Go 'behind the scenes' at Gloucester Cathedral this October
By David Wood
There's something on offer for everyone at Gloucester Cathedral this October.
This includes plenty of family-friendly activities to coincide with the half-term holidays and the chance to explore this beautiful building like never before
On Saturday, October 22, Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29, Gloucester Cathedral invites you to 'Access All Most Areas', where visitors will be able to explore this magnificent building in a completely new way.
During these special evening openings, a number of the Cathedral's most historic, secret and intriguing spaces will be open to the public, some for the first time ever.
This includes the 17th century organ loft, the song school where the Cathedral choristers practise, and the Vestry which contains remarkable medieval paintings.
These spaces are usually off-limits to the public, so this is a rare opportunity to see them first-hand. There will also be the chance to explore the historic Parliament Rooms, where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once stayed, as well as the opportunity to experience the oldest part of the Cathedral, the Crypt, in the same way that the medieval monks would have, bathed in candlelight and filled with the sounds of plainsong chant.
Visitors are asked to book in advance via the Cathedral website, and tickets for the evening cost £7.50 for adults and £3 for children (under 5s go free). The first entry time is 6.30pm, and the last entry time is 8.45pm.
There is also the option to purchase a 'VIP' ticket which includes a 55-minute tour of the Cathedral Tower and the unforgettable experience of looking out over the city at night. This costs £20 for adults and £8 for children.
Alternatively, there is the option to purchase a 'VIP' ticket with access to the medieval Cathedral Library, where visitors will be able to listen to a beautiful, immersive soundscape. This costs £10 for adults and £4 for children. Visit the Cathedral website to find out more and to book tickets in advance.
The Monk's Kitchen will be open throughout the evening so that you can treat yourself to a hot drink and slice of delicious homemade cake, and the gift shop will be open too for those who wish to pick up a souvenir or make a start on their Christmas shopping. There will also be fun craft activities on offer, which are suitable for all the family.
The Interim Dean of Gloucester, Canon Dr Andrew Braddock, said: "Gloucester Cathedral is always a great place to explore. This October, we are delighted to be revealing more of the Cathedral's secret places and unfamiliar stories.
"From tales of courage to stories of faith, all are welcome to come and discover more about your Cathedral and its life this half-term."
Lorna Giles, head of visitor experience at Gloucester Cathedral, added: "Visitors often ask us what's behind the many ancient doors that are kept closed at the Cathedral, so we're throwing them open and allowing people a real behind-the-scenes glimpse.
"We can't wait to show our visitors hidden medieval paintings, messages scratched into the stone hundreds of years ago and unique views of this breathtaking building!"
The family fun continues with the all-new 'Stones and Bones' trail, which will be available between Saturday, October 15, and Saturday, November 5. 'Novice Norman' has lost his book, so as part of the trail, visitors will need to hunt for clues around the building to help him find it.
The trail is free to take part in, with no booking required, but donations to the Cathedral are welcome. It will be available during normal Cathedral opening hours, as well as during the 'Access All Most Areas' evening openings.
Between Thursday, October 27, and Saturday, October 29, the Cathedral will also be running family craft activities in the Chapter House. All the activities will have an autumnal theme, offering the ideal way to spend the October half-term.
The sessions will run from 12.30pm-3.30pm and are free to take part in, with all materials provided. Visitors are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a slot in advance, but walk-ins on the day will also be welcome.
Further details about all these events can be found on the Cathedral website gloucestercathedral.org.uk/whats-on as well as on the Cathedral's social media pages.
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