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Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral is one of Britain's oldest and most beautiful religious buildings. The current building can date its beginnings back to 1089 when Robert, Bishop of Hereford, laid the foundation stone of the new abbey church, but in fact a church was built here back in 678AD. Gloucester Cathedral's cloisters were used as part of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.

In 1216, Henry III was first crowned there, and in 1327 Edward II was buried there. Some 50 years later the Great Cloister was built, while the 15th century saw the rebuilding of the West End, the construction of the Tower and the Lady Chapel.

The Reformation saw the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540, and Henry VIII's establishment of cathedrals the following year. In 1649, with the defeat of the monarchists in the Civil War and the establishment of the Cromwell's republic, the Dean and Chapter were abolished. Eleven years later, with the Restoration of Charles II they were re-established, and in each of the subsequent centuries there have been major periods of restoration on the building itself. Most recently, the cathedral was largely re-roofed, with the Tower fully restored in 1994 (beware it's 269 steps up, then 269 steps down).

Gloucester Cathedral has also been one of the three sites of the Three Choirs Festival since c 1715 (the Festival moves between Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester Catherdals, and represents the coming together of the three cathedrals' choirs), and is the venue for the celebrations in August 2004 and 2007.

As well as its perhaps unlikely starring role as a backdrop to the cinema version of one of the most successful literary creations of the new millennium, in 2000 Gloucester Cathedral celebrated the 900th anniversary of the consecration of St Peter's Abbey.

Visitors should take the opportunity to view the Great East Window, the Whispering Gallery and the Treasury, with its display of gold and silverware not only from the Cathedral but also other Gloucestershire churches. The Orchids at the Undercroft restaurant serves coffee, lunch and afternoon tea, while there is a Cathedral Shop, situated at the West End of the Nave.

Gloucester Cathedral in the glow of sunset. Photo by Alison Liddle, courtesy of Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral Information


When: Daily

Where: Gloucester

Cost: Free, although recommended donation £3.50

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-6pm; Sat-Sun 7.30am-6pm Daily; guided tours available

Address: 2 College Green, Gloucester, GL1 2LR

Hotels near Gloucester Cathedral


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