Frequently Asked Questions
- When can we visit?
The Cathedral is open to educational groups from 9:45am. You can visit all year, although there are obvious restrictions on Sundays, Christmas, Easter and other festivals such as St. Cuthbert’s Day. The Cathedral is a living church – please see the service schedules for further details.
NB No group bookings on Ash Wednesday and in Holy Week.
- How do I book?
All groups must book their visit. Please contact the Education Service on 0191 386 4266 between 9:00am and 1:00pm to arrange a date. We will provisionally book a date for you and send out a booking form for you to complete. Your booking is not confirmed until we have sent you a confirmation letter. At certain times of the year the Cathedral is very busy, so please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
- How much does a visit cost?
Please contact us for current educational group charges.
- What about adults?
All accompanying adults are free and we require all educational groups to provide a ratio of at least 1 adult to 10 children (this does not apply to group of students aged 18+). No pupils are to be left unsupervised in any area at any time.
- How do I pay?
Payment may be made at the Information Desk on the day of your visit or you may request to be invoiced. Cheques should be made payable to Durham Cathedral.
- Can I make a preliminary visit?
To make a preliminary visit please telephone the Education Office and we will send you a voucher to enable free entry to all our facilities (except CEDRIC). The Education Officer is also available to assist with planning, please telephone to arrange a meeting.
- Where can we eat lunch?
We have some lunch space in CEDRIC available free of charge. Alternatively you may eat in the Cloisters (but please respect other visitors). During the summer you may want to picnic on the riverbanks.
NB The seating is sometimes removed from the Cloisters for special services, etc.
- Are toilets available?
There are public toilets, including wheelchair accessible toilets in the Cathedral precincts. If you do not have a male member of staff to accompany the boys into the men’s toilets please take them into the ladies’ toilets – do not let children visit the toilet unaccompanied.
- Where can the bus drop us off?
Access for coaches to the Cathedral is prohibited. Passengers can be set down at the Walkergate slip road, or at the Coach Park at Freeman’s Place. Allow at least 15 minutes to walk up to the Cathedral. If you are bringing a group of children with mobility problems in a mini-bus please contact us and we will try to arrange parking nearer to the Cathedral.
- What about disabled access?
Please inform us of any special needs your group may have so that we can make your visit run as smoothly as possible.
Most of the Cathedral is accessible to wheelchair users. There is a ‘Touch and Hearing’ model of the Cathedral for use by people with visual impairment.
- Is there a shop?
The Cathedral shop sells pencils, erasers etc for children as well as books. We can also arrange goodie bags if you do not want to take your group into the shop – please contact us for more details.
- Do we need to bring anything with us?
Make sure you have a copy of your booking confirmation form with you – it gives details of the facilities you have booked and the times they are booked for you. Make sure that all your group leaders have a copy of this form.
- What is expected of the teachers?
Ultimately your group is your responsibility. Please do not leave your group unattended at any time (regardless of age). You are responsible for the behaviour and discipline of your pupils.
Please aim to be punctual; if your group is delayed for more than 15 minutes then it is at the discretion of the guide as to whether the tour/activity goes ahead and in what form (eg. a shorter tour/activity, introductory talk or a question and answer session). Please contact either the Education Service or the Cathedral to let us know if you are going to be late so that your guide is aware of the situation.
In the case of an emergency evacuation you should follow the instructions of the Vergers (in the Cathedral) or Education Staff (in CEDRIC). There are first aid kits in the Cathedral and in CEDRIC but medical responsibility can not be assumed.
- Can we do our own thing?
You still need to book a date for your visit. Guided groups have priority in the Cathedral over unguided groups. Also remember that you have access to more areas and resources if you book a guide.
- What about Risk Assessments?
You must carry out your own risk assessment; however you can download a copy of our Hazard Identification Sheet.
- Do you have resources I can buy?
See our Support Materials page for more information.