When you bring a class to visit Hereford Cathedral we will usually ask you to first of all bring the children to the Cathedral Barn, where we will welcome them and talk with them about the sorts of things they will see and do during their visit. There will be time for mid-morning drinks and snacks and time to use the toilets before beginning their workshops and trails.

If you would like a short act of worship, we would be very happy to arrange this for you. 

For Key Stage 2, we offer visits to the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition, Anglo-Saxon Hereford, a Signs and Symbols Trail and two local history studies: a Tudor Trail and Life in the Middle Ages.

Mappa Mundi and Chained Library Exhibition

The Hereford Mappa Mundi dates from the end of the 13th century. It is an amazing survival from the Middle Ages and has recently gained UNESCO World Heritage status, acknowledging its world-wide significance.

The map is not simply a geographical representation of the world. As well as cities, countries, seas and rivers, it contains images of both mythical and real animals, weird and monstrous races, Bible stories and Classical myths; it locates historical and legendary sites like the altars of Alexander the Great and the Golden Fleece, and it places Jerusalem and all it stands for at its centre.

As well as its religious and historical interest, there is a wealth of pictorial information that might be used as inspiration for story telling, story writing or role play.

A guided visit to the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library Exhibition includes an introductory talk about the map and ‘Explorer’ worksheets to help the children discover the world of the map for themselves.

The Chained Library at Hereford Cathedral is fascinating for children. The bookshelves, reading desks and large leather-covered volumes create a definite ‘Hogwarts-like’ atmosphere, while the chains themselves are a particular curiosity.

We have over 220 manuscripts that were produced by hand before the advent of printing. Children are able to see photos of some of the decorative, hand-illuminated initials from our manuscripts and, from time to time, the manuscripts themselves are displayed in our exhibition cabinets.

Duration for a guided visit 60 minutes (this includes Exploring the Mappa Mundi and a visit to the Chained Library)

Prices per pupil
Guided exhibition visit, including worksheets and Mappa Mundi Explorer stickers £5.00
Non-guided exhibition visit £3.50

Recommended workshops to accompany this visit
Illuminated Letters

Signs and Symbols Trail

Focus Question How are the beliefs of Christianity expressed in symbolism and through worship?

This is a very ‘hands on’ trail. The children begin at the font, where they talk about baptism and rebirth into a new life. Then they visit significant places in the cathedral, read from the lectern, sing in the choir, sit on the bishop's throne and finish at the high altar, where they think about friendships and families and share some special food. Here they also learn about the service of Holy Communion.

Before they leave, the children are invited to light a candle at one of the votive candle stands and to think about something that is special to them. They are given a candle to take away with them.

Duration 45 minutes (without a workshop)

Price £2.50 (without a workshop)

Recommended workshops to accompany this trail
Investigating the Traherne Windows
Praying with Beads
Stained Glass Windows

Anglo-Saxon Hereford

What do we know about Anglo-Saxon Hereford?

KS2 children experience Anglo-Saxon story-telling and hear the brutal tale of King Offa and the boy king, Ethelbert. They find out about exciting archaeological digs at the cathedral and see copies of intricately-designed pages from the 8th-century Hereford Gospels. They also decorate an Anglo-Saxon sword to take away with them.

Duration and prices per pupil
With optional workshop: 3 hrs 30 mins (including a break for lunch), £4.50
Without workshop: 2 hours, £3.50

Local history beyond 1066

Hereford Cathedral has seen centuries of history and has often played an important role in our national story. We are pleased to offer the two following studies of local history beyond 1066.

A Tudor Trail

Key Questions
Why did Henry VIII marry six times?
What was it like to be rich in Tudor England?
What was it like to be poor in Tudor England?

This visit is made up of two separate sections: a cathedral trail called ‘Discovering the Tudors in Hereford Cathedral’, and an ‘audience’ in the cathedral’s Tudor Audley Chapel called ‘Henry VIII and the Audley Chapel’.

Discovering the Tudors in Hereford Cathedral

Children are led on an exploration of the cathedral’s late medieval decorative wood carvings, and discover evidence of Tudor-style building construction in the close studding and wattle and daub of the College Cloisters. They meet costumed characters from the cathedral’s Tudor past and find out what life was like for the rich and the poor.

Henry VIII and the Audley Chapel

A Tudor bishop from the cathedral’s past, Bishop Audley, meets the children and invites them into his chantry chapel. Here, they use torches to hunt for Tudor graffiti, and they are surprised by the sudden entry of a famous visitor! Henry VIII ‘holds court’ with the children. He talks about his ‘great matter’ and tells them about his love of dancing and feasting.

A copy of the Teacher’s Pack for the Tudor Trail can be downloaded from the resources below.

Duration and prices per pupil
With optional workshop: 3 hrs 30 mins (including a break for lunch), £4.50
Without workshop: 2 hours, £3.50

Recommended workshops to accompany this trail
Brass Rubbing
Tudor Games

Life in the Middle Ages
  • Who lived in the cathedral?
  • What did they wear?
  • What was life like?
  • What happened when the Black Death hit the city?
  • Children dress in replica robes, learn some Latin, and experience the daily challenges of the cathedral community of the Middle Ages.

Duration and prices per pupil
With optional workshop: 2 hrs (including a break for lunch), £3.50
Without workshop: 1 hour, £2.50

Recommended workshops to accompany this trail
Illuminated Letters

A ‘Do-It-Yourself’ option

If you would like to lead your own visit, then we can help with our Teacher’s Pack, ‘A Visit to Hereford Cathedral’. The pack includes:

  • Information for teachers 
  • Preparation work for children
  • A trail to follow
  • Follow-up material for the classroom

For more details about our ‘Do-It-Yourself’ visit or for any other information, please contact the cathedral’s education officer, William Talbot-Ponsonby, on 01432 374256 or [email protected]