15th March 2023

Holy Week and Easter at Salisbury Cathedral

Holy Week and Easter at Salisbury Cathedral

This year the Holy Week and Easter story will be told both inside and outside the Cathedral.

Easter Garden

A new Easter Garden installed by the Visitors entrance from Saturday 25 March.

Three crosses and a symbolic tomb, which have been made in the Cathedral Works Yard, will stand amongst an array of Mediterranean plants – rosemary, laurel, olive and santolina – reminiscent of the landscape and story of Jesus.

The man behind the new garden is award winning designer Andy McIndoe, winner of 25 consecutive Gold Medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the prestigious Veitch Memorial Medal (one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s highest accolades) in 2017.

Canon Kenneth Padley, Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, who has overseen the construction of the garden said, “The Dean was keen to bring the Easter story out of the building and share it with visitors to the Close, as an invitation to join us for worship and to share this sacred period with us.”

The new Easter Garden will stay in place until Pentecost on 28 May, the day when Christians recall how God’s Holy Spirit was given to the disciples after Jesus’ Ascension.


There will be many opportunities for worship over the seven days of Holy Week and Easter, with more than thirty services tracing the story of Christ’s Death and Resurrection, starting on Palm Sunday (2 April) and ending on Easter Day (9 April).

Following the ongoing series of Lent Addresses, in which clergy are currently examining contemporary challenges to Christian faith, a special Compline on Monday 3 April at 19.30 combines beautiful plainsong texts dating back to medieval times, with brief addresses from each of the three Cathedral Canons exploring the question “Why I am a Christian”.

Crucifix by Marzia Colonna Photograph by Finnbarr Webster

Some of the most beautiful music sung during Holy Week can be heard at the ancient and dramatic Office of Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows”) on Tuesday 4 April. During this imaginative processional service which draws upon the Sarum Rite, a form of worship dating back to the time when Salisbury Cathedral stood at Old Sarum, candles are gradually extinguished until a single light remains, representing Christ. The service features music by Tallis, Howells and many others.

In addition to the services taking place over this period, there is a Holy Week Concert on Wednesday 5 April featuring John Stainer’s The Crucifixion: A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer.

The Crucifixion is a much-loved part of choral repertoire, an accessible yet dramatic telling the story of Christ’s Passion including the moving chorus God So Loved the World. David Halls, Director of Music conducts the full Cathedral Choir in the Spire Crossing with John Challenger, Assistant Director of Music accompanying on the Father Willis Organ.

Tickets are on sale here– Adults £15 Children £7.50. Accessible admission £15, with free carer ticket.

Family activities

A Family Easter Trail is available from 25 March-16 April. A fun way for families to explore the Cathedral during the festival of Easter, and on Tuesday 11 April, from 10.00-14.00 Celebrate Spring offers nature-themed craft activities for all ages. Both are free with general admission.

For more of the special services and events during Holy Week and Easter at Salisbury Cathedral, click here.