Specialist tours offer a chance to explore the Cathedral in more depth, or from a different perspective. The length is tailored to suit your itinerary but they normally last about an hour.
We also offer a range of seasonal tours throughout the year, including, Festival of Chichester Tours (June - July) and Illuminating Chichester Cathedral Tour (Jan – May). You can keep an eye out for these on the Events listing.
Behind the Scenes: The Song School, the Cathedral Library and the Bishop’s Chapel:
Visit three areas of the Cathedral normally closed to the public - the Song School, dating from the early 1500s, located high up in the Cathedral’s triforium and reached only by a winding spiral staircase. The Cathedral Library, also in the Cathedral heights, where a fascinating collection of rare books is stored, including an early edition of Chaucer. And the 13th century Bishop’s Chapel, the private chapel of the Bishop of Chichester, with a rare roundel wall painting known as ‘the Chichester Roundel’.
The English Civil War and the Cathedral:
In 1642 Parliamentary troops laid siege to Chichester and ransacked the Cathedral. The Dean, a dedicated Royalist, provided a colourful commentary on their activities which forms the basis of this tour. He declared that ‘they left not so much as a cushion for the pulpit’.
The Art of Chichester Cathedral:
The Cathedral is particularly renowned for its modern artworks, including important pieces by John Piper, Graham Sutherland and Marc Chagall. Many of these were commissioned by Dean Walter Hussey, a great patron of the arts, during his time in office from 1955-77. The Cathedral is also noted for its earlier works including unique Tudor paintings - of national importance - and two Romanesque panels known as the ‘Chichester Reliefs’, which are dated as early as 1125-50.
The Cathedral’s stained glass includes a stunning South Transept window depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. There is more modern glass too, including the Marc Chagall window (1978) based on Psalm 150 –‘ Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord’ with its mass of small figures playing a range of instruments with great joy and abandonment.
Chichester Cathedral Music:
This tour tells the story of the Cathedral's music, including the accomplished Cathedral Choir. The organ dates from the 17th century and the Cathedral has had a number of well-known organists including Thomas Weelkes (d. 1623) whose music is still sung today. Leonard Bernstein, also wrote the Chichester Psalms for the Cathedral.
Monuments of Chichester Cathedral:
Prominent among the monuments in the Cathedral are eight sculptures by John Flaxman (1755-1826), who first worked for Wedgwood. See late 16th century brass and a number of tombs including the 'Arundel Tomb' that inspired the poem by Philip Larkin. Other tombs include Robert Sherburne, Bishop at the time of Henry VIII as well as a memorial to one of the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I.
Architecture of the Cathedral:
Building started on the Cathedral in 1076, and a range of English medieval styles of architecture can be seen here. This magnificent Cathedral also displays stunning architecture from every century since its beginning. Hear too how the landmark spire collapsed in 1861 and was rebuilt by fearless masons.
Embroidery in the Cathedral:
This tour offers the opportunity to see the textiles and embroideries in the Cathedral and to hear about the designs and techniques used. Included are kneelers and cushions, altar frontals, hangings and vestments as well as two spectacular 20th century tapestries. The tours are led by experienced embroiderers who are members of the Seffrid Guild, the Cathedral's embroidery group.