This weekend, Grandma (ie my Mum) has been visiting. Both of us attend church regularly and Mum wanted to go to evensong at Bristol Cathedral. I walked with her to keep her company, and we decided to go in and take a look around. As we approached via the beautiful College Green, I started to worry…although Tibbs was sleeping, was a Cathedral a place to take a baby sightseeing?
I realise how daft this sounds. Children are welcomed and treasured by all religions and places of worship. But does a babbling baby spoil the ambience for other visitors? One of the first votive candle altars was to Peace. No such thing with a crotchety child.
I find that churches are some of the most calming, awe inspiring buildings we have in England, and we’re very lucky in Bristol with the Cathedral, St Mary Redcliffe, and many others. There’s so much for a child to look at and experience from a sensory perspective, which is why I think they are so great for small babies.
I’m yet to be convinced that taking a gregarious toddler on a busy day would be awesome though.
From a personal perspective, I found there to be a lot of inspiration regarding motherhood in the Cathedral, from beautiful mother and child sculpture and children’s artwork, to sombre family memorials.
Parts of the Cathedral are from the 12th century. I found that incredible. Perched above the floating harbour, imagine the sights it has seen and the folk who have been in!
Tibbs was eventually woken from her nap by the organist practicing for evensong. I wouldn’t be being true to my 1970s sense of humour if I didn’t make a joke about the size of his organ. It. Was. Whopping. It made the building vibrate when it hit the low pipes.
Cafe 1542 wasn’t open when we visited, but I think it’d be a peaceful and welcoming place to stop for a cuppa and a baby feed.
It’s certainly not the first place most Bristolians would think of to take their young children, but I think, on a day of funny weather, a walk through town and across College Green to visit Bristol Cathedral might surprise you. Religious or not, there’s so much to look at and many, many places to just sit and be at rest. I recommend!