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Arundel’s world-famous Carpet of Flowers at Arundel Cathedral, to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, takes places 29th & 30th May 2024. Details of the event can be found here

What is Corpus Christi?

Corpus Christi is Latin for ‘Body of Christ’. The festival is often called ‘Corpus et Sanguis Christi’, which means the ‘Body and Blood of Christ’.

This Roman Catholic, High Anglican and Western Orthodox festival celebrates the truth of bread and wine becoming the body of Christ during Mass.

When is Corpus Christi held?

This jubilant, celebratory festival is held on the Thursday (or following Sunday) after Trinity Sunday, which falls 60 days after Easter. Depending on the year, Corpus Christi falls between late May and the middle of June.

How is Corpus Christi celebrated in Arundel?

A Solemn Mass is held in Arundel Cathedral. A ‘Solemn’ Mass means the full ceremonial form of Mass, celebrated by a priest with a deacon and subdeacon, in which participants sing most parts of the Mass and incense is used. Solemn Mass can also be called High Mass or Solemn High Mass.

After this Solemn Mass at the Cathedral, Christ’s Body (Corpus Christi), in the form of bread, is carried in a procession, with hymns down the floral aisle, for the public to witness and share their belief in the true presence of Christ. Then, weather permitting, it carried through the streets of Arundel to Arundel Castle quadrangle, where the procession ends with a Benediction, or blessing.

Bishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor carrying the Blessed Sacrament in the castle quadrangle where Benediction takes place

The procession from the Cathedral to the Castle

Arundel Cathedral has an extraordinary and now world-famous way of celebrating Corpus Christi – the Carpet of Flowers.

Every year, a team of volunteers create a 90-foot floral carpet up the central aisle of Arundel Cathedral in just one day.

Every year, there is a different design theme, which is drawn out on paper before the thousands of flowers are laid.

The Corpus Christi Carpet of Flowers is free to visit, and you can also see the Cathedral’s beautiful stained-glass windows and soaring architecture. If you’re lucky, you will enjoy the Cathedral’s organ, which sounds like an orchestra in one instrument. 

How did Arundel come to host a Carpet of Flowers for Corpus Christi?

In 1877 Henry Fitzalan-Howard, the 15th Duke of Norfolk, who founded the church of Our Lady and St. Philip Neri, which became Arundel Cathedral, saw a carpet of flowers in the Italian village of Sutri, just outside Rome. This inspired him to introduce a carpet of flowers to Arundel. Nearly 150 years later, we still enjoy his wonderful idea.

The central aisle of the Cathedral in 1953

Where can I find Arundel Cathedral?

The striking outline of Arundel Cathedral frames our skyline and stands proud above the town. The Cathedral is on London Road (Yes, the old road to London!). Its postcode is BN18 9AY. You can put those details into your satnav, but once you arrive in Arundel, look up…you will find the Cathedral much faster that way.

Why are people allowed to walk on the carpet of flowers?

The flower carpet is designed to be enjoyed as a spectacle for two days. But it has a deeper meaning. The flowers pave the way for the King of Kings, as Christ is referred to in the Bible, to be carried by the Bishop during the Blessed Sacrament, the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ with bread and wine. The beauty of the flowers and the skill that went into designing and laying the carpet of flowers are sacrificed to God, acknowledging that He is the Master and Lord of all creation.

How can I contact Arundel Cathedral Office?

You can call 01903 882 297 or email

The office address is Cathedral House, Parsons Hill, Arundel, West Sussex. BN18 9AY

For more information about Arundel Cathedral, please visit:


Written by Barb Hogan, Visit Arundel
Photos by Charlie Waring, Nigel Cull and Arundel Cathedral