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What's On

We are open to visitors

17 May 2021

Our doors are once again open to visitors in line with stage three of the Government’s easing of lockdown.  During lockdown the cathedral streamed services, offered limited in person worship, and we were open for a short period each day for private prayer and quiet reflection. Visitor and tourist related activities were put on hold.  From today we are open and look forward to seeing you. 

Visitors can marvel at the outstanding Romanesque architecture and stained glass; explore the medieval Cloister, a filming location in the first two Harry Potter films; climb the Cathedral Tower, purchase quintessentially Durham gifts in the Cathedral Shop, and enjoy a bite to eat in the Undercroft Restaurant, with seating options also in the covered Cathedral Cloister.  Al fresco picnic lunches (purchased from the restaurant or ready-made from home) can be enjoyed in the Monks’ Garden with its spectacular views of Durham City’s woodlands and riverbanks. 

Andrew Usher, Director of Visitor Experience and Enterprise at Durham Cathedral, says, “We have worked exceptionally hard behind the scenes to make sure the cathedral is safe and covid secure, as we prepared to welcome visitors. Staff and volunteers are excited to be able to greet people in person and we have had almost 400 members of the public on site. We look forward to seeing many more over the coming days and weeks.”

During lockdown Durham resident Gillian Broughton Willmore who worships at the cathedral, climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest on her home stairs. This is the same as 135 climbs of Durham Cathedral Tower.  Until last year Gillian was Chair of St John Ambulance in County Durham and her climbing endeavour was sponsored in support of St John Ambulance. In recognition of her achievement we invited Gillian to be the first person to climb the reopened Durham Cathedral Tower.  Gillian rehearsed on Sunday (16th May) when she was joined by Katherine Bell, St John Ambulance’s Cadet of the Year for 2020 who is also local to Durham.  

Gillian says, “It was a thrill to climb the tower today which has been closed since March 2020.  St John Ambulance is so happy the cathedral invited me to make the first ascent in recognition of my fundraising challenge. Money raised has supported the training of St John Ambulance volunteers to work in Covid vaccination centres across the country, 760 of whom are now volunteering at centres in the North East.”

There is no need to pre-book a visit, but those wishing to climb the tower or take a tour are advised to book in advance, as places are limited to keep to the rule of six. Full details of how to book, opening times and Covid safe procedures can be found on  Bookings can also be taken by calling 0191 338 7178.

Our museum reopens later in June.  More information will be announced here in due course. As we reopen visitors are asked to help safeguard the cathedral for generations to come by making a suggested donation of £5. It currently costs £20 per minute to run the cathedral and £5 of this is spent on the daily upkeep of the cathedral and its precinct. There is a charge for tours, admission to the tower and the museum when it reopens.

We say thank you to the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport who have made reopening possible with their generous grant support in recent months.