This weekend, St Albans Cathedral will celebrate the launch of its Lottery funded project, Alban Britain’s First Saint. The project greatly enhances the cathedral’s visitor experience and includes a new programme of events, welcome centre and exhibition area. A huge number of events take place over Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, giving visitors and the local community the opportunity to enjoy the new facilities.

The weekend kicks off with two events on Saturday, June 22 – St Alban’s Day itself. The Alban Pilgrimage takes place from 11am - a magnificent procession celebrating the city’s namesake and Britain’s first saint. Accompanied by people of all ages dressed as Roman soldiers, lions, angels and more, 12ft tall carnival puppets representing the key figures from the story of Alban take to the streets to re-enact the historic events which led to his execution.

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From 12pm, Alban Fest takes place on the Abbey Orchard in Verulamium Park – an afternoon of Roman-themed fun. Live Roman military demonstrations by the Ermine Street Guard, medieval pilgrim badge demonstrations, clay sculpting and music from the Maida Vales are just some of the free activities taking place. There will also be festival glitter and face painting and plenty of other crafts, games, food and music to keep all ages entertained.

These events are part of a wider Roman Festival taking place from Friday, June 21, to Sunday, June 30. Organised by St Albans Cathedral and funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the 10 day festival will feature events for the whole family – providing the opportunity to celebrate the city in which Britain’s first saint, Alban, lived. Local organisations involved include the Alban Street Festival, St Albans Film Festival, St Albans Folk Festival, St Albans Museums, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, the Roman Theatre of Verulamium, the Clock Tower and the Odyssey Cinema. Activities include Roman-themed film screenings and performances, food fit for a Roman army, fascinating talks and tours about St Albans’ Roman past and Toga Yoga on the Abbey Orchard.

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The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, said: “The city of St Albans is steeped in over 1,700 years of heritage, which includes the story of its namesake, Alban, a citizen of Roman Verulamium and Britain’s first saint. We are looking forward to welcoming people to celebrate our remarkable history.”

Katie Foweraker, Community Engagement Officer at St Albans City and District Council, said: “We are really pleased to be working closely with the cathedral on this year’s expanded Alban Festival. Our Alban Street Festival on the Sunday is part of it, with a large Roman-themed area this year, including an authentic Roman market and Roman mosaic and pottery workshops. The Alban Weekend is always extremely popular with thousands of local people and visitors coming in to the city to be part of it all. It’s a real highlight in the St Albans summer calendar, and not to be missed.”

It’s not just these great events that St Albans can enjoy - visitors can drop into the cathedral all weekend to see the cathedral’s rich history brought to life through new displays, trails, stunning audiovisuals and artefacts. Children can also enjoy a host of new activities, including brass rubbing, dressing up, explorer backpacks and more. The cathedral’s brand new welcome centre and café will also be open.

For more information and the full programme of events, visit