A Welcome Addition for Cathedral Visitors

Visitors to Winchester’s much-loved cathedral have always been warmly welcomed over the centuries. But the tourists and pilgrims of today are about to receive an even friendlier greeting before they set foot inside the great West door, thanks to a set of new ‘welcome’ points erected in the Outer Close.

The new boards are the result of a joint project between Winchester City Council and Winchester Cathedral and are to be officially ‘unveiled’ on Tuesday 20 January.

The smart, new welcome points replace three rather tatty old signs around the Close and a further metal board in The Square. Designed in the same style as the city’s existing network of tourist information points - found in the car parks, at the tourist information centre and at the railway station – the green cathedral boards will carry helpful information about services, visiting times and facilities such as the refectory and shop.

Simon Barwood, Development Officer at Winchester Cathedral, said: "We are delighted with the new welcome, which simply would not have been possible without the partnership and support of the City Council.

"Although the city and the cathedral have been working closely for some time now on providing a real welcome to people visiting Winchester, much of it has been in the background. This, however, is a visible example of what that partnership can achieve, now and in the future."

Cllr Therese Evans, Portfolio Holder for Community Services at Winchester City Council, added: "As a council, we are constantly working to improve the experience and enjoyment of the 4 million visitors who come to the District each year. The cathedral is at the top of the list for most tourists, and is a focal point for spiritual activity in the county. It is also a busy centre for local people so I am very pleased that we have been able to support this simple but extremely positive initiative."

The welcome boards were installed under the watchful eye of archaeological experts in good time for the 2004 visitor season.

Winchester City Council’s Head of Tourism Eloise Appleby, said: "Traditional heritage sites such as the cathedral have been vulnerable in recent years to changing tourism trends. We will be doing all we can in the coming years to help sustain visitor numbers to the cathedral, which in turn will enable it to continue playing its important role in the heart or our local community."