Giant Puppet of Britain’s First Saint to Appear at St Paul’s Cathedral

On Wednesday 19 June at midday, a giant 12-foot puppet of Britain’s first saint, St Alban, will be joined by visitors and pilgrims outside St Paul’s Cathedral to launch a new walking pilgrimage route. 

The new 35-mile route from St Paul’s Cathedral to St Albans Cathedral takes in some of London’s most stunning parks, waterways and views. Designed in five stages, the journey offers a chance to boost the physical and spiritual wellbeing of those who may struggle to find the time in their busy city lives to undertake other pilgrimages. Each stage is easily accessible via public transport, making the pilgrimage green.

St Alban, who some argue should be England’s patron saint, was a Romano-British citizen who lived in the Roman city of Verulamium.  He died for his faith around 300 AD, close to the spot where St Albans Cathedral now stands, after giving shelter to a Christian priest fleeing persecution. Alban’s life and death encompassed many human qualities including courage, hospitality, openness, faithfulness, tolerance and ultimately self-sacrifice. Those who join the walk will be given reflections on these themes.

The Rev'd Canon Kevin Walton, Canon Chancellor at St Albans Cathedral commented, St Albans to London is one of the busiest commuter routes in modern Britain. In this route we are offering a different kind of journey, away from the stress and busyness of modern living, and rediscovering our spirit and cultural roots as we tread the way from our vibrant capital to the home of Britain’s first saint.”

 -

Notes for editors

St Alban Pilgrim Way

  • The new route, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, launches on Wednesday 19th June at midday at St Paul’s Cathedral, in the run up to St Alban’s Day on Saturday 22nd June.
  • The puppet of St Alban will be joined by the puppet of St Amphibalus, the priest Alban sheltered.
  • Some of the landmarks that can be seen along the new pilgrimage route include:            St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Wellington Arch, Regents Park, Parliament Hill, St Jude’s Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb and St Albans Cathedral.

Alban, Britain’s First Saint – National Lottery Heritage Fund funded project

  • The new pilgrimage route is part of a programme of events and activities organised by St Albans Cathedral to attract new audiences.
  • The project is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with match funding from over 1000 individuals and organisations.
  • As well as the programme of events and activities, the Cathedral is opening a new welcome centre and creating new learning spaces and activities for schoolchildren and adults, and a new exhibition area ‘The Power of Pilgrimage’.