Cathedral and Close Light Up for Advent and Christmas | Salisbury Cathedral

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On Friday 3 December the Cathedral & Chapter House with Magna Carta are closed for 'The Snowman' performances - buy tickets here. Services will run as scheduled. 


Cathedral and Close Light Up for Advent and Christmas

Glowing tree forms, a gigantic light filled globe and a wave of singing lights; the Cathedral and Close will be...

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Cathedral and Close Light Up for Advent and Christmas

Posted By : Marie Thomas Monday 15th October 2018

Glowing tree forms, a gigantic light filled globe and a wave of singing lights; the Cathedral and Close will be transformed this Advent and Christmas, with illuminated art installations on the Cathedral lawns and inside the Cathedral itself.

The four artworks collectively titled From Darkness to Light were commissioned on behalf of the Cathedral by Jacquiline Creswell, our Visual Arts adviser, to support the city and extend the message of optimism embodied in our Advent Procession.

The illuminated artworks are to be switched on as the first of the three Advent Processions (Friday, 30 November) comes to a close and will stay in place until 3 February 2019.

If you approach the Cathedral via the West walk you will encounter Light Wave by Squidsoup, the team behind the stunning light installation in the North Porch during our Magna Carta celebrations in 2015. This immersive walk-through experience comprises of 500 light and audio spheres, suspended in a 20-metre wave formation, that will softly glow and emit plainsong, creating a dreamlike experience.

Coming from the High Street Gate, a neon sign inspired by scripture and entitled I Will Turn The Darkness Into Light, will be suspended over the North Porch Gates welcoming you with its simple promise of hope. 

On the Cloister Garth, Lumen by David Ogle RBS, will sit among the grand Cedars that were planted to commemorate Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne. This installation of 5 tree-like structures will form a luminous canopy of interlocking neon branches up to 3-metres high that will bath the stone arches with a vibrant glow.

Inside the Cathedral The Light, a 4-metre illuminated globe created by Richard McLester and his Poole based team, flowing from one colour to another for Advent, and then for Christmas, a shooting star will whirl and spin until finally focusing on the ‘Star of Bethlehem’.

The Light will also be at the heart of an immersive concert, Songs of The Light, on Wednesday 5 December. Composer and artist Richard McLester will lead a choir of 150 local singers in a live music performance punctuated by films featuring moving testimony from individuals sharing their emotional journeys from emotional darkness to light. The films will be projected on seven huge screens across Spire Crossing and at the West End of the nave. Tickets:  Adult £20.00, Child £10.00, Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) £50.00.

The best time to view all of the light installation is between 16:00 and 17:00 Monday - Saturday.
This year’s Advent Processions take place at 19.00 on Friday 30 November and Saturday 1 December and at 17.00 on Sunday 2 December. The processions mark the start of the Christmas season for the Cathedral and the anticipation of Christ’s birth. 

Dean Nicholas said:

“Advent is the pivotal moment in the Church’s calendar, when we set out with joyful hope towards Christmas and the celebration of Christ’s birth.  Advent and Christmas are particularly special this year because they reflect the journey made by the city and community in 2018 which has tested our resolve and our resilience.  I hope this Advent – my first as Dean - will be a time of healing and renewed hope for Salisbury and a time to make a difference for God, and to worship in our beautiful Cathedral.”

Jacquiline Creswell, Visual Arts Advisor and curator, said:
“The pleasure of working with Salisbury Cathedral is its willingness to embrace modern art as part of its message. In this case the blend of modern technology and creativity, drawing upon the age-old symbolism of Light and Dark is a powerful and immediate message, a gesture of hope and forward thinking.”

In addition to the illuminated art installations, there will be extra lights in the trees around the lawns and Choristers Green, a bonus for those taking the ever-popular Twilight Tower Tours up onto the balconies high above the city and Cathedral lawns. Twilight Tower Tours are on sale now and run from 16 November until 22 December.

Jane Morgan, Director of Development and Communications said:

“It has been a long and exhausting year for many people in Salisbury, so we were determined to make Advent and Christmas extra special this year. The Twilight Tower Tours, which come with a delicious cream tea, are always full to bursting so we took the decision to make more available starting in November. With the light installations in the Close and views of the Christmas lights across the city, as well as the ice rink in the Guildhall Square, the unfolding panorama from the tower balconies will be amazing.”

The perfect way to end a festive day, the Twilight Tower tours can be booked online via the Cathedral website: Adult £17.50, Child £12.50, Family (2+3) £48.00.


For any other enquiries or further information contact: Marie Thomas at Salisbury Cathedral 01722 555148