Heritage Open Days – What will you discover?

03rd September 2021

An online medieval bake off, how to cook and eat like the monks, Portsmouth’s edible history as a major trading port, a foraging walk round Winchester, spiritual food at Sheffield, and rare access to Bishop Bubwith’s 1424 funeral feast menu from Wells.

What will you discover? #DiscoverCathedrals

This year’s Heritage Open Days from September 10 – 19 celebrates Edible England  – so as well as behind the scene tours and heritage inspired talks and events, our cathedrals are also delving into their archives to reveal some of the culinary secrets from the past.

At St Albans, visitors can meet Brother Rockcliffe, a baker and inventor of the Alban bun, the precursor to the hot cross bun, and Brother Infirmarian, equipped with a huge basket of herbs which the abbey’s monks used to treat illnesses – plus learn why food was behind the Peasants Revolt in 1381.

Find out more and how to take part in the virtual Medieval Bake.

Hereford Cathedral is celebrating its local food and agricultural history with a display from its archives and hosting a series of flora and food inspired activities held in their Cloisters.

Ely has a Monastic Trail through the Cathedral to explore ‘Food, Feasting and Fasting in a medieval monastery” and there’s a Pilgrims Camp in the grounds of the Cathedral with medieval cooking demonstrations.

In Guildford the edible theme will be explored in an illustrated talk that will reveal what our forebears would have filled their shopping baskets with in Bottles and Bygones.

The talks are free, but booking is recommended via the cathedral’s box office on 01483 547881 or click here to book online.

In Exeter Cathedral there’s access to the cathedral collections store, where you can discover a recipe for a medieval rice pudding, a 17th century version of potato salad and gold from the vault.

In Norwich Cathedral, visitors can learn what the rule of St Benedict meant for the monks’ diet, what did they produce and how – including insight from the gardeners’ accounts.

And in Wells there are tours inside the 14th century Vicars Hall and the chance to follow the Vicars’ footsteps across Chain Bridge and down the Chapter House steps with a display from the archives including the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Nicholas Bubwith’s 1424 funeral feast menu.

There’s an edible walk around Winchester, starting from the Cathedral, with recipe tips, and inspiration on what you can and can’t eat from the urban landscape – plus a selection of foraged samples will be on offer to nibble too.

You can uncover the edible history of Portsmouth, a major trading port for the UK welcoming many new flavours and tastes to Britain’s shores as part of Portsmouth Cathedral’s Heritage Open Day offer and Sheffield is exploring spiritual food with their Bread of Heaven event.

And Bradford Cathedral’s event, The Cream of Yorkshire will highlight some of the significant and little-known people connected with the cathedral and Bradford’s past.

Heritage Open Days runs from 10th-19th September 2021 and all our cathedrals are getting ready to open their doors to take part in this, England’s largest festival of history and culture with behind the scenes tours and events, treasures from their archives, family activities and other heritage inspired talks and discussions.

Peterborough Cathedral is inviting visitors to take One Small Step on its lunar artwork by artist Peter Walker, and there is the opportunity to explore the Cathedral at night with candlelight.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral is opening its doors to its Ancient Library and Norman Tower – both rarely seen – and there are Bell Tower Tours at Carlisle Cathedral that give visitors a birds’ eye view of their fabulous Ewan Christian ceiling plus behind the scenes in the Prior’s Tower.

There’s a wide programme of events in Exeter that explores Exeter’s multi-coloured history, Chapter House tours in Southwell, tower and crypt tours in Gloucester and the Dean of Chelmsford, the Very Revd Nicholas Henshall is leading a virtual tour offering online visitors a real insight into the history of the building and its purpose from medieval times to the present day starting at the highest point of the cathedral – the cathedral spire.

The festival Event Directory is available now or check each individual cathedral website for more.