Discover Cathedrals, Discover Pilgrimage

28th April 2021

Some of the more sharp-eyed amongst you, may have noticed a tweak to our design as we welcome in the month of May.

It’s Time to Discover Cathedrals, Discover Pilgrimage

It’s been a busy last month for English Cathedrals as April saw them begin to slowly re-open where they could, and as we move closer to May 17 – Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap – when we hope to be able to welcome visitors safely back into our cathedrals, we wanted to remind you we’re here, ever present, and ready to be discovered.

We’ve been here alongside you all the way through the pandemic with daily digital worship and prayers, virtual prayer walls and candle-lighting, online meditations, lectures, virtual pilgrimages, 360 degree tours of our buildings and online art exhibitions – and we are super excited to be able to welcome you back into our cathedrals in person.

And whichever cathedral you decide to visit this year, know you can come on two wheels, four wheels and on foot with new routes to discover leading to every one of our 42 cathedrals and devised for all forms of transport.

There are new and more familiar pilgrimage routes leading to every one of our cathedrals, and May will see the launch of the new Cathedrals Cycle Route – a 2,000 mile round trip that offers short and longer rides between our cathedrals to suit all abilities in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.

April brought news of the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who died peacefully on April 9.

Cathedrals tolled their bells 99 times to mark every year of his long life, doves were released at Blackburn Cathedral and Prince Philip was remembered with prayers and thanks during services which were livestreamed for people to join in from home in these unprecedented times.

Some of our cathedrals began to announce creative and prayerful events and exhibitions designed to help and support their communities in recovery.

St Albans unveiled Solace, an installation of 160 individually blown glass feathers hung from the bones of wings forged in iron. The piece has been created by glass artist Layne Rowe and designed as a reflective memorial to the pandemic.


He said:

“I want the glass wings to be a symbol of unity, a strength and a focus for people of all faiths and none to reflect on the past year.”

Liverpool Cathedral is preparing to host doves, an interactive community installation, and Southwell Minster will host The Leaves of the Trees, made up of 5,000 steel leaves, each featuring the word ‘HOPE’ and designed by sculptor Peter Walker. It will be laid out on the cathedral floor, creating an impression of fallen autumn leaves when it opens on May 10.

The Dean of Southwell, the Very Revd Nicola Sullivan 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.”

Leicester Cathedral used Earth Day 2021 last week to announce that artist Luke Jerram’s giant installation of the planet Earth, ‘Gaia’ will open in the nave from May 17.

As April neared its end, our peregrine chicks started to hatch.

First Winchester, and then Salisbury and Derby. And we’re currently waiting with bated breath for baby announcements from Chichester, Ely, Lincoln, Norwich, Wakefield and Worcester.

Read all about the peregrines nesting and hatching here.

Wakefield Cathedral Peregrines Eggs

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.

Please check ahead as opening times may have changed, you may have to book a ticketed slot at some cathedrals, and please be advised face-coverings are now mandatory in places of worship unless you are exempt.