Durham Cathedral and its surrounding buildings were mostly constructed between the 11th and 14th centuries to meet the demands of the Cathedral's medieval monastic community.
Where possible parts of the site have been made fully accessible, but due to the nature of the site some areas are not fully accessible to all visitors. We are aware that some visitors may need advice to make the most of their visit. If you do have specific needs and would like advice ahead of your visit please contact us in advance.
Further details about accessibility to Durham Cathedral and Open Treasure are given below.
A downloadable and printable copy of the accessibility information can be found here.
GETTING TO THE CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral is situated at the top of a steep hill. Durham City Shopmobility provides battery-operated scooters and a minibus service - contact 0191 386 8556 to find out more.
Durham Cathedral Bus, under contract to Durham County Council, offers a ‘hop-on, hop-off’ service between the bus station, railway station and city centre every 20 minutes from Monday to Saturday (not on a Sunday). For further information call Traveline on 0871 200 2223 or www.traveline.info or visit the Council website: http://www.durham.gov.uk/article/1974/Durham-Cathedral-Bus
There is no general public parking close to the Cathedral. We have very limited parking behind the Cathedral which may be available to single vehicles displaying a disabled badge. We are unable to reserve the disabled parking and the space is available on a first come, first serve basis. On arrival, please contact the duty porter who will endeavour to accommodate people with disabilities.
Please note, if you do access the Cathedral peninsula by car you will need to pay the Durham County Council daily congestion charge of £2.00, payable when using the road between 10.00am and 4.00pm. All vehicles that enter or exit the clearly defined zone during its hours of operation must pay the charge unless they qualify for an exemption.
The charge must be paid before 6.00pm on the day the road is used. Payment can be made at the Parking Shop (Suite 1, Forster House, Forster Business Centre, Finchale Road, Framwellgate Moor, Durham, DH1 5HL) or by telephone (0191 384 6633).
If you don't pay the charge by 6.00pm on the day the road is used, this will result in a £50.00 penalty charge notice becoming payable by the registered keeper of the vehicle.
Please visit the Durham County Council website for more information.
ACCESSIBILITY WITHIN THE CATHEDRAL
Access to the Cathedral is mostly via ramps. Access to the Cathedral Shop, Undercroft Restaurant and Toilets is by steps or by an enclosed platform lift. A level route is also available, although this requires leaving the Cloister and following a route outside the main building.
Within the Cathedral Church, the Chapel of Nine Altars, the Gregory Chapel and the Shrine of St Cuthbert are only accessible via stairs.
Our Volunteer Stewards are able to provide general assistance if necessary, including orientation around the site and information on the Cathedral.
Toilets: There are accessible toilet facilities on the Cathedral site.
SERVICES AND EVENTS
Please note that certain areas of the Cathedral may not be accessible during services and events. For regular service times please see the Worship and Music section of our website. For events and special services, please visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/whatson
Public tours of the Cathedral itself are available every day and usually last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. For times please visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/visit/tours
(Please note, these tours do not include Open Treasure).
Please note, access to the Nave, East End of the Cathedral and the Bell Chamber will be restricted from Tuesday 28 June - Friday 1 July due to Durham University congregation ceremonies.
ACCESSIBILITY WITHIN OPEN TREASURE
The development of Open Treasure has given us an opportunity to improve the accessibility of the Cathedral’s medieval buildings and introduce more accessible interpretation. This remains an on-going process and we continue to seek feedback from staff, volunteers and visitors about their experiences.
ACCESSING THE EXHIBITION SPACES
The entrance to Open Treasure is via stairs up to the Monks’ Dormitory . There is also an enclosed platform lift at the entrance to the exhibition for visitors unable to climb the stairs. The two main galleries are not at ground floor level so there is no level access route through Open Treasure. The lift and exhibition spaces are unable to accommodate motorised scooters.
(The lift is 1.4m deep, and 1.1m wide, with a door width of 90cm)
There is a further enclosed platform lift at the end of the Collections Gallery to take visitors back down to ground floor level.
There are also a number of benches located throughout the Open Treasure exhibition experience for visitors who wish to stop and rest.
Toilets: There is one accessible toilet within Open Treasure. The main Cathedral toilet block also has accessible toilets.
VISITORS WITH A VISUAL IMPAIRMENT
The majority of the exhibition is text based. Gallery attendants and volunteer stewards will be based within the spaces and can explain and give information about exhibits.
There are some tactile exhibits within the exhibition, as well as scents and music.
A large print version of the text is available.
Descriptive and touch tours of Open Treasure will be available. Dates will be announced in advance and booking will be essential.
At the current time, there is no audio guide available for Open Treasure.
VISITORS WITH A HEARING IMPAIRMENT
Induction Loop: The desks at the West End of the Cathedral and in Open Treasure are both fitted with induction loops.
British Sign Language: Tours of Open Treasure in British Sign Language will be available. Dates will be announced in advance and booking will be essential.
Assistance Dogs: Guide dogs, hearing dogs and support dogs are welcome in Open Treasure and in the Cathedral.