CARLISLE Cathedral has hailed a new chapter in its history after a landmark building project was finally completed.

Over 15 years since its conception, work on the Grade I listed Fratry area of the Cathedral was completed on Friday and they are looking at opening the Pavillion cafe on July 8.

The £3.4m project has been made up by a £1.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the rest has been raised through the fundraising by the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral, grant-making trusts, donations by members of the public and events at the cathedral.

The project aims to bring Fratry building back-to-life, with an education and events space.

The Fratry and Undercroft will be a cultural hub, exhibition and events space.

The project wants to realise the cathedral’s vision as a place of discovery, celebration and challenge.

Dean of Carlisle, the Very Revd Mark Boyling said: “We’re delighted that the Cathedral will shortly reopen its doors and welcome visitors and worshippers again.

"Now is an exciting stage in our 900-year history.

"Great work has been done over the last few months to complete our major building project and we are confident that people will be thrilled by what they see and experience here. The refurbished Fratry building looks magnificent.

“We'll be taking every care to make sure everyone feels safe.

"Our message to all our visitors is ‘Respect the rules and guidance, protect yourself and others, and enjoy your visit to this very special place.’

“We hope that the Cathedral will remain a beacon of hope for those in the North-West in what are still uncertain times.

"We will be offering a warm welcome to everyone, whether they are looking for quiet reflection or to explore our unique history.”

Adam Bewley, head of visitor services at the cathedral said: "The completion was last Friday, obviously we have to do some cleaning up to do and we are putting things together to make it look like a cafe.

"There will be seating inside for 40 people, together with seating outside for another 40.

"When lockdown gets more relaxed we could increase it."

The cathedral will also reopen for worship on Sunday July 5, at 10.30am.