Year of Mercy Pilgrimage -- Long Eaton to Nottingham Cathedral

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St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

199 Tamworth Road

NG10 1DH

United Kingdom

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Information last updated 24th May 2016

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invites us to make a pilgrimage to pass through one of the Holy Doors as a sign of our repentance and recommitment to a life of faith.

On Thursday 26th May 2016, pilgrims will set out from Long Eaton, some of them on foot, some by public transport, some by car, and perhaps also some by cycle, to St Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham. After entering the Holy Door, we will be given a tour of the cathedral, and also a tour of the Little Company of Mary Heritage Centre.

The people who run those tours limit the numbers for safety and logistical reasons, so if you want to be part of our parish pilgrimage, you must obtain a free pilgrim pass — just click the REGISTER button on this page, and you will be guided through the registration process.

Our route will take us from St Francis, via Oakley's Road and Meadow Lane, to the footpath across Trent Meadows. From there we will follow first the River Trent and then the Beeston Canal into Nottingham.

The walkers will arrive in time for lunch at The Company Inn, the Wetherspoons pub at Castle Wharf. You may if you prefer take a packed lunch to eat beside the canal, or choose to buy a meal at one of Nottingham's many other fine hostelries.

After lunch the walking pilgrims (and other pilgrims who joined them for lunch) will continue to the Cathedral, to assemble in front of the Cathedral door by five minutes to two, ready for our Cathedral guide to meet us.

If you are taking part by car, cycle, or public transport, you may join the walking pilgrims for lunch at 1225. This map (link opens in a new window) shows the five minute walk from the Brewhouse Yard Museum bus stop (stop LE43, served by Skylink and Indigo buses from Long Eaton). Drivers and cyclists will need to find a safe place to park; there is no car parking, not even for disabled drivers, in front of the pub, but there is a multi-story car park nearby and there are some pay and display parking spaces on Castle Road. Please arrive in good time — you can welcome the walkers into the pub!

Alternatively, if you are travelling by public transport, cycle, or car and prefer to make other arrangements for lunch, you may instead meet the other pilgrims at the Cathedral door on Derby Road at 1355.

TIMINGS ( * = approximate)

  • 0830 St Francis church opens
  • 0845 Service of blessing for the pilgrims
  • 0900 Walking pilgrims depart
  • 1020* Walking pilgrims twenty minute coffee stop at Beeston Marina café
  • 1140* Walking pilgrims ten minute rest stop (bring your own snacks/water)
  • 1225* Walking pilgrims arrive at The Company Inn, where other pilgrims may join them for lunch
  • 1335 Walking pilgrims, and other pilgrims who joined them for lunch, depart The Company Inn
  • 1355 All pilgrims assemble at the Cathedral door on Derby Road
  • 1400 Tour of the cathedral begins, and is followed by a tour of the Little Company of Mary Heritage Centre.
  • 1630 Holy Mass in the Cathedral
  • 1715* The end of the pilgrimage


Will I be able to walk part of the way, by joining the walking pilgrims at an intermediate point?

Yes. You could join at one of two points.

  1. Beeston Marina Café. Arrive in time to wait for the walking pilgrims when they arrive at about 1020. The walkers will not wait for you if you are not there before they set off after their break. Here is a map (link opens in a new window) showing the two minute walk from the Marina bus stop served by Trent Barton service eighteen, and here is an itinerary (link opens in a new window) showing the journey from Long Eaton by train and bus.
  2. Lenton Lane Canal Bridge. Arrive in time to wait on the towpath for the walking pilgrims when they arrive at about 1200. The walkers will not wait for you if you are not there when they pass that point, so aim to be there ten minutes in advance. Here is a map (link opens in a new window) showing the five minute walk from the Abbey Bridge bus stop served by Trent Barton Skylink.

Will I be able to leave early to get back to Long Eaton by 4pm for another commitment I have that day?

Yes. The Cathedral tour is expected to last about an hour, so you could leave between that tour and the Heritage Centre tour. If you become anxious about time, you may leave the Cathedral tour at any point (just let someone know you're going).

How much walking is involved?

Pilgrims on foot will walk for about four and a half hours to get to Castle Wharf in Nottingham, then another twenty minutes to the Cathedral. All pilgrims will spend a couple of hours on foot during the tours of the cathedral and the heritage centre. Seating is available in both those venues.

Can I view the route on Google Maps?

Yes. Be aware that its time estimate is ambitious; a reconnaisance party discovered the walk takes longer than Google expects.

Can I download a gpx file of the route?

Yes. You can download a gpx file to use with compatible mapping software, or to use with a compatible navigation device or app.

Has the date changed?

Yes. We had a confirmed booking for 12th May, but sadly Cathedral staff informed us that they did not, after all, have the capacity to go ahead with our tour on that day. 26th May is the new date they offered us instead.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

Pilgrims under 18 require parental permission to take part. Pilgrims under 16 need to be accompanied by a parent, or by a responsible adult approved by a parent.

What are my transport or parking options getting to St Francis?

There are some on street parking spaces near St Francis church, from where the pilgrimage will depart. There are frequent buses serving the church, and you will find the interactive map at the bottom of the page a good resource for planning your journey. If you're cycling to St Francis then walking to Nottingham, you can secure your bike to one of the racks in front of church (there's space for eight cycles).

Are the foot pilgrims going to walk back to Long Eaton after the two tours in Nottingham?

If it's a lovely evening you might choose to walk back, and you may find one or more of the other pilgrims might want to join you -- but that's not what's planned. Bring some money for bus or train fare for the return to Long Eaton. £5 should be enough.

How much will lunch cost at The Company Inn?

There are a number of options costing less than £10, but you can spend more than that if you want to splash out. You can view their menu here (opens in a new window), but they don't list their prices!

Can I take part if I'm not a Catholic?

Yes! You'd be welcome to join us. If you prefer not to stay for Holy Mass at the end of the day, that's all right; nobody will take offence. If you do stay, then when those Catholics who may do so receive communion, your options are just the same as those Catholics who may not receive communion - you can choose either to stay in your place at communion time, or to join the line for communion and indicate to the priest that you wish to receive a blessing.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

You can speak to Fr Martin after Holy Mass next time you are St Francis.

What about people who don't have access to the web?

There are a few pilgrim passes held back for parishioners who do not have internet access. Or you could book on behalf of someone, using your email address and their details (remember to include their phone number).

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St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

199 Tamworth Road

NG10 1DH

United Kingdom

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