Guidance on visiting with children
Durham Cathedral is a living church. It is a good idea to talk to the children before your visit about what a church is for and what happens in a church. This will help them to consider how they should behave in the building. We do not expect the children to be totally quiet, but there are areas of the cathedral and times of the day when it would be inappropriate for them to be too noisy.
Men are asked to remove their hats when entering the Cathedral (as a mark of respect) and we ask that boys do the same.
As you enter the Cathedral your children will almost certainly say “Wow!” (Even the older ones who can’t believe they have said something so uncool). Find a space away from the door and take a couple of minutes to ask them why they said “wow” – it is a good way to get their first impressions of the building and to set the scene for the visit. It will also encourage the children to think about how the Cathedral makes them feel. This only needs to take two or three minutes but will form the basis for the way the children view the visit.
After you have considered the ‘wow factor’ someone from the group needs to go to the Information desk and let the stewards know that you have arrived. They will either take payment for your visit or arrange for you to be invoiced. The stewards (in blue gowns) are there to help you so don’t hesitate to ask them for directions. Your guide, if you have booked one, will usually be in a red gown and wearing a badge.
Please remember to read your booking confirmation and make copies for the other group leaders as this has the times of tours, other facilities you have booked etc. Please also ensure that all group leaders have copies of the plan of the Cathedral so that they know where everything is – it saves a lot of time on the day! A plan of the Cathedral showing the location of the Education Centre can be downloaded from these pages.
As we have already said, Durham Cathedral is a living church and many people come to pray. If someone is sitting quietly in a pew please do not stop too close to them to talk to your children.
St. Cuthbert is buried in the Feretory behind the High Altar. This is one of the most special parts of the Cathedral and we ask people to respect it by avoiding talking in the Feretory (children are usually much better at observing this rule than adults!).
Durham Cathedral is an ancient building and can have many hazards. We recommend that you make a preliminary visit (you can have free access to most of the facilities if you book your prelim visit through us) and you must carry out your own Risk Assessment. You can download a Hazard Identification Sheet to assist you with this.