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Photograph: Nick Martin

Enjoy spectacular views of the historic city of Durham and the surrounding countryside by climbing our towers.

Make a climb up the towers the high point of your visit

Durham Cathedral's central tower reopens from Saturday 1 June, sponsored by Balwins Accountants. Conquer the 325 steps and enjoy unrivalled views over the historic city of Durham and see recently-completed restoration work up close.

Find out more about the central tower conservation work here.

The north west tower is a gentler climb at only 137 steps, and offers spectacular views over the world heritage site towards Durham Castle. It also offers the opportunity to get a closer look at the architectural detail of the central tower and the River Wear which curves around Durham City. 

Please note towers are open subject to weather conditions.

Safety restrictions

A reasonable level of fitness is required to climb both towers. Please wear reasonable footwear to climb the steps which are steep and narrow in parts. 

Further information about restrictions for climbing both towers can be found below.

A history of ups and downs

Durham Cathedral's towers have changed much in appearance over the centuries.

Restoration and renewal

A major three-year conservation project on the central tower finished in late 2018. The restoration work conserved and replaced weathered stone on the upper part of the central tower, completed entirely by our in-house team of around 8 stonemasons.

The fast-weathering sandstone used to build the towers means repair work has been common over the centuries. The central tower was rebuilt in the fifteenth century after lightning strikes, and victorian architects added a parapet to the central tower in the nineteenth century.

Ringing the changes

In 1553 there were four bells in the north west tower. However these were moved later in the 16th century to join the three bells in the central tower. Today the central tower houses 10 bells, which are regularly rung by our volunteer bellringers.

Prices

Tickets for both the central tower and north west tower are:
£5 adult
£2.50 child (8-17 years)

Opening times

Central tower: open Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm

North-west tower: trips run Friday and Saturday, usually 10.30am

How to book

Tickets are available from the visitor desk inside the cathedral.

To check when the tower is open over the next few days please call the visitor desk on 0191 338 7178, between 9.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Saturday and 12.30pm - 4.30pm on Sunday. Lines are busy during peak visitor times, so alternatively email visitor.desk@durhamcathedral.co.uk

Tickets for the central tower cannot be pre-booked or booked online. Tickets for the north-west tower cannot be booked online.

Important information

Climbing the central tower

Children must be 8 years old or older.

 

The tower may not be suitable:

  • if you have a medical condition such as a heart problem which may be exacerbated by climbing stairs. The central tower is 325 steps.
  • for anyone who is claustrophobic or frightened by heights.

 

There are no toilet facilities in this tower.

 

There is no smoking in or at the top of this tower.

 

Suitable footwear is required in the interests of safety. Visitors should not wear stilettos, flip-flops or have bare feet. Care should be taken if wearing backless shoes. There are uneven steps.

 

Large bags are not permitted.

 

If you feel unwell or uncomfortable at any time please tell a member of staff using the intercom at the top of the tower.

 

Durham Cathedral is not responsible for the loss of or damage to clothing or personal possessions.

 

Entry to the tower is subject to weather conditions on the day.

Climbing the north-west tower

Children must be 8 years old or older.

 

The tower may not be suitable:

  • if you have a medical condition such as a heart problem which may be exacerbated by climbing stairs. The north-west tower is 137 steps.
  • for anyone who is claustrophobic or frightened by heights.
  • for anyone who may be frightened by pigeons.

 

There are no toilet facilities in this tower.

 

There is no smoking in or at the top of this tower.

 

Suitable footwear is required in the interests of safety. Visitors should not wear stilettos, flip-flops or have bare feet. Care should be taken if wearing backless shoes. There are uneven steps.

 

Large bags are not permitted.

 

If you feel unwell or uncomfortable at any time please let the volunteer tower steward know as soon as possible.

 

As we do share the space with some resident pigeons, we advise that you refrain from putting your hands near your face and that you wash your hands after climbing the tower, especially before eating.

 

Durham Cathedral is not responsible for the loss of or damage to clothing or personal possessions.

 

Entry to the tower subject to the weather conditions on the day. Tower trips run according to the availability of volunteer tower stewards and can change at short notice.