2023, find out which cathedrals are open this year.

Cathedrals at Night: new campaign invites visitors to see our historic sacred spaces in a new light.

This year, for the first time, participating Church of England cathedrals will offer visitors a Cathedrals at Night experience where those of all ages can immerse themselves in the culture and spirituality of these beautiful buildings and enjoy a taste of cathedral life for FREE.

From Derby Cathedral to St Davids in Wales, visitors can expect a range of heritage and spiritual events including music, art, tours by torchlight, family friendly events, prayer stations, and lots and lots of candles.

These are the cathedrals currently taking part on Saturday 14th May, tap the link to find out more about each event.

The campaign, postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic, has been co-ordinated by the Association of English Cathedrals (AEC) and is the first nationwide project that brings together Church of England cathedrals, Westminster Abbey, Cathedral Isle of Man, and St Davids and St Asaph from the Church in Wales, around a single, simple campaign.

It has been inspired by Les Nuits des Cathedrales, first launched in 2008, when participating European cathedrals open their doors after hours on the second Saturday in May to offer a cultural and spiritual experience for free.  It is hoped Cathedrals At Night will become a regular event in the diary for English Cathedrals and their partners too beyond 2022.

This year, 11 cathedrals – Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Ely, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Cathedral Isle of Man, Portsmouth, Salisbury (online only) York Minster, and St Davids from the Church in Wales will join our European counterparts and open after hours on May 14.

Cathedrals at Night - Church of England - York Minster

Lichfield and Wells Cathedrals will host a Cathedrals At Night event on Friday 13 May while Bradford, Chelmsford, Durham, Liverpool, Peterborough, St Edmundsbury, and Worcester Cathedrals will offer Cathedrals at Night events on other dates throughout the year.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, the Dean of Lichfield and chair of the AEC, said:

“This simple campaign is a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate our cathedrals and their rich spiritual heritage in new and exciting ways.

“Cathedrals At Night represents a new, coordinated approach to cathedral outreach and visitor engagement which we hope will shine a light on cathedrals nationally and help our visitors make new memories.

“It’s an opportunity for our cathedrals, especially after the last two years, to individually and together, broaden their mission and heritage engagement and build lasting relationships,’ he added.

Ely Cathedral at night by James Billings

The ambition is that Cathedrals at Night opens up an opportunity for cathedrals to reach new audiences and re-engage with those more familiar with cathedral life, by offering a mix of cultural, heritage and spiritual activities some of which will go on until late – and all of them are free.

The concept has been used very successfully in European cathedrals which open on the same night in May every year and it is hoped Cathedrals at Night will become a regular fixture here too beyond 2022.

Ely Photo – James Billings