For 1349 years Ripon Cathedral has been welcoming visitors, making it one of Yorkshire’s longest standing visitor attractions!
Since its crypt and the original church above it were built by St Wilfrid in 672, there has always been a warm welcome for pilgrims, worshippers and visitors alike. On Monday May 17, the cathedral threw open its doors once more, as the restrictions on indoor attractions were lifted. As ever, entry is free of charge.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL said: “Throughout the recent lockdown, we at Ripon Cathedral have continued our daily worship of God and prayer for the world. We are now delighted to be able to open wide our doors, once more, to visitors who wish to come and enjoy the architectural beauty, historic treasures, and peaceful space of this ancient gem. People of all ages can discover something they will enjoy, and we are here for people of all religious faiths and none.”
This stunning building has long been a ‘must see’ for day-trippers, those enjoying a staycation in the Dales and tourists from across the world. From its links to WW1 poet Wilfrid Owen and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland author, Lewis Carroll, to the famous Ripon Jewel, believed to date back to the 7th century, wonderful medieval woodcarvings, enormous stained glass windows and modern sculpture, there is something for everyone. Free guide trails for all ages can lead you round the building.
From June 23 to August 21 the cathedral will host an exhibition of wedding gowns and accessories from the Victorian era to the present day. The collection has been generously loaned to the cathedral as visitors are welcomed back following the COVID pandemic, which has impacted on its income. It’s free to visit during opening hours!
A hugely popular installation of 10,000 origami angels, suspended above the nave following the first lockdown, will also remain in place this summer. Each angel represents a prayer, left for a loved one or a key worker and offered by the clergy during the period of the pandemic when the cathedral was completely closed.
During this most recent lockdown the cathedral has remained open for private prayer and reflection with worshippers invited to small daily services and with larger services, including Sunday morning’s service of Holy Communion, held entirely online. Recent weeks have seen a return to a fuller programme of worship – with the building filled with the joyful sound of the choristers and lay clerks of Ripon Cathedral Choir singing praises to God.
As a brighter picture emerges across the UK and the cathedral welcomes visitors once more, work has been continuing behind the scenes to ensure that the cathedral is as safe as possible; a grant of £126,000 from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund has helped to achieve this.
Volunteer guides and welcomers will be on duty to help people make the most of their visit and a duty chaplain will usually be on hand to talk or pray with anyone that would like to do so. The cathedral will be open from 8.15am until around 6.30pm weekdays, 8.15am until 6pm on Saturdays and 7.45am until 5pm on Sundays. The cathedral shop is open from Mon to Sat, 10am to 4pm and Sundays noon to 4pm.
Please visit www.riponcathedral.org.uk for a schedule of services. Visitors will be very welcome!