Updated: Aug 4, 2021

Peterborough’s iconic cathedral is to get a revamp of the grounds and new LED illuminations.

The cathedral is a huge tourist attraction in the city and an extensive makeover of the public green spaces within the Cathedral’s Precincts is all thanks to a £60,000 grant.

The funding has come through the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) and t means that the Cathedral can undertake a comprehensive programme of planting and other outdoor improvements to the site, all designed to enhance the historic location which is both a landmark for the city and a popular spot for picnickers.

It will be busy this summer for outdoor events including various outdoor summer performances as part of Live in the Cloisters (from August 7) and an outdoor concert by 21st Century ABBA on Sunday August 29.

“We are enormously grateful for the opportunity this grant gives us to create a more welcoming and pleasant environment for visitors within the Precincts,” said the Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough.

“During the pandemic many of us have come to recognise our need for tranquil green spaces and beautiful outdoor locations. The Cathedral grounds are a very special, ancient place and it is a joy to take steps to share them more widely.”

The grant was the result of a presentation to the Combined Authority made jointly by Peterborough City Council and Peterborough Positive in a joint effort to respond to the economic challenges faced by the City post COVID.

Cllr Marco Cereste, Cabinet Member for Digital Services and Transformation, Peterborough City Council, said: “Peterborough City Council is working with partners such as Peterborough Cathedral, the Combined Authority and Peterborough Positive, to deliver an ambitious programme that is making a real difference to our city.

“Peterborough boasts many visitor attractions and the Cathedral plays a very important part in making the city a vibrant, exciting place to be.

“The funds to support this project were secured as part of the council’s vision to create an environment that brings investment and people into Peterborough.

“This project also highlights the importance of having green spaces within our city and the many benefits these bring to both physical and mental health.”

Another aspect of the project will be the installation of state-of-the-art eco LED lighting to illuminate the magnificent west front of the Cathedral. Contemporary lighting, digitally controlled, will mean that the porticos can be lit in different colours at the touch of a button, replacing the time-consuming manual process which is currently in place. Once completed, the Cathedral can be lit to mark special themes and their associated events and services.

The plans for the 9.5 hectare site, which will be completed by Autumn 2021, include ambitious planting schemes, re-painted railings and replacement outdoor furnishings including benches, bins and new tables and chairs for the café terrace. Gravel pathways will also be renewed where needed.

This represents a considerable amount of work for the Cathedral Head Gardener, Rob Glover, and so new gardening volunteers are now being recruited to assist with the task.

“Anyone who has some experience and knowledge of gardening and a good general knowledge of plants is invited to get in touch,” says Rob.

Full details are on the Cathedral website or you can email to find out more.