Tour the Bell Tower at Washington National Cathedral

Where do you go to hear bells ring? If you’re at Washington National Cathedral, the walled Bishop’s Garden is the best place to experience the tintinnabulation. That’s where we found ourselves last Sunday morning, amiably wandering among the roses, boxwood, and splashes of seasonal color, when we met Mark Fitzpatrick. At the National Bell Festival, we’ll find any excuse to talk about bells, so with ringing cascading down from overhead, we invited Mark into the tower to see the bells up close.

Our very own Paul Ashe led the way into the 301-foot Gloria in Excelsis central bell tower. Once inside, Mark and Paul toured the Cathedral’s 53 carillon bells – the largest weighing over 24,000 pounds! The duo also met up with Rob Bannister, a ringer with the Washington Ringing Society. Rob shared amazing insight and anecdotes from the world of change ringing, and took Mark and Paul to see the additional set of 10 peal bells. 

Want to follow along on their adventure? Check out the video below! You’ll peek at the incredible architecture of Washington National Cathedral, learn about bells and the art of change ringing, and see some of the most expansive views of the Washington, D.C. skyline.


Meet Mark

Love gardens? Love plants? Then you’ll love Mark! Mark Fitzpatrick started Mark’s Garden Life to share his passion for gardening with the world. A lifelong avid gardener, he lives and works on a Maryland farm with a greenhouse operation. Through his immensely popular and entertaining video series, he shares his experiences, encounters, insights, triumphs, and failures while gardening in the nursery or on his half-acre vegetable plot. Field trips to amazing gardens and natural spaces, often with his trusty Rottweiler-sidekick Holly by his side, pack his YouTube channel with bushels of know-how and fun.

Cover image: Rob Bannister demonstrates the art of change ringing for Mark Fitzpatrick, using a model of a bell inside the Gloria in Excelsis bell tower at Washington National Cathedral.