Date set for tourists to return to York Minster

Back open to all soon – York Minster. Photograph: YorkMix
3 Jul 2020 @ 5.37 pm
| News

York Minster will reopen for public worship on Saturday (4 July) and for sightseeing visits on Saturday 11 July.

The first public service to be held at the cathedral since it closed on 16 March will be Evening Prayer at 5.30pm on Saturday, followed by

  • services of Morning Prayer (10am)
  • Holy Communion (11am)
  • and Evening Prayer (4pm) on Sunday (5 July).

Several measures have been put in place to help keep visitors and staff safe.

These include limiting the number of people allowed inside, reduced seating, a one-way system to allow people to physically distance from one another, hand sanitiser points, additional cleaning measures and staff and clergy wearing face masks and visors to welcome visitors.

Worshippers attending public services will also be asked to leave their name and contact details to assist with the NHS Test and Trace programme, in line with government guidance.

Simpler and shorter

The nave previously opened for private prayer

Initially, services will be simpler and shorter.

Changes include no congregational singing or sharing of the Peace and the suspension of the Common Cup during Holy Communion will continue.

There will also be no plate collection at the end of services, although people are encouraged to make a donation using contactless donation points inside the cathedral.

The Dean of York, the Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost said:  “We are delighted to open our doors again to welcome people for public worship and to explore this magnificent sacred space.

“Over the last few weeks we have welcomed many for individual prayer, but to gather again for worship – with relevant physical distancing measures in place – will be a huge encouragement for many.”

The regular service pattern at the cathedral from Tuesday 7 July will be:

  • Monday to Saturday
    – Morning Prayer (7.30am)
    – Holy Communion (7.50am)
    – and Evening Prayer (5.30pm)
  • Sundays
    – Morning Prayer (10am)
    – Holy Communion (11am)
    – and Evening Prayer (4pm).

While the cathedral has been closed its clergy have taken worship online, and will continue to produce a pre-recorded Evensong service broadcast at 4pm each Sunday via its website and social media channels for those who are unable to immediately return to the building for worship. 

Sightseers back

The Revd Canon Michael Smith, pastor at York Minster, in his protective visor. Photograph: Richard McDougall

People have been able to visit the cathedral for individual prayer since Tuesday 16 June, and from Saturday 11 July the Minster will extend its opening hours for this and welcome its first sightseeing visitors since March. 

General visiting hours will be Monday to Saturday 11am to 4pm, and Sunday 12.20pm to 2.30pm

Visitors will need to pre-book a timed arrival slot via the website with tickets now available for visits from 11 – 31 July.

Parts of the cathedral will initially remain closed including the Central Tower and Undercroft Museum and there will be no guided tours.

Dean’s Park, the popular green space which runs along the north side of the cathedral, is already open daily from 10am and 6pm and the Minster Shops inside the cathedral and at Minster Gates are also open daily in line with general visiting times.