Norwich’s magnificent Romanesque Cathedral is open to visitors of all faiths and none. Set in 44 acres of beautiful grounds (known locally as the ‘village within the city) it’s an awe-inspiring, welcoming building with spectacular architecture, magnificent art and a fascinating history.
One of the finest complete Romanesque cathedrals in Europe, with the second tallest spire and largest monastic cloisters in England, the cathedral houses more than a thousand beautiful medieval roof boss sculptures. Take time to look up and explore them.
But the cathedral also has its secrets.
Look out for medieval graffiti which was uncovered in 2013 during a Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey. Some of the graffiti etched into stone depicts ships and ‘daisywheels’ however the messages found upside down could be a form of curse wishing bad-fortune on unlucky individuals.
The cathederal offers a plethera of art with one of it’s star pieces being the c.1382 Despenser Retable – a wooden panel painting designed to stand at the back of an altar. The retable is one of the most magnificent surviving examples of late fourteenth century church art anywhere in Europe.
The story goes that at the end of a meeting (around 1847), one of the clergy dropped a pencil. Bending down to pick it up, he noticed that the underside of the table was decorated. On closer inspection, the Despenser Retable was discovered, having been turned upside down probably at the Reformation or during the Civil War to be used as a table top to protect it from destruction. Make your way to the altarpiece in St Luke’s Chapel, situated at the south-east end of the cathedral to see it.
Norwich was once a big manufacturer of chocolate. Visit the cathedral copper font which was made from two copper bowls donated by Rowntree Mackintosh in 1994 after the closure of their Norwich factory.
Food & Drink
Jarrold at the Refectory Café is open every day from 11am until 4pm.
Stroll around the peaceful ‘village within the city’ complete with its village green and winding small streets lined with cobbled houses and buildings, Georgian architecture and mews. Visit the herb garden, and view outdoor sculpture and statues. Visit the grave of WWI local hero Edith Cavell.
Services will take place at the following times: 7.30am Morning Prayer, 8am Holy Communion, 10.30am Eucharist and 3.30pm Evening Prayer. These will be said services without the Cathedral Choir as government guidelines currently advise against singing in churches.
7.30am Morning Prayer, 8am Holy Communion, 10.30am Eucharist, 3.30pm Evening Prayer.
Monday to Friday:
7.30am Morning Prayer, 8am Holy Communion, 5.30pm Evening Prayer
7.30am Morning Prayer, 8am Holy Communion, 3.30pm Evening Prayer.
Opening times for general visitors:
Sunday 1pm-3pm, Monday to Friday 10am-4pm, and Saturday 10am-3pm.
Entry to the Cathedral for general visitors is via the Hostry and a one-way route and social distancing measures is in place, but people are very welcome to take their time enjoying the beautiful surrounds of the Cathedral and follow the one-way system at their own pace.
Visitors are able to pause and light a candle on the Peace Globe in the Nave and three of the Cathedral’s chapels will be open for people to visit.
The Cloisters and Labyrinth are open for the public to enjoy. The opening times are Sunday 1pm-3pm, Monday to Friday 10am-4pm, and Saturday 10am-3pm.
Entry will be via the Dark Entry and visitors will be asked to follow a clockwise route around the Cloisters. There will be no access between the Cloisters and the Cathedral building at this time.
No entry fee but donations gratefully received.
Educational visits: Janet Marshall 01603 218320
Group visits: Susan Brown 01603 218300