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Visit one of the twin towers overlooking the River Wear

A history of ups and downs

The Cathedral’s original western towers were small. They were later incorporated into the larger, almost square western towers built in 1217-26. They are also known as the North and South Galilee Towers.

Cut down to size

They were topped by 'great broaches,' or timber spires covered with lead. However these were removed in 1658.

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.

Also known as

The tower has had other names during its history, including the Galilee steeple and the North Galilee Tower.

See for yourself!

This year, for the first time in our history, the public will be able to climb the North West tower, and see Durham City from a new perspective.

Trips will run on Fridays and Saturdays at various times throughout the day. Please contact the Visitor Desk in advance to check availability on 0191 338 7178.



Adults: £5 per person

Children (8 - 18 years): £2.50

How to book

Booking can be made at the Cathedral Visitor Desk in person or by calling 0191 338 7178, between 9.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Saturday and 12.30pm - 4.30pm on Sunday.

Fitness levels

A reasonable level of fitness is required to climb the 137 steps.


Essential information about visiting the North West Tower

Children must be 8 years old and above as stipulated by our insurance company.

The tower may not be suitable:

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

There are no toilet facilities in the Tower.

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