Salisbury Cathedral tour will take visitors 40ft high to view restoration work

Claire Hayhurst, PA

A new tour has been launched at Salisbury Cathedral, taking visitors 40ft high to view restoration work taking place.

The cathedral has warned the experience, which gives visitors a close look at its east face as well as views of the surrounding landscape, is not for the “fainthearted” or those afraid of heights.

During the 90-minute tour, visitors climb up a staircase and two ladders to reach 43ft-high scaffolding on the building.

It takes them behind the scenes to where stonemasons are working on the east end of the cathedral, the oldest and most damaged part of the building.

The tour will also show visitors inside the cathedral from a high level (Ben Birchall/PA)
The tour will also show visitors inside the cathedral from a high level (Ben Birchall/PA)

Visitors will able to closely examine the stained glass window Prisoners of Conscience as well as a former glazing workshop dating back to 1730 and used across the centuries by builders and restorers.

They will then go through a door into the cathedral to have a closer view of the scissor arches, which help support the 6,400-ton weight of the tower and spire.

Gary Price, clerk of the works at Salisbury Cathedral, said: “The last time there was scaffolding would have been in Victorian times, in the 1860s and 1870s.

“After the scaffolding goes, that’s going to be it for a couple of hundred years so this really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Each tour will accommodate up to four people from the same household or support bubble to ensure Covid-19 guidelines are upheld, with any money raised going towards the cathedral’s recovery appeal.

The appeal was launched in June as a result of losses incurred during the coronavirus lockdown, which has left the cathedral with a potential budget shortfall of almost £2 million this year.