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Tower Tours

Cathedral TowerThe best view in Gloucestershire

Are you reasonably fit? Can you climb 269 steps up and 269 down again?  Are you over six years old?  If so, why not join one of our Tower Tours? When you get to the top of the winding medieval spiral staircase you’ll discover that it was worth the effort as you enjoy a breath taking view from the roof - on a clear day you can see forty miles across the glorious Gloucestershire countryside.

On the way up you will visit the ringing chamber and the bell chamber where you’ll see ‘Great Peter’ the only medieval bell of its size remaining in England. 

Admission Times and Prices

The Tower Tour season usually runs from April until the end of October. Occasionally tours may be cancelled at short notice, so it’s a good idea to check in advance if you are visiting especially for a tour.

Tower Tours normally take place as follows

Days 

Tour Start Times 

Mon-Tue

2.30pm (school holidays only)

Wed-Fri

2.30pm

Sat

1.30pm and 2.30pm

Sun

Closed 

Bank Holiday

11.30 am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm

 

Please check our Daily or Weekly calendar for information on closures due to special services etc.

The charges for these public Tower Tours are as follows:

Adults        £7.00

Children (who must be aged 6 or over and accompanied by an adult)     £1.00

Private Tower Tours

A private tower tour is a unique way to celebrate a special occasion or as a corporate outing. Do you fancy enjoying champagne on the roof or watching our resident Peregrine Falcons dive and swoop as the sun sets? 

We can put a bespoke package together for you, please feel free to discuss the options with our Visits Officer, Claire Stefanyszyn, for more details:

Tel: 01452 508210
Email: visits@gloucestercathedral.org.uk
 

Bell TowerThe Cathedral chimes

The chimes ring daily at 8am, 1pm and 5pm (4pm on Saturdays and Sundays).   
Please note: occasionally they may need to be silenced in connection with a special service or broadcast. 
The story of mechanical chiming of the Cathedral bells goes back at least to 1525.

Until 1974 a mechanical system was used, and the chime machine of 1763 can still be seen in the bell chamber. In 1979 a new electro-mechanical system was installed, but unfortunately became unreliable by the early 1990s. In 2013 a new digital control system was fitted so that the chime tunes could be heard again.

Usually two tunes are played.   On most days the first tune is as follows:

Sunday   "Easter Song"   A well-known hymn tune dating from 1623.

Monday  "Chorus Novae Jerusalem"  (Ye choirs of New Jerusalem).  This is one of two ancient plainsong melodies which were played on the mediaeval chime machine and are referred to in a repair agreement of 1525.

Tuesday   Mr Jeffries’  tune.   This is the first of four eighteenth century tunes for the chimes, using an octave of bells plus Great Peter, the mediaeval hour bell.  Stephen Jeffries was the Cathedral organist from 1682 to 1710.

Wednesday  Dr Hayes’  tune.  William Hayes was a chorister at the Cathedral and later conducted the Gloucester Three Choirs Festivals from 1757 to 1763.

Thursday  Dr Stephens’  tune.  John Stephens was also a chorister at Gloucester, and later became organist of Salisbury Cathedral, where he is buried.  .

Friday  "Christe redemptor omnium”  (O Christ the Redeemer of all).  This is the second of the two  ancient plainsong melodies known to have been used on the mediaeval chime machine, and referred to in 1525.

Saturday  Mr Malchair’s tune.  John Baptist Malchair was an Oxford academic and a regular performer at the Three Choirs Festival between 1759 and 1775.  A phrase from his chime melody is incorporated in the Crypt School song,  written by Charles Lee Williams, Cathedral organist in the 1890s took a keen interest in the chimes and wrote a set of piano arrangements of the tunes.

The second tune will be one of about a hundred tunes which have been uploaded as part of the new playing system.  These include hymn tunes, Christmas and Easter carols, plainsong, folk melodies etc.

Where possible the tunes are appropriate to the Church's seasons and festivals.