cathedral towers

In 1093 the foundations of Durham Cathedral were laid.

40 years later the magnificent structure – which has been voted Britain’s best building – was complete and has dominated the City’s skyline ever since.

Durham Cathedral is a Christian Church of the Anglican Communion and the seat of the Bishop of Durham. It has featured prominently in the history of Christianity and together with Lindisfarne Priory, Auckland Castle and other notable institutions, forms part of the Christian heritage visitor trail in north-east England.

The Cathedral is a place of worship, welcome and hospitality. There are 1,700 services a year and a busy programme of special events, exhibitions and learning. Through the services it provides and the large and diverse community with which it engages, the Cathedral plays a significant role in the economic, social and cultural life of Durham City and the wider North East region.

Around 600,000 people visit the Cathedral each year, including over 20,000 young people through its education and outreach activities. Its active participation in celebratory projects, such as the highly acclaimed light festival Lumiere, only serves to broaden its relevance to contemporary society and to encourage greater numbers of people to walk through the formidable North Door.

Durham Cathedral is committed to working with its World Heritage Site partners and strategic partners, such as Durham University, Durham County Council and Visit County Durham; on a shared remit to service the needs of the local community and to promote Durham to audiences around the world.

The Cathedral is governed by Chapter with oversight from the Cathedral Council and the College of Canons. It employs 107 paid staff and is supported by a team of 580 dedicated volunteers.

Durham Cathedral is an exempt charity. Exempt charities are those which the Charities Act 2003 (amended 2006) exempts from a number of its provisions, including registration with the Charity Commission. This means that although a charity, Durham Cathedral has no registered charity number. Like all Cathedrals, Durham Cathedral reports to the Church Commissioners for England, and is fully compliant with relevant aspects of UK law.