For many centuries cathedrals have stood in our towns and cities, visible signs of our Christian heritage and the focal point of the church in its locality. In the Middle Ages they were centres of learning and a source of inspiration through their art and architecture. Frequently they were the goal of pilgrims who travelled to visit the shrines of the saints. On these pilgrimages men and women and children of all walks of life, rich and poor, good and bad, travelled together. It was a time to share experiences, of storytelling, to receive and give support and encouragement in life’s journey or pilgrimage.
Today our cathedrals are still at the centre of the Christian life of the area, still serving their local communities and the thousands of people who visit them each year from all parts of the world. To these present-day pilgrims they offer a welcome, provide hospitality and a place of prayer, quiet reflection or meditation to people of all faiths or of none. There are guided tours, often on special themes, and presentations on a wide range of local, national and international issues. Through their Education Departments cathedrals work closely with local schools, offering visits and courses at all levels of the National Curriculum. In some cathedrals students can experience the daily life of the monks who lived there, in others they can trace the history of its building and decoration. Cathedrals are a focal point for the communities they serve and are there to be enjoyed by everyone!