The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Helter skelter to be installed inside Norwich Cathedral 

A 40ft helter skelter fairground ride, a canvas labyrinth, a walk-in Bible and a blind trail will all be installed in Norwich Anglican cathedral next summer as part of a Seeing It Differently project.

It is believed to be the first time in the cathedral’s history that a fairground ride has been installed inside the building, and the hope is this rather unusual addition will give people the chance to experience the centuries-old space in a new way and open up conversations about faith.

Visitors climbing up to have a go on the ride will be treated to unique views of the Cathedral - including a closer look at its famous medieval roof bosses that depict stories from the Bible - and they will quite literally see things differently.

The helter skelter’s arrival in summer 2019 comes a year before Dippy, the Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus, visits Norwich Cathedral from July to October 2020 as part of a national tour. Norwich will be the last stop on Dippy’s travels and is the only cathedral included in the tour.

The Rev Canon Andy Bryant, Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care, said: “A cathedral may not be the natural home of a helter skelter but that is precisely part of the draw.

“We will be doing what cathedrals have always done: helping people see things differently and make connections with the things of God.”

Alongside the helter skelter, Seeing It Differently, from August 7 to 18, will also feature a number of other installations for people to experience:

Lie Down Look Up, in the east end of the Nave, will give people the chance to engage with the sheer scale of the building by lying down on yoga mats and looking up at the Cathedral’s ceiling and its roof bosses 69ft above.

A canvas labyrinth in the North Transept will offer people a space to walk, reflect, pray and consider things differently in their lives.

A Bible Box in the South Transept will invite people to literally sit inside the Bible and read it in a new way. Approximately 8ft by 8ft by 12ft, the box will feature all the words of the Bible written on its wall and ceiling.

A Blind Trail in the Cloister Garth will challenge people to trust their senses other than sight as they don a blindfold and navigate a special route designed to help them experience the world in a different way.

Special tours will give people the chance to find out more about the Nave and the Cathedral’s amazing collection of more than 1,000 medieval roof bosses that depict stories from the Bible and adorn the Nave and the Cloisters. 

Canon Andy added: “The helter skelter and all the other activities will be a way for visitors old and new to explore Norwich Cathedral in an entirely unique way and we hope people of all ages will enjoy taking part in the Seeing It Differently project.”

More details about tickets and opening times will be available nearer the time at www.cathedral.org.uk

Pictured above is an artist's impression of what the helter skelter could look like in the West End of the Nave. Credit: Annette Hudson/Paul Hurst/Irvin Leisure.

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