“I never weary of great churches.
It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery.
Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral”
Robert Louis Stevenson
I love cathedrals. I love the majesty, the grandeur, the details.
I love visiting them and spending hours wandering around the cavernous spaces and checking out all the hidden nooks & crannies.
One cathedral that I’ve visit that really blew me away was Chester Cathedral in Chester, England.
Chester itself was nice but then I went into the cathedral – which seemed hidden away a bit down a side street. When I walked through the doors, it felt like I had stepped into a different world – I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Harry, Ron & Hermione running through the halls on their way to their History of Magic class.
History of Chester Cathedral
It’s no surprise that Chester Cathedral has seen a lot of history since being founded as a Benedictine Abbey in 1092 – that’s a long time ago! Some of the original Romanesque or Norman style of the original church can still be seen today, however the church was rebuilt in 1250 onward in the Gothic style. This process took over 275 years to complete.
Cathedrals are not only places of worship but also gathering places for local communities in times of celebration or crisis. Every time I walk into a cathedral, I always think the same thing – ‘if only these walls could talk‘.
Inside The Cathedral
I’m a sucker for those high arched ceilings and gorgeous stained glass windows that you find in many cathedrals. Chester Cathedral was no exception, but it also had these amazing mosaics on the wall, depicting famous Biblical characters, including Abraham’s wife Sarah, who I may or may not have been named after- my mum told me she just liked the name.
I did a self guided tour of the Cathedral, taking in the amazing stained glass windows – including one that you probably wouldn’t associate with a place of worship, yet somehow it worked. And I did what I always do when I go to a cathedral – light a candle for my dad.. not that he was a religious person, or would particularly care, but I like doing it, it’s my own little way of having my dad with me on my travels.
I ended the tour in the cafe – it was the end of the day so the pickings were very slim but it really didn’t matter, the point was being in the huge hall that housed the cafe and taking in all the details of the room.
The Cloister Gardens
As I had been wandering around, I kept seeing this garden courtyard in the middle of the building. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how you got out there. Finally, as I was about to leave the cathedral, I found the right door.
Walking through the little door into the Cloister Gardens is quite the experience and I think, rather unique to Chester Cathedral. You could sit in this little garden area for hours, taking in the peace & quiet or watching as people have the same experience that you just had.
It was a really special place and seemed so much different to the dark interior of the cathedral – I mean obviously it was different but to have a space like this in the middle of the church was quite something.
Chester Cathedral is one of the favourites cathedrals I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. I loved how traditional it was but yet somehow also managed to be kind of cool and hip (if a cathedral can be classed that way).
It’s definitely a place I recommend people visiting if they’re in the area.