The Nave is the “main room” of the cathedral, and the first space you’ll enter from the front door.
Supported by a series of giant stone pillars, which are 6.6 metres round and 6.6 metres high, the nave’s vaulted stone ceiling towers 22 metres overhead and stretches nearly 150 metres long — a particularly impressive sight considering it was built over 1,000 years ago!
Where is this space?
The Nave forms the largest section of the cathedral, and is the view you are met with when you enter through the North Door.
How is it used today?
This is where most of our services are held today. Take a seat in one of the pews and reflect on the faith and history of the cathedral.
The Nave is open for exploration, a space where you can wander around and see sights including the famous Rose Window, the patterned columns soaring to the ceiling, and the font.
The Nave in the medieval monastery
Traditionally, the Nave was one of the few areas open to visitors. Today, you can see from the Nave and into the Quire, but, historically, the Quire was hidden from view, as a space where only the monastic community could take part in daily worship.
Changes over the past 500 years
The Nave largely looks the same as it did nine centuries ago. However, try to imagine it without seating. Instead of a place to sit and reflect, The Nave would have been used as a space for crowds to attend services or to walk in a procession.
Many of the stained glass windows around the Nave are relatively modern. During the 17th century civil war, Cromwell ordered for the windows to be smashed, so the windows you see today are from no earlier than 1869. If you look closely, you might notice that some of the windows are made up of the fragments left behind from the old windows.
Wheelchair users and visitors with limited mobility
The nave is fully accessible, with ramped access to all areas.
Toilets are located near the cathedral shop, which can be reached via a level route outside the building or via an enclosed platform lift from the nave.
Visitors with a hearing impairment
The information desk at the West End of the cathedral is fitted with an induction loop and interpretation panels with written information can be found around the Nave.
During organ tuning there will be frequent loud and sudden noises in the nave, which some visitors may find distressing. For more information on organ tuning please see the cathedral schedule.
The West End of the Nave around the visitor desk can be very busy and noisy during peak visiting hours.
Prayers are projected on the tannoy every hour.
Blind and partially sighted visitors
Light levels in the cathedral can be low depending on the time of day and year.
There are many things to touch and feel in the Nave, including a 3D wooden model of the cathedral, the patterned stone pillars, and Father Smith's carved organ case.