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

The Cathedral is open for private prayer and visits from

Monday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm.

CLOSURES – please note that the Cathedral will be closed to visitors on:-

Wednesday 23 September  – in the morning (due to a funeral). The Cathedral will re-open approx 12.30 pm.

Monday 19 October – all day (for organ tuning).

What to expect

The main North West porch doors will be open to welcome you. There is access for all via the steps or slope.


A steward will ask you for your name and phone number for NHS Test and Trace. This information will be stored securely for 21 days, then destroyed.


You are welcome to visit or to spend time in private prayer.


Please note that only the Nave will be open. There are no Guided Tours, Tower Tours or events.


Visitors are welcome and we hope that you will enjoy your visit to St Edmundsbury Cathedral.


For everyone’s wellbeing, we ask you to respect the following guidelines:-

We ask all visitors to wear a face covering.

Please use the hand sanitiser on entering the building

Please maintain social distancing

Please follow the one way system through the Nave (all other areas remain closed for the moment)

Please only sit down where indicated

Information to download before you visit

As we can’t offer you an information leaflet at the moment, you might wish to read some of the information below about the history of the building before your visit.

Or download our Welcome Leaflet

For families, why not try our Discovery Detectives Trail or Children’s leaflet?

Do visit Pilgrims’ Kitchen, the Cathedral’s restaurant and café, and the Cathedral Shop during your visit.


Details of their opening times can be found here


Prayer stations are located at the front of the Nave. Do please use the candlestands available. Prayers can be left which will be prayed by the Cathedral clergy.


For other prayer resources see here

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

Visiting Groups

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

Daily Guided Tours

It is not possible to offer guided tours or Tower tours at the moment. We are working hard to find ways to make this possible.


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