The Canterbury Journey has achieved a radical transformation in the accessibility and sustainability of Canterbury Cathedral.
One of the largest projects of its kind
The Canterbury Journey – one of the largest projects of its kind – began its formal development and planning process in April 2014 with its successful Round 1 application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).
Prior to that, a couple of years had been spent in working up ideas and concepts and doing consultation with partners and the public as to what the constituent parts of the project should be in addressing the Heritage, People and Communities needs at the Cathedral.
After two years of work; planning applications, further consultation, risk assessments, surveys, design development, costings and copious amounts of due diligence, a successful Round 2 application to the NLHF was approved in October 2016.
The Canterbury Journey completed its last elements of the project in November 2022.
Celebrating The Canterbury Journey
From concept to completion, along with delivering associated works arising from opportunities, as well as the delays and the obvious impacts on delivery of the Covid-19 pandemic, the totality of the project cost was £34.5m (£34,438,161 to be precise).
This was funded by donations/grants to Canterbury Cathedral Trust of £11.5m, a grant of £15m (£14,715,444 to be precise) from the NLHF and £8m from the Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.
Replacement and restoration
Large parts of the exterior of the Cathedral were covered in scaffolding for several years while replacement and restoration of the roof and fabric was undertaken. The landscaping in the Cathedral Precincts was renewed (but not before the main water pipes beneath had been replaced!). The iconic entrance to the Cathedral, the Christ Church Gate, was also hidden behind scaffolding whilst painstaking work on the stone and paint work was completed.
A ’safety deck’ was installed in the Nave, which served as a platform for the hard-to-reach conservation to be carried out. Stained glass windows at the upper levels were conserved and cleaned by our Stained Glass Studio.
Four apprentices – two stonemasons, a carpenter and a leadworker – served their time working on this ambitious project and are now qualified artisans with the skills to care for Canterbury Cathedral and indeed, other historic buildings.
The Cathedral’s once-hidden collections are now in plain sight. Astonishing objects of international significance can now be seen in three permanent exhibition spaces at the Cathedral and online.
The new Visitor Centre, Community Studio, shop and free-to-enter viewing gallery have re-imagined how visitors are welcomed at this ancient place. Our engagement work with schools and community groups has meant that people – people who perhaps thought that Canterbury was not for them – have found something special here and this work will continue into the future.
Our sincere thanks go to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the many other individuals and charitable trusts that supported the Journey, and to all the staff and contractors who made this successful project possible.
Project Evaluation Reports
The Canterbury Journey's Final Evaluation Report (December 2022), and Interim Evaluation Report (September 2021) are available to download:
Final Evaluation Report (PDF) Interim Evaluation Report (PDF)