Visiting

Entry to the Cathedral is free, with donations very much appreciated.

Opening times

The Cathedral is open for visits. Our opening times for visitors are 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Mondays to Saturdays and 12.30 pm to 3.00 pm on Sundays.

(NB The Cathedral will be closed for visiting on Sunday 20 June.
The Cathedral will also be closed on Saturday 3 July and Sunday 4 July due to ordinations taking place in the Cathedral).

 

We look forward to welcoming you.

 

The Cathedral Shop and Pilgrims’ Kitchen (outdoor, take away and indoors) are now open.

 

All worship is livestreamed. For details see here.

Frequently Asked Questions

A brief introduction

 

Find out the story of the Cathedral.

Visiting with children

 

You might like to download our Discovery Detective trail

There are other activity ideas here.

Visiting by bike

 

The Cathedral is part of the Cathedrals Cycle Route.  A team of cyclists is taking part in a national relay on 12 June.

 

You are welcome to visit by bike. Do make use of our cycle parking. We have bike racks and a bike shed located on the north side of the cathedral near the Cathedral Office (Abbey House, IP33 1LS).

 

Our friendly staff at Pilgrims’ Kitchen will be happy to replenish your water bottle. they might also try to tempt you to refuel with some tasty refreshments.

60 Second Snippets

In place of our Guided Tours programme for 2020 we offer you a series of 60-second snippets which tell you a little bit more about the Cathedral.

 

  1. American Connections – find out more here

2. Saint Edmund – further information here

3. The Millennium Tower – listen here

4. Stephen Dykes Bower – find out more about this architect’s impact on St Edmundsbury Cathedral here.

5. St James – discover the reason for the dedication here

6. Vaulted Ceiling – read more here

7. The Nave (Part 1) – hear about John Wastell’s Nave here

8. The Nave (Part 2) – discover more about the Nave here

9. Cathedral Grounds – explore the Cathedral gardens here

10. Suffolk connections – the County seen through the Cathedral kneelers here

11. It’s all in the detail – study some of the detail of Stephen Dykes Bower’s work here

Visiting Groups

We are not able to offer group visits at the moment.

If you are interested in bringing a group later in the year, do please email.

Daily Guided Tours

We will be re-introducing guided tours and Tower tours from mid June 2021.  Further information will be available shortly.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL

Originally dedicated to St Denys, the Parish Church of St James has grown and developed over the centuries, becoming the Cathedral of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in 1914. Recently the Millennium Project has seen the completion of the building with the addition of a tower, new cloisters and chapels.

History of the Church

1020 – Foundation of the Benedictine Abbey
1065 – 97 – Abbot Baldwin builds St Denys’ Church – Abbot Anselm replaces St Denys’ with a church dedicated to St James
1400s – New chancel built
1503 – 51 – New nave built, designed by John Wastell, Master Mason and resident of Bury St Edmunds
1711 – Medieval chancel replaced
1860 – 70 – New chancel built, work of Sir Gilbert Scott. Pitched roof added to the Nave
1914 – Creation of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich (previously West Suffolk was in the Diocese of Ely and East Suffolk in the Diocese of Norwich) – St James’ Church becomes a Cathedral
1943 – Stephen Dykes Bower appointed as Architect for the Cathedral
1959 – 61 – West Porch and cloisters added
1963 – 70 – New Quire, a Lady Chapel, St Edmund’s Chapel and the crossing added

1988 – Stephen Dykes Bower retires – Alan Rome succeeds as Cathedral Architect
1988 – 90 – Cathedral Centre and Song School built
1994 – Stephen Dykes Bower dies and leaves £2 million to a Trust for the completion of the Cathedral
1997 – Millennium Commission grants £5.15 million for the completion of the Cathedral to the design of Hugh Mathew
1998 – Appeal launched to raise the remaining funds for the Project
1999 – Work starts on the North Transept
2005 – Millennium Tower completed
2008 – East Cloisters opened
2009 – Consecration of the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Crypt and Cloisters
2010 – Completion of vaulted ceiling under the Tower