Discovery Day

After last year’s success where 100 people spent the day learning about various aspects of the Minster, we’re pleased to announce that Discovery Day will be back in September. Choose from various workshops, tours and talks, make new friends and see parts of the Cathedral not usually open to the public.


1. At Home with the Dean: Nicola Sullivan kindly invites you join her at The Residence for informal conversation. Bring your questions, hear about her life before becoming Dean, and get a unique insight into her current role and vision for the Cathedral. Includes the chance to look around part of the house and garden, recently redesigned, which is located on a scheduled monument. (4 steps)

2. In Search of Medieval Graffiti tour: Matt Beresford, Project Director for the Derbyshire &Nottinghamshire Medieval Graffiti Survey, explores historic graffiti in the Minster. Mason’s marks, medieval music, dragonflies and rats, this tour provides a fascinating snapshot into the messages and motifs our ancestors left behind.

3. Felting with nature: A workshop introduction to the process of felting. Guided by artist Julie Fowkes, using shapes and colours inspired by the garden and famous Leaves of Southwell, create a small piece of art to take home. Equipment & fibre provided, £2 donation towards cost of materials welcomed on the day. Thank you.

4. Roman Finds: Southwell Community Archaeology Group show you how to identify, categorise and record genuine Roman pottery and building materials using samples found in Southwell. A hands-on workshop with a short presentation / Q&A about recent archaeological work at the Dean’s Residence undertaken by the group.

5. Gardens and Grounds: a tour of the Minster gardens in the company of our gardener. Includes areas of Bishop’s Manor not open to the public. (uneven ground, steps)

6. ‘The Miracle of the Southwell Carvings’ (Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, art historian): Explore the unique profusion of motifs in the Chapter House. Canon Chancellor Nigel Coates unpacks the visual metaphors of the 13th century: symbols of nature, humanity and faith that still inspire us today. (3 steps)

7. Sir John Soane – the eccentric Regency architect who designed a mausoleum chapel at the heart of a public art gallery: Following his introductory talk, Charlie Leggatt explores further the seminal Dulwich Picture Gallery building – so important, it even influenced the design of the British red telephone kiosk!

8. “…Jesus would withdraw to deserted places and pray”: In a busy world, experience the stillness of our retreat house and gardens, and how it contributes prayerful quiet and fellowship to Cathedral, Diocese, town and beyond. (Walk to Westgate).

9. Tower Tour: In the company of our knowledgeable Minster guides, take a tour of our central tower, stopping at the ringing room and bell chamber and on to the roof (if dry) for views of the town & countryside. (Steep spiral stairways, narrow passages).

10. Historic Library: View some of the Minster’s treasured books and documents accompanied by one of our librarians. (Morning only, limited to 8. Steep steps)

11. High and Lofty: A rare chance to see the organ loft. Includes a demonstration of the organs, some unusual sights from the top of the pulpitum and some architectural peculiarities. (Narrow flight of stone steps, numbers limited)

12. Detecting in the Cathedral: A tour with our archaeologist Philip Dixon finding clues to understand the changes to this complex building over the centuries. Building joints, breaks in stonework and changes of alignment help us understand its history and trace the location of the Saxon church. (May include a few steps)

13. See and Stitch: Join members of the Minster Needlework Guild while they work on current projects and talk about how they tackle and maintain the Minster textiles. They will find you a little job, too, if you want to help. (Short accessible walk)

14. Poetry Spotlight: Local poet Jane Wyles shows poetry in a new light. A relaxed session exploring ‘distilled emotions.’ Share poems old & new and be inspired to write. Bring a favourite photo or something special to you. (2 hour pm session only)

£15 per per person – advance booking please

For more information, please download the booking form.

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: Southwell Minster