Gloucester Cathedral

sights / Religious

Gloucester Cathedral information

Gloucestershire , United Kingdom
Street College Green
More information
suggested donation £5; tower tours: adult/child £4/1.50
Opening hours
8am-6pm; guided tours: 10.30am-4pm Mon-Sat, noon-2.30pm Sun; tower tours: 2.30pm Wed-Fri, 1.30pm & 2.30pm Sat
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Lonely Planet review

The main reason to visit Gloucester is to see its magnificent Gothic cathedral, the first and best example of Perpendicular style. It was originally the site of a Saxon abbey, but a Norman church was built here by a group of Benedictine monks in the 12th century, and when Edward II was murdered in 1327, the church was chosen as his burial place. Edward’s tomb proved so popular, however, that Gloucester became a centre of pilgrimage and the income generated from the pious pilgrims financed the church’s conversion into the magnificent building seen today.

Inside, the cathedral skilfully combines the best of Norman and Gothic design with sturdy columns creating a sense of gracious solidity, and wonderful Norman arcading draped with beautiful mouldings. From the elaborate 14th-century wooden choir stalls, you’ll get a good view of the imposing Great East Window , one of the largest in England.

To see the window in more detail, head for the Tribune Gallery , where you can also see an exhibition on its creation. If you stand at one end of the curving Whispering Gallery, a person at the other end should be able to hear your words reverberating across the wonderfully elaborate lierne vaulting. Beneath the window in the northern ambulatory is Edward II’s magnificent tomb, and nearby is the late-15th-century Lady Chapel , a glorious patchwork of stained glass.

There are some modern touches throughout – see if you can spot the late-20th-century stained-glass pieces, as well as the dramatic Iain McKillop take on the crucifixion in the Lady Chapel.

One of the cathedral’s greatest treasures is the exquisite Great Cloister . Completed in 1367, it is the first example of fan vaulting in England and is only matched in beauty by Henry VIII’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey. You (or your children) might recognise the cloister from the first two Harry Potter films: it was used in the corridor scenes at Hogwarts.

A wonderful way to take in the glory of the cathedral is to attend one of the many musical recitals and concerts held here.

Civic Trust volunteers provide free guided tours of the cathedral. For more insights and a fantastic view of the town, join an hour-long guided tower tour .