The aim of this work is to present a series of concrete examples which
    illustrate how the computer algebra system Cadabra can be used to manipulate
    expressions appearing in General Relativity and other gravitational theories.
    We highlight the way in which Cadabra’s philosophy differs from other systems
    with related functionality. The use of various new built-in packages is
    discussed, and we show how such packages can also be created by end-users
    directly using the notebook interface.

    The current paper focuses on fairly generic applications in gravitational
    theories, including the use of differential forms, the derivation of field
    equations and the construction of their solutions. A follow-up paper discusses
    more specific applications related to the analysis of gravitational waves.

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