Summer at English cathedrals

19th July 2022

Lichfield Cathedral is bringing the beach to the city, Rochester has the longest brick-built interlocking bridge in its nave and adventure golf in its gardens, Gloucester Cathedral is inviting mindfulness with labyrinth walking, sound baths and mindful stone carving; there’s Monks School at Durham, the Natural History Museum’s T Rex touring exhibition is at Peterborough Cathedral, and visitors are invited to Rest Under the Stars in a new immersive sound installation at Carlisle Cathedral.

This is what summer looks like in English Cathedrals

Rest Under the Stars will see visitors relaxing on deckchairs in Carlisle Cathedral admiring the stars on its world-famous painted ceiling listening to specially-created soundscapes when it launches its major immersive art installation, a key feature of the cathedral’s 900th-anniversary celebrations.

The Cathedral has partnered with Carlisle-based charity Prism Arts to create the installation, which opens to visitors on Thursday 28 July 28 and runs until Friday 2 September. It is free to visitors, with tickets for the 45-minute slots available to pre-book in advance or as walk-ins on the day.

The Revd Canon Dr Benjamin Carter, Canon Warden at Carlisle Cathedral, said: “Rest Under the Stars offers people an opportunity to find rest among the busyness of daily life, which is something the Cathedral has offered to Carlisle and its diocese throughout its history.

Lichfield Cathedral is bringing the seaside to the city this summer, creating a beach in front of the cathedral.

There will be deckchairs, beach toys and games to borrow alongside a varied programme of daily beach-inspired activities throughout the school summer holidays –including an 8m climbing wall on certain dates.

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

“As Britain’s most landlocked Cathedral, we want to bring an unfamiliar landscape to Lichfield – a beach on the West Front. We know there’s something wonderful about having your feet on the beach. It’s deeply relaxing just to have the time to sit in a deckchair and feel the sun on your face. 
“Our invitation is to come to a sacred place but come and relax and be playful. The Beach will be open daily and is absolutely free as we know the cost of living crisis is hitting many families hard,’ he added.

The Beach will see its official opening this Saturday (23 July) and will be available throughout summer until 31 August

Gloucester Cathedral is inviting visitors to take a moment to pause with a programme of events to promote mindfulness and mental and physical well-being for all.

Visitors can join a 1000-year-long tradition and walk the Labyrinth between Tuesday 2 August – Friday 26 August, a winding path used for meditation and prayer. 

There are sound bathing sessions in the Quire and Lady Chapel in July and August, mindful stone-carving with the Stonemason Team in July and lots more. 

The world’s longest interlocking brick bridge will fill the nave and form the centrepiece of summer activities at Rochester Cathedral this August.

More than 200,000 bricks have been clicked together to create the bridge which will form part of a summer of family activities organised by the Rochester Bridge Trust. 

The nine-hole bridges adventure golf will also return to the Cathedral this summer, this time taking place in the Cathedral Garden. It attracted huge interest when it first opened in the nave in 2019.

Visitors to York Minster this summer will find worship, music, late openings, a thought-provoking art installation, block-buster films and fun family activities and events throughout July and August including a Dragon’s Quest trail, the York Bird of Prey Centre (free) in the Dean’s Park every Thursday and Friday and a return of the Minster Village.

Truro Cathedral has a summer of music, a pop-up clothes market for pre-loved clothes and an artisan market too. 

Chester Cathedral has brought back Making Tracks for a second year running. Pete Waterman OBE and the Railnuts modelling group have created a brand-new ‘OO’ gauge layout, once again based on the West Coast Main Line. The 22 m long rail track which runs through the nave opened last week for the summer. 

Durham Cathedral’s summer programme is inspired by the 1,000th anniversary of the return of the relics of the Venerable Bede with a range of events, exhibitions and activities to introduce visitors to the saint– including a hands-on Monk School to discover what daily life would be like at Durham’s medieval monastery.

Meet Saint Bede, an exhibition in the Cathedral Museum presents a snapshot into the life and legacy of this great teacher and writer, who died in 735. From science to poetry, visitors can discover the vast scale of Bede’s work, and delve into the stories of Bede’s life and the Northumbrian monasteries of his day. There’s a reconstruction of Bede’s shrine and the rediscovered cast of Bede’s skull, made in 1831 when Bede’s tomb was opened.

Other summer events include craft workshops, river walking tours, theatre in the Cloister and live music performances. Find out more here to book tickets and plan your summer adventure.

The touring exhibition T.Rex The Killer Question has just gone on display in Peterborough Cathedral until September 3. It includes a 12-metre static model of a T.Rex, a life-sized replica of a T.Rex skeleton and moving animatronic dinosaur scenes. 

touring exhibition T.Rex The Killer Question has just gone on display in Peterborough Cathedral

The exhibition asks: Was T.Rex a ferocious hunter or a scavenger? Viewers can compare the behaviour of several different dinosaur species with T.Rex to see what they can learn. Visitors will be able to look at the evidence and then cast their vote. 

There are a host of activities during the exhibition including  ‘Dino Window Wednesdays’ at nearby t John’s Church on Cathedral Square, a series of talks in late August and a special podcast in the acclaimed GodPod series will be released on 5th August. And the city’s museum has a new exhibition called Extinction.

The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said:

“We’ve been planning for this exhibition since 2019 but nothing quite prepares you for the sight of these spectacular models in the historic, sacred space of the Cathedral. 

“We hope that people, particularly families during the summer holidays, will come to be entertained and be fascinated by the sheer scale, not just of the dinosaurs but also the Cathedral itself and the God that inspired people to build it.” 

All our cathedrals have special summer programmes of worship, music, events, family activities and more. Do have a look at their websites to check up-to-date information