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Cathedrals attracted 16 times more visitors than worshippers last year

Cathedrals attracted 16 times more visitors than worshippers last year with almost TEN MILLION people attending as ‘tourists’

  • Almost ten million visited cathedrals last year with three million paying to get in
  • Tourists outnumbered worshippers at cathedrals in 2018 by more than 16 to one
  • Anglican leaders said cathedral visitor numbers had been pushed up by events 

The cathedrals of the Church of England attracted a record number of tourists and visitors last year, new figures showed yesterday.

There were nearly 10 million people who went sightseeing inside at least one of the 43 cathedrals, and almost a third of them paid for the privilege.

But tourists who went into cathedrals in 2018 outnumbered their regular worshippers by more than 16 to one, and the crowds who paid entry fees of up to £23 a head to get inside Westminster Abbey alone were around double the size of cathedral congregations.

The cathedrals of the Church of England attracted a record number of tourists and visitors last year, new figures showed yesterday. Numbers of cathedral marriages in 2018 dropped to 250, down a quarter since the 2012 total of 340 [File photo]

Anglican leaders said visitor numbers had been pushed up by events like World War One armistice commemorations, and by exhibitions such as the display of Tim Peake’s Soyuz space capsule in Peterborough. 

They also pointed to packed pews at Easter, when the 58,000 people who went to a cathedral service over Holy Week last year was the highest total for a decade.

The success in attracting visitors comes against a background of criticism of some cathedrals for veering too far towards commercial stunts. 

For example this year Rochester in Kent has come under fire for setting up a crazy golf course in the nave.

There were 9.79 million visitors to cathedrals, which range in scale from Westminster Abbey to Peel Cathedral on the Isle of Man. Of these, 3.22 million paid to get in, and Westminster Abbey drew 1.1 million. St Paul's Cathedral in London is pictured above

There were 9.79 million visitors to cathedrals, which range in scale from Westminster Abbey to Peel Cathedral on the Isle of Man. Of these, 3.22 million paid to get in, and Westminster Abbey drew 1.1 million. St Paul’s Cathedral in London is pictured above

Attendance figures at services also include some bleak statistics. 

The average weekly total of 36,700 worshippers at a full range of regular and special services followed a boom in numbers in cathedral pews between 2008 and 2013 ‘but has remained basically flat since then,’ the CofE’s report said.

Fewer people outside the Royal Family see a cathedral as a setting for their wedding. 

Numbers of cathedral marriages in 2018 dropped to 250, down a quarter since the 2012 total of 340.

Dr Eve Poole, the Third Church Estates Commissioner, and the official who leads the Church of England’s central cathedrals organisation, said: ‘We are proud that our cathedrals are a precious resource not only for the Church but for the nation as well. 

Anglican leaders said visitor numbers had been pushed up by events like World War One armistice commemorations, and by exhibitions such as the display of Tim Peake’s Soyuz space capsule in Peterborough. A woman is pictured at a Remembrance ceremony at Westminster Abbey

Anglican leaders said visitor numbers had been pushed up by events like World War One armistice commemorations, and by exhibitions such as the display of Tim Peake’s Soyuz space capsule in Peterborough. A woman is pictured at a Remembrance ceremony at Westminster Abbey

‘We know from countless anecdotes that many who visit as tourists encounter something deeper, and cathedrals have been imaginative in creating more opportunities for people from all walks of life to cross their thresholds.

‘The story behind these encouraging figures is of cherished buildings led by armies of dedicated staff and volunteers, who each year tell afresh in words, worship, music and light, the stories enshrined in these stones, which are the stories of our nation too.’

There were 9.79 million visitors to cathedrals, which range in scale from Westminster Abbey to Peel Cathedral on the Isle of Man. 

Of these, 3.22 million paid to get in, and Westminster Abbey drew 1.1 million. Cathedrals recorded 592,000 regular worshipper

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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