A Masterpiece of Gothic Architecture and a Testament to Devon’s Rich History
Nestled in the heart of Exeter, the magnificent Exeter Cathedral is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the rich history and vibrant culture of Devon. Steeped in history, this iconic landmark has stood tall as a symbol of faith and architectural prowess for over 900 years. With its intricate carvings, soaring vaulted ceilings, and striking stained-glass windows, Exeter Cathedral is a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship of its builders.
There is a fantastic view of Exeter Cathedral from the private balcony of Apartment 7
As you approach the Cathedral, you will be greeted by the breathtaking sight of the West Front, adorned with an array of intricate sculptures depicting biblical scenes and figures. Pause for a moment to take in the details, and let your eyes wander across the hundreds of carvings that form a remarkable tableau of medieval art.
Step inside, and you’ll be enveloped by the tranquil atmosphere of the Cathedral. The soaring Gothic arches and ribbed vaults create a sense of space and serenity that is truly awe-inspiring. The Cathedral’s most famous feature, the longest uninterrupted medieval stone vaulted ceiling in the world, spans an impressive 96 meters (315 feet) above your head, with delicate fan-like patterns adding to its grandeur.
As you explore the Cathedral, be sure to take in the stunning stained-glass windows. The Great East Window, a masterpiece of 14th-century design, is particularly noteworthy for its vivid colours and intricate depictions of biblical stories. The warm sunlight filtering through the stained glass bathes the Cathedral in a kaleidoscope of colour, casting an ethereal glow on the ancient stonework.
One of the Cathedral’s many treasures is the exquisite Bishop’s Throne, crafted from local oak in the early 14th century. Its towering canopy and intricate carvings make it a true masterpiece of medieval woodworking. As you wander through the Cathedral, you’ll also encounter a collection of beautifully carved misericords – wooden seats with intricately carved scenes that provided support for the clergy during long periods of standing.
History buffs will be delighted by the Cathedral’s rich past, which spans from its humble beginnings as a small Saxon church to its current status as a magnificent Gothic structure. The on-site exhibition and knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights into the Cathedral’s storied past, including tales of sieges, plagues, and the many notable figures who have walked its hallowed halls.
One of the Cathedral’s most famous residents is the Exeter Book, an exceptionally well-preserved collection of Anglo-Saxon poetry dating back to the 10th century. Considered one of the most important literary works of its time, the Exeter Book is housed in the Cathedral Library, which also contains a wealth of rare manuscripts and early printed books.
For a unique perspective on the Cathedral, join one of the guided rooftop tours, which offer a rare opportunity to walk amongst the medieval turrets, taking in breathtaking views of Exeter and the surrounding countryside. The Cathedral’s picturesque gardens also provide a peaceful spot for quiet reflection or a leisurely stroll, with beautifully maintained lawns, flower beds, and benches offering a tranquil oasis in the bustling city.
Throughout the year, the Cathedral hosts a variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions, and workshops, showcasing the best of Devon’s culture and talent. Its renowned choir, which has been in existence since the 12th century, regularly performs during services and special events, filling the Cathedral with the heavenly sound of their voices.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture aficionado, or simply seeking a moment of peace and reflection, Exeter Cathedral offers a captivating experience that will linger in your memory long after your visit. So, as you plan your journey to the heart of Devon, be sure to include Exeter Cathedral on your must-see list. It truly is a testament to the region’s rich history, unwavering faith, and exceptional artistry.
While visiting the Cathedral, you may also take advantage of the excellent facilities available to visitors. The Cathedral Café offers a selection of delicious homemade cakes, sandwiches, and hot drinks, providing a perfect spot to rest and refuel after exploring the awe-inspiring architecture. The well-stocked gift shop is an ideal place to pick up a souvenir or a special gift to remind you of your visit.
Families with children are more than welcome at Exeter Cathedral, with a variety of activities and resources designed to engage and inspire younger visitors. The Cathedral’s friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any questions and provide guidance, ensuring that visitors of all ages can appreciate the wonders of this historic site.
For those seeking a deeper understanding of the Cathedral’s history, architecture, and significance, the Cathedral offers guided tours led by experienced guides who share their passion and knowledge with visitors. These tours delve into the fascinating stories behind the Cathedral’s many treasures, providing an unforgettable learning experience.
During your time in Exeter, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the surrounding area. The vibrant city offers an array of attractions, including the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, the historic Quayside, and the picturesque Rougemont Gardens. With its excellent shopping, dining, and cultural offerings, Exeter is a fantastic base from which to explore the wider Devon region, with its stunning countryside, picturesque villages, and rugged coastline.
A visit to Exeter Cathedral is an essential part of any trip to Devon. The breathtaking architecture, rich history, and captivating stories that lie within its walls make it a destination that will leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the ingenuity and artistry of the past. Whether you’re a lifelong resident of Devon or a first-time visitor to the region, Exeter Cathedral is a place that will undoubtedly capture your heart and imagination.
Check out other things to do in Exeter
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