Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure opened at the Cathedral on Tuesday 13 July 2021 and in the first six weeks 106,681 people went to see the iconic 26m Diplodocus cast on display. The busiest day to date has been Saturday 7 August with 4,354 visitors.
Visitor numbers passed the 100,000 milestone at the same time as the Cathedral received a Travellers’ Choice Award 2021, recognition from Tripadvisor that the quality of reviews from visitors places the Cathedral in the top 10% of attractions worldwide.
Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure is being brought to Norwich Cathedral and visitors across the UK by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill. Norwich Cathedral is the eighth and final stop on the tour and Barratt and Cooke is the regional sponsor for the exhibition.
Ahead of the much-loved Jurassic giant arriving in Norwich, 1,725,762 people had already visited Dippy on his nationwide travels since he set off from the Natural History Museum in 2018.
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to hear that over 100,000 people have now been able to visit Dippy at the beautiful Norwich Cathedral. We hope that their visit will inspire them to explore nature on their doorstep and foster a new found respect for the natural world.”
In addition to more than 100,000 general visitors having already enjoyed the exhibition in Norwich Cathedral, a further 1,884 young people have visited Dippy on Tour with their school or with organisations including Guiding and Scouting groups. The Cathedral has also offered autism-friendly sessions and special times for looked after children to explore the exhibition and also for organisations including the intergenerational charity Friend in Deed and Vision Norfolk, which supports people living with sight loss and visual impairment.
More than 51,000 of the visitors have also taken time to explore Dippy’s home in the Norwich in greater detail and visited the Cathedral’s east end as well the Dippy on Tour exhibition in the Nave.
More than 2,250 people have enjoyed the wider Dippy events programme, with the most popular events to date being a sold-out film screening of ‘Paddington’ (in which Dippy makes a cameo appearance) and a sold-out talk called ‘Who was Dippy?’ by biologist, author and broadcaster Ben Garrod. Dino Tales, the Saturday morning storytime session for children, has also sold out almost every week and other events have included everything from organ recitals to drawing evenings with Dippy.
As well as giving people the chance to see a dinosaur cast up close, Dippy’s visit is also about encouraging people to engage with nature and to take action to help protect the planet for the future. The trees in the exhibition’s Refection Zone have so far had more than 6,000 leaves added with individual pledges from people – ranging from cycling to work every day to recycling more and using less water.
Seven of the 13 events in the Talkative Tuesdays programme have also taken place so far, putting the spotlight on topics ranging from the wild landscapes of Norfolk to science in medieval monasteries. Tickets are still available for the remaining six talks which include everything from priest and poet Malcolm Guite looking at the links between the poetic invention of dragons and the scientific discovery of dinosaurs to the Bishop of Norwich discussing whether the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 is a ‘cop out or a way to cope’. More details on the talks and how to book here.
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said: “We are delighted to have welcomed more than 100,000 people to the Cathedral in the first six weeks of the Dippy on Tour exhibition.
“It has been absolutely wonderful to see so many people of all ages enjoying visiting Dippy and also to see the many other dinosaur-related events taking place across the city. After such a challenging 18 months for everyone, it is brilliant that Dippy’s visit has helped to inspire such an exciting summer of prehistoric fun!
“Alongside the fun, our hope has always been that Dippy’s visit would also encourage important conversations about the environment, faith and science, and the future of our planet. The response to our Reflection Zone has been particularly heartening, with more than 6,000 people adding leaves to the zone’s trees and making their own personal pledges to help the environment, meanwhile our Talkative Tuesdays programme has led to many insightful talks and discussions taking place under the tail of Dippy.
“With two more months left of the Dippy on Tour exhibition, we look forward to welcoming many more people and really making the most of Dippy’s visit, so that the legacy of this unique exhibition will endure for a long time to come.”
The Dippy on Tour exhibition is at Norwich Cathedral until Saturday 30 October and, as well as seeing Dippy, there are also lots more highlights for people to enjoy including the chance to:
- Step back to the age of the dinosaurs in a time tunnel created by Norwich School and pupils from other local schools including Coltishall Primary School, Magdalen Gates Primary School, Avenue Junior School and White Woman Lane School.
- Learn about Norfolk’s deep history and take a closer look at fossils kindly loaned by Norfolk Museums Service.
- Walk through Your Waves Go Over Me, an immersive wave sculpture of 3,000 fish created by Norfolk-based artist Mark Reed to highlight the importance of water through the ages.
- Explore Norwich artist Rebecca Osborne’s illustrations looking at climate change and food sustainability.
- Visit the Reflection Zone and place a leaf on one of the trees with a personal pledge to help protect the planet.
- See the display of Green Hearts created by Norfolk WI members to ask us to show our love for our amazing planet and help combat climate change.
- Light a candle on the Cathedral’s Peace Globe and reflect on the world of today and tomorrow.
- Read poetry and prose by Norwich School students inspired by Dippy’s visit.
- Have fun spotting Dippy’s footprints in the Nave to find some of Dippy’s fellow dinosaurs and learn some facts about dinosaurs and Norwich Cathedral.
- Learn more about some of Dippy’s closest living relatives – birds – thanks to the Hawk and Owl Trust who have a stand in the Cathedral Close where people can find out more about the Cathedral’s peregrine falcons.
- Explore the Cathedral Quarter and have fun spotting 13 knitted prehistoric friends created by Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers for the Knit-o-saurus Trail.
Dippy took centre stage in the Natural History Museum’s Hinzte Hall for many years before embarking on the current UK tour.
The iconic 26 metre-long (84ft) giant is a plaster of Paris replica based on the fossilised bones of a Diplodocus found in 1899 by railroad workers in Wyoming, USA. At the time, newspapers billed the discovery as the ‘most colossal animal ever on Earth’ and the sheer scale of the Diplodocus, which roamed the planet 155 to 145 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period, continues to fascinate people the world over.
Dippy – whose replica skeleton features 292 bones (if his skull and jaw are counted as one) – was unveiled at the Natural History Museum in London in 1905 and was the first Diplodocus to go on display anywhere in the world. The original Diplodocus carnegii fossil on which he is based first went on display in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, USA, in 1907 and is still on display there today.
Since Dippy left his London home and embarked on his Natural History Adventure tour in 2018, he has visited Dorset County Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ulster Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, National Museum Cardiff and Rochdale’s Number One Riverside.
Dippy on Tour is at Norwich Cathedral until Saturday 30 October 2021. Entry is free and there is no need to book in advance (unless part of a group of more than six people), although people may need to queue during busy periods.
The exhibition is usually open 10am-4pm Monday to Friday, from 7pm until 9pm on Friday evenings and from 9.30am to 5.30pm on Saturdays. Visitors are advised to check the Cathedral website before visiting as there are sometimes changes to opening hours due to Dippy’s home in Norwich also being a busy working Cathedral.
The east end of the Cathedral will also continue to be open daily for general Cathedral visitors and those who wish to explore more of the Cathedral before or after they have seen Dippy.