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York Minster had its highest visitor numbers on recent record in 2019, according to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today (Wednesday 15 July).
The cathedral welcomed 706,484 people to worship in and explore the sacred space last year, up 2% on 2018 and its best visitor numbers on record since it introduced new recording practices in 2011.
The news, which sees the cathedral rise four places to number 53 in ALVA’s annual survey of its UK members’ visitor numbers, comes as the Minster reopened its doors to sightseeing visitors this weekend for the first time since 16 March.
The cathedral has been welcoming visitors for private prayer since 16 June, and reopened for services on Saturday 4 July, following the ease in lockdown measures.
The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York, said: “Hospitality is at the heart of our life together at York Minster. We were delighted to welcome so many people from nearby and from around the globe in 2019 – our best visitor numbers on recent record.
“Although 2020 will look very different, we’re pleased to have reopened and are beginning to see old and new friends return. There are a thousand reasons to visit York Minster – all of them valid. Those making the journey to this magnificent sacred space will be made most welcome.”
It is thought the bumper visitor numbers in 2019 were due to a combination of the Northern Lights sound and light projection events which took place last October and were seen by 22,500 people, and the completion of the Great East Window in 2018.
The window, which is the largest single expanse of medieval stained glass in the country, and the stonework of the cathedral’s wider East End underwent a decade long conservation and restoration project, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, and were unveiled in May 2018.
The Minster is currently open for sightseeing visitors Monday to Saturday 11am to 4pm and Sunday 12.30pm to 2.30pm and has put a number of measures in place to help keep both its staff and visitors safe.
These include limiting the number of people inside by asking sightseeing visitors to pre-book tickets online, a one-way system to allow people to physically distance from one another, hand sanitizer points, additional cleaning measures and staff and clergy wearing face masks and visors to welcome people.
For further details about the cathedral’s opening times, safety measures or to book tickets click HERE
The full list of attractions and their figure are available HERE
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