This year, we are thinking of new ways to celebrate St Alban’s Day and ways you can enjoy the Cathedral for the time being.

After three months of being closed, we're making plans to open our doors when it’s safe to do so, including a one-way system, introducing social distancing measures and a thorough cleaning schedule. But there’ll be plenty to do online or outdoors.

Once the Cathedral is open the 12ft puppets from the yearly procession will be displayed, along with a special exhibition that’s been created by The Friends of St Albans Cathedral during lockdown.

For those wanting to explore the city on foot, take on the three-mile trail of St Michael’s, St Stephen’s and St Peter’s Churches, the original pilgrimage churches, finishing at the Cathedral and discover their ancient stories.

Or if you’re looking for something slightly shorter, go on a tree hunt around the Cathedral with the kids. Seek out the Cedar tree that’s over 200 years old, learn all about the origins of The Vintry garden and find the tree that was planted by Princess Diana in 1989. Both trails are available to download here on our website and print at home. 

Cathedral guides are planning for outdoor tours when reopened, with limited numbers, of the exterior of the Cathedral over the period, giving visitors an insight into the original monastic site as well as the story of Alban and Amphibalus. Learn why Holywell Hill was named so and why we sell rubber eyes balls in the gift shop!

Online you’ll be able to discover the reason why our magnificent city is called St Albans and why red roses are so significant to this story. You can even learn how to make a paper red rose to display in your window alongside your rainbows. Make sure you send us in your photos.

On Sunday 21 June, hear from Cleric, Broadcaster and former Communard, Reverend Richard Coles as part of a special live streamed service at 10am on YouTube. Our local MP Daisy Cooper will also feature, as well as other churches from around the world that have links to Alban.

This year we’ve added online talks to the programme, so you can join in a poetry afternoon through Zoom – ‘Pilgrimage by Poetry’, led by Archdeacon Jonathan Smith. Or Mark Vernon, Writer and Psychotherapist, invites you to mark the 700th anniversary of the completion of the great Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri through a Zoom talk. Tickets are limited, so do book early to avoid disappointment. 

St Albans City and District Council along with St Albans BID are also planning a host of activities. Market Traders from past and present will be creating a fun video montage along with special offers to celebrate the occasion. St Alban’s own Bob Golding will make a special appearance in a music video. Plus, the 13.1 challenge will be launched, as this year’s Half Marathon has been cancelled. Whether its 13.1 minutes of mediation, or 13.1 miles on a bike, get fundraising and support our fabulous local charities.

This year will be different, but no less profound, so we do hope you can join the city in celebrating this special occasion.

For the full Pilgrimage programme here.