Town life

Hereford Cathedral

A site of religious activity since 696, Hereford’s cathedral is a Grade I-listed building located in the centre of the riverside city. Rebuilt in the 1100s, it today houses some of the world’s most important historical artefacts, including the amazing 700-year-old Mappa Mundi. 

Reconstructed in a Romanesque style following the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, Hereford Cathedral was once an important national centre of learning and scholarship, yet also a magnet for turpitude. Having already experienced a turbulent history that continued following its Norman reinvention, the cathedral has been the site of both saintly and sinful deeds, including murder most foul. 

Despite its unsettled past though, Hereford Cathedral has remained a focal point for religious worship over the centuries and is also home to an array of fascinating historical documents and artefacts. Of these, an 8th century illuminated Gospel Book, a relic of the murdered archbishop St Thomas Becket and Hereford Cathedral’s 1217 copy of the Magna Carta along with the King’s Writ are but some of things you can see. 

Perhaps the cathedral’s most famous treasure though is the Mappa Mundi. A medieval map of the world created around 1300 by Richard of Holdingham, the map is listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and depicts a pictorial encyclopaedia of the medieval world. The only one to have survived, the Mappa Mundi is the oldest complete world map of its kind and attracts visitors from across the globe.

If you would like to visit Hereford Cathedral, there are plenty of guided tours that provide fascinating insight. While adventurous visitors can climb the 218 steps to the top of the cathedral’s tower for jaw-dropping views of the city and surrounding countryside, others may content themselves with a more grounded discovery. From guided tours of the cathedral’s interior to its 6 acres of RHS award-winning gardens, there is ample to see. 

Once you have finished your exploration, you can round off your visit with a trip to the cathedral’s café for a hot drink and bite to eat, before heading into the city to see what’s next.

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Hereford Cathedral, 5 College Cloisters, Cathedral Close, Hereford HR1 2NG | 01432 374 200 | https://www.herefordcathedral.org/

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