Cathedrals across the UK have been branching out with a series of unusual attractions — with Rochester Cathedral's crazy golf course now open.
A helter-skelter, lego exhibition and crazy golf course are not the latest additions to a theme park, but some of the unlikely new instalments at cathedrals across the UK.
In a bid to reinvigorate these ancient buildings and raise awareness, holy spaces have been transformed with less traditional attractions.
Rochester Cathedral recently opened a crazy golf course in its nave which will be open throughout August. The free nine-hole course was built in partnership with the Rochester Bridge Trust, which promotes engineering education — hence the many bridge-themed holes you’ll see below.
‘For over 1,400 years, Rochester Cathedral has been a centre of learning for the community,’ said Reverend Rachel Phillips.
‘By temporarily installing an educational adventure golf course we aim to continue that mission, giving people the opportunity to learn while they take part in a fun activity, in what for many might be a previously unvisited building.’
‘The course forms the centrepiece of a ‘Building Bridges’ theme running through the summer. As well as the physical bridge which has stood over the River Medway since Roman times, the invisible but equally historic links between the cathedral and the surrounding community are also bridges of a kind; we hope that, while playing adventure golf, visitors will reflect on the bridges that need to be built in their own lives and in our world today.’
Many have praised the cathedral’s originality while some have criticised the move, claiming it is an unsuitable use of a holy place. However, cathedral services have continued, with at least three per day, and the other areas of the building continue to provide quiet places for reflection and prayer.
Rochester is not the only cathedral employing unusual techniques to attract visitors.
Visitors to Norwich Cathedral will be able to enjoy a surreal helter-skelter ride within the nave of the historic building.
The summer instalment comes a year before Dippy, the Natural History Museum’s diplodocus, visits Norwich Cathedral as part of its national tour.
Meanwhile, Chester Cathedral is hosting a Lego exhibition, entitled The Deep. The display features marine life built with Lego bricks, including a shark, giant squid and angler fish.
The exhibition aims to educate children and families about the diversity of life in the ocean, and the major environmental issues that threaten their existence.
The architect who created the red telephone kiosk and the London power station today occupied by Tate Modern also designed