What will you Discover?

21st July 2021

Summer’s here … what will you discover?

English Cathedrals take you to the moon and back to earth by way of dinosaurs – or rather  most famous dinosaur of them all – this summer. 

Dust down your suitcase and pack your Pilgrim Passport … wherever the summer holidays may take you, we invite you to take time to discover the wonder and mystery of England’s 42 Cathedrals.

As restrictions are lifted under Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap, please be assured our Church of England cathedrals are exercising caution as they welcome visitors into their buildings.

Packed your passport? Our Pilgrim Passports – a passport sized booklet, full of inspirational quotes, pilgrim poems and prayers, a check list of cathedrals by region, and blank pages for visitors to record their thoughts and space to get their passport stamped at every cathedral – are available at each cathedral or you can buy them online. At £4.99 they are a bargain.

Buy Pilgrim Pasport Online

And there’s something for everyone in our cathedrals this summer – the moon, the earth, dinosaurs, wellness events, tower and heritage tours, art installations, history, faith and science talks, outdoor theatre and family friendly workshops – and a 74 ft model railway running down the nave of Chester Cathedral.

You can join us for Evensong, say a prayer, light a candle, or take time to simply be in these wonderful sacred spaces which were closed for so long during the pandemic.

There are art installations designed to help us reflect and remember those lives impacted by the last 16 months.

Liverpool Cathedral is hosting Peace Doves by artist Peter Walker, until the end of August. It features 18,000 paper suspended on 15.5 miles of ribbon from the ceiling of the Cathedral, accompanied by a soundscape from composer,  David Harper. In lockdown local schoolchildren and community groups were invited to write messages of peace, hope and love onto the paper doves.

The Dean of Liverpool, The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones, said:

“The prayers and messages written on the doves are incredibly moving.

“From people paying tribute to those they have lost to those wishing for better times and, of course, many wishing for peace.

“I hope that people will visit the installation and appreciate its beauty. I hope that people will come and stand, sit or lie under the installation, look up at the doves and experience a sense of serenity and peace,” she added.

Solace by Layne Rowe can be found in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral until 16 August.

Solace – Ely Cathedral

This 10ft high installation has been made up of over 100 glass feathers, individually sculpted in clear glass and hung from the bones of the wings, forged in metal by Ryan Harms to symbolise freedom, unity, strength and power. Solace is intended as a focus for people of all faiths and none, to remember the loss of loved ones and contemplate the effects of the pandemic.

Peter Walker’s reflective installation The Leaves of the Trees, will open in Worcester in August, followed by Southwark in September, and Winchester in October.

The Leaves of the Trees is made up of 5000 steel leaves with the word HOPE written upon, which will be laid out on the cathedral floor, creating an impression of leaves fallen from the trees and was created for people to reflect on the impact of the coronavirus on their family, friends and communities.

Read Pat Ashworth writing in the Church Times on her response to the Leaves of the Trees in Southwell Minster in May:

Chelmsford Cathedral launched a Memorial Cairn project inviting people to lay a stone in memory of a loved one, part of its How Are You project which is offering support to people as the lockdown restrictions begin to lift.

Gloucester Cathedral’s Art for Wellbeing project sees a culmination exhibition open at the end of this month and is part of a multi-agency partnership which has delivered a programme of activities benefiting individuals who have been impacted by Covid 19.

Participants’ work will be displayed at Gloucester Cathedral launching on 31 July, before moving to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital later in the year. The launch event at the Cathedral will be open to the public and will include guest exhibits from community initiatives plus a range of hands-on taster arts activities for anyone to try.

Helen Jeffrey, community engagement and social responsibility manager at Gloucester Cathedral, said:

“We are proud to be working alongside incredible organisations to deliver this project. The funding Take Note has awarded us will make such a difference to those who have been negatively impacted during the Covid 19 pandemic, especially those who have experienced increased isolation, mental or physical ill health.

“We hope the culmination exhibitions will also inspire and empower the wider community to get involved in art and arts activity to promote their own wellbeing.”

And Truro Cathedral is hosting a mini retreat for well-being on Friday 30th July which will involve breathwork, movement, singing out loud and relaxation.

Luke Jerram’s installation of Planet Earth, Gaia is currently on display in Ely Cathedral until the end of this month – the focal point of Ely’s Heaven & Earth – The World in Our Hands project to raise awareness, educate and inspire us to protect our world. It culminates with the Cathedral’s very first Green Fair on 31 July.

Gaia at Ely Cathedral

Gaia can also be found in Wakefield Cathedral for ten days in August while Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon goes on display in Bristol Cathedral on 11 August, part of an exciting programme of events around and under the moon.

One Small Step, a reproduction of the lunar surface using NASA imagery by artist Peter Walker has just gone on display in Peterborough Cathedral where visitors can walk, sing and dance on the moon surface and there’s a wide range of events planned around this art installation which is available until 31 October.

And then there’s Dippy, the most famous dinosaur of them all – the Natural History Museum’s diplodocus cast which can be found in the nave of Norwich Cathedral – on the last stop and only cathedral stop of its nationwide tour. Dippy is the focal point of an exciting programme of events that look at creation and our place in the world.

And whichever cathedral you choose to discover this year, know you can come on two wheels, four wheels and on foot with new routes leading to every one of our 42 cathedrals – including one day pilgrimage routes – find them here.

And launched this year, the new Cathedrals Cycle Route, a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals that links every one of our 42 Church of England cathedrals in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.

Cathedrals Cycle Route – Week 5

There’s a Cathedral Cycle Champion at most of our cathedrals ready to welcome you and your bike!

Find the cycle routes here.

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.

Hand sanitiser will be available, visitors will be asked to respect the need for some social distance between households, and they are welcome to wear a facemask during their visit if they wish.

The NHS QR code will be available for visitors to scan for NHS Test and Trace purposes.

And anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19, or who has been asked to self-isolate, is asked to stay at home.

Remember to check the website of each of our cathedrals ahead of your visit.

See you there!