SEE US IN A NEW LIGHT
We’re open from 12 August!
From 12 August, the doors of Newcastle Cathedral will open once again to welcome all visitors, following a multi-million pound transformation supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project, known as Common Ground in Sacred Space, has been made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, and the generosity of many charitable trusts, foundations and individuals.
The 20-month-long redevelopment has been undertaken to re-establish the Cathedral as a dynamic community hub and a key attraction in Newcastle city centre with significant improvements to the public space outside and an overhaul of its interior to accommodate more visitors, events and activities. The historic and spiritual landmark has been sympathetically restored and re-modelled into an accessible visitor attraction, whilst at the same time preserving and celebrating its ancient religious roots.
In the Nave, new underfloor heating and flexible seating accommodates new styles of worship and now enables the Cathedral to host large-scale business and cultural events seeking a grand, period-style and highly memorable experience. Improved and enhanced visitor facilities include a retail area and a new community café – Café 16 – an initiative by Northumberland-based charity The Oswin Project that will help prison leavers to get their lives back on track.
New features include fascinating interpretation panels, lively animation and a new sound and light show, which are designed to bring 900 years of history to life, chronicling the development of the Cathedral as the ancient heart of a modern city. Interactive digital displays tell the stories of some of Newcastle’s most significant characters commemorated in the Cathedral’s ledger stones. These historic grave covers have been protected and conserved as part of the redevelopments.
Historic architectural features have been newly conserved and brought to life, including the 15th century baptismal font and the Cathedral’s oldest resident – a 14th century effigy of a medieval knight, thought to be Peter le Marechal, sword bearer to King Edward I.
Outside, the Cathedral’s new churchyard trail and beautifully landscaped terrace will provide a sanctuary to unwind and learn more about the Cathedral in the context of the city’s historic quarter. Visitors can relax in the refurbished green space and follow the paved ribbon of ‘Newcastle Beatitudes’ (or Blessings), where beautifully inscribed roundels punctuate the pavement, inviting visitors to pause and reflect.
Alongside the Cathedral’s regular pattern of daily Christian worship and choral music, visitors can also look forward to an exciting programme of events and activities inspired by the city and the Cathedral’s past and present. Regular history and architectural tours will take place, and themed craft activities for all the family include: Archaeology and Discovery, where visitors can explore some of the scientific discoveries and feats of engineering that are referenced in the Cathedral building; Creativity and Wellbeing activities that place mental wellbeing front and centre, and Party and Play, which acknowledges the hard work and commitment of communities this past year.
In the autumn, there will also be the long-anticipated return of Lantern Tower Tours, for those intrepid visitors who dare climb the 162 steps of Newcastle Cathedral’s Lantern Tower to gain breath-taking views of the city. A Virtual Lantern Tower Tour has been developed for visitors that are unable, or not quite confident enough, to make the climb.
The Very Revd Geoff Miller, Dean of Newcastle, said: “Common Ground in Sacred Space was launched as the Cathedral’s vision over ten years ago and has since involved the largest refurbishment since the works that took place here in 1882, when St Nicholas’ became a cathedral.”
“At its heart, the project has been about creating a sustainable future for our magnificent Cathedral, celebrating its elegance, but also energising its mission to make this sacred place common ground. We are buzzing and bursting with excitement to welcome visitors of all faiths and none into our story.”
Newcastle Cathedral will be open to the public from Thursday 12 August 2021. For daily opening times, worship and music services, and events and activities for all the family, please explore our website to find out more.