This paper explores visitor motivations at an English cathedral, and the role that heterotopia plays in their motives. More than a third of visitors to Chichester Cathedral appear to be motivated by a subconscious search for a spiritual experience, hidden by rational motives such as interest in history. It concludes by examining the management implications that arise from a potential lack of understanding about visitors' motivations. Cathedral managers should acknowledge their visitors' intrinsic sense of spirituality and recognise their spiritual motivations through interpretation, which should encourage them to explore their personal narratives around the emotional dimension of visiting a cathedral. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.