Bristol Cathedral stands in the middle of Bristol’s vibrant city centre. One of England’s great medieval churches, the Augustinian abbey was founded here in the 12th century by local merchant Robert Fitzharding, the first Lord Berkeley of the family who still live in Berkeley Castle today. For almost 900 years, the building has continued to be a place of sanctuary, prayer and music. Today the Cathedral boasts some of the most important medieval architecture in the UK, which was described by eminent architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner as being “superior to anything else built in England and indeed Europe at the same time”. On your visit, look out for the extraordinary Norman stone carving in the Chapter House, the medieval stained glass preserved in the cloister, the brightly coloured Eastern Lady Chapel and the lofty arches and vaults which distinguish Bristol Cathedral as being of a medieval hall church design. In recent years, the building has appeared on both film and television, with appearances in Wolf Hall, Sherlock, The White Princess, Will and The Medusa Touch.
The Cathedral is open to visitors from 8.00am until 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, with Choral Evensong or Evening Prayer at 5.15pm. There is a lunchtime service at 12.30pm. On Saturdays and Sundays the Cathedral is open from 8.00am until 3.15pm, with Choral Evensong at 3.30pm, with the Sunday morning Eucharist running from 10am – 11.30am. It is advisable to arrange visits around these service times – although Choral Evensong is a lovely way to end a visit. Choral Evensong is a 45-min long peace-inducing church service in which the ‘song’ of voices sounding together in harmony is heard at the ‘even’ point between the active day and restful night, allowing listeners time for restful contemplation – Church members, agnostics and atheists alike. It is both free of charge and free of religious commitment, and its choral music is performed live and to a very high standard. Our team of Guides offer wonderful tours of the Cathedral, which can be adapted to suit your needs, time limitations and interests. Tours are £5 per adult (coach driver and tour operator free). We have leaflet guides of the Cathedral in a number of different languages. We are able to offer guided tours in a limited number of other languages – please ask on enquiry. With a rich programme of services and events, as well as shop, café and peaceful garden, Bristol Cathedral is a wonderful place to visit.
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