What to Visit at Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is a working church and a major tourist attraction.
The building itself is of international significance and is commonly referred to as “the greatest example of Romanesque architecture in Europe” or as Bill Bryson puts it “the best Cathedral on planet earth.” It has internationally important collections of artefacts and books which represent a tremendous resource for interpretation and exhibitions as well as the tombs of St Cuthbert and St Bede.
Durham Cathedral is regarded as Europe’s greatest Romanesque building. Its origins date back to the first millennium when the Community of St Cuthbert settled in Durham. The current building was started in 1093 and took forty years to complete. It existed as a Benedictine Cathedral Priory until the dissolution in 1539 surviving as one of the Church of England’s major Cathedrals. In 1986 it was inscribed as part of the Durham World Heritage Site.
Architectural features include what is believed to be the world’s first structural pointed arch. It houses the Shrine of St Cuthbert and the Tomb of the Venerable Bede. There is stunning stained glass, a number of significant contemporary pieces of religious art, and has an internationally important collection of artefacts and rare manuscripts. The Cathedral’s origins predate the Norman conquest of Britain going back to the first millennium when the Community of St Cuthbert settled in Durham.
The Chapter of Durham is committed to free entry to Durham Cathedral. When you visit please donate as generously as you can so that free entry can remain.
Admission charges apply to the Cathedral Tower, The Monk’s Dormitory and for tours of the Cathedral. The Cathedral Shop and the Undercroft Restaurant are located off the Cathedral Cloisters and are usually open daily.
Please note that the Cathedral Shop is moving from the Monastic Great Kitchen to the Undercroft during 2012.
On a clear day see fabulous views of the City of Durham, the River Wear, County Durham and beyond. The Angel of the North can be seen facing the Cathedral.
There are 325 steps and the upper part of the stone spiral staircase is very narrow. To ensure the safety of all our visitors there is a minimum height restriction of 1.3 metres (4ft 3in) for those wishing to climb the Tower. All children must be able to climb independently (without being carried) and be accompanied by a responsible adult. There should be a minimum of one adult per two children. Anyone climbing the tower must have both hands free and all rucksacks and large bags must be left with the Cathedral Stewards at the bottom of the Tower.
The Tower is open year round (weather permitting) but is closed during Services and special events. With regret, there is no disabled access due to the nature of the narrow spiral staircase. The climb to the top can be strenuous and visitors do so at their own risk. Suitable footwear must be worn.
- Monday to Saturday (October – March)
- 10.00am - 3.00pm (last entry 2.40pm)
- Monday to Saturday (April – September)
- 10.00am - 4.00pm (last entry 3.40pm)
- 1.00pm - 2.30pm (last entry 2.10pm)
- during most services and events, and inclement weather.
- Adults £5.00
- Children under 16 £2.50
The Monks' Dormitory
A stunning example of a medieval rough-hewn timber roof, housing a collection of Anglo Saxon stones and part of the Cathedral Library. In medieval times it was the sleeping quarters of the monks.
If you are interested in using the library facilities, please see the library pages.
The Undercroft Restaurant
A wide range of homemade cakes and snacks are available all day. A lunchtime menu is served between midday and 2.00pm. Local produce and local ingredients are used whenever possible.
Open 10.00am to 4.30pm every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday.
The Restaurant can also be used for private functions outside of usual opening hours. It can cater for a wide range of occasions offering a variety of menus. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 386 3721.
The Cathedral Shop
The perfect place to buy a souvenir or gift for family and friends. The shop stocks a wide range of religious and theological books as well as church supplies.
- Monday to Saturday
- 9.00am - 5.30pm
- 12.30pm - 5.30pm
- 0191 386 8669