Chester's new Cathedral at Height tourist attraction is due to open on Saturday in a welcome boost to the city's cultural offer.
Cathedral at Height includes the reopening of tower spaces which have been inaccessible for 1,000 years. A one-hour tour, priced at £8 for adults and £6 for children, will take visitors up 216 steps to the top of the 125-feet tower which becomes the highest accessible point in the city, with panoramic views of Chester and five counties.
The attraction formed part of the wider Cathedral Quarter masterplan which included creating a new square with the Cathedral at its centre as well as the potential for new buildings in the Diocesan grounds to the north of the cathedral at a later stage. However, the planning application for phase one of the external development, the square, was rejected in November 2011 by Cheshire West & Chester Council.
Cathedral at Height was funded by a £1.3m grant from the council. The tour also takes in the upper galleries and medieval bell-ringing chamber, with views of the 14th Century quire stalls and Victorian organ from above.
Works were completed by main contractor William Anelay and consultants Turner & Townsend, Donald Insall Associates, Ramboll UK, Bob Costello Associates and Robert Fowler Associates.
The project team was advised by Cathedral Fabric Commission for England, Chester Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee, Chester Renaissance, Chester Civic Trust and English Heritage.