Photography in Durham Cathedral

We welcome visitors, worshippers and pilgrims to the Cathedral and want everyone to be able to enjoy their visit. The Cathedral is primarily a place of worship and the Cathedral Chapter believes that all who visit should be able to do so undisturbed by use of other people’s cameras. This approach is widely welcomed by our visitors and therefore the Chapter of Durham Cathedral has adopted the following policy on photography in the Cathedral and precincts.

Photography is not permitted within the Cathedral. This includes use of still, digital and video cameras and mobile telephones. To assist visitors who would like to take pictures home from their visit, we have increased the range of postcards and electronic images that are available in the Cathedral Shop and hold regular photography evenings. For more information about our photography evenings, please contact or call 0191 386 4266.
Photography is not permitted within the Open Treasure Exhibition Spaces or within the Library. This includes use of still, digital and video cameras and mobile telephones. There a number of reasons for this which concern the conservation of the collections, issues relating to copyright and  safeguarding, and our aim to create the best visitor experience for exhibitions that include items of religious significance. Photography exposes objects to intense levels of light, and especially when a flash is used. Over time and repeated exposure, these levels can damage objects, most obviously by causing colours to fade but also through accelerating degradation of the material. Prohibiting photography means we can preserve objects for longer and allow more people to enjoy them. The Chapter of Durham Cathedral does not necessarily own the copyright for all of the objects on display (even if they form part of the Cathedral’s Collections). Photography in the exhibition spaces can have serious implications for safeguarding, especially when there are children visiting, and can disrupt the experience of other visitors, particularly in areas where religious relics are on display.
No photography is permitted in the Library reading rooms. The Cathedral Library Imaging Service can provide digital images, digital scans, and microfilm reproductions of material from the Cathedral’s collections. Please contact the Library for an order form, full price details, and terms and conditions – including information about copyright and permission to reproduce: or call 0191 3862489.
The Cathedral Chapter recognises that very occasionally some educational research may require specific images of the Cathedral and artefacts associated with it. As a result, photography permits for personal research only, may be purchased from The Cathedral Office (Monday - Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm) or the Vergers’ Vestry at the weekends.  Proof of academic status may be required and visitors who do not have a good academic reason for requiring a photograph are asked not to abuse this facility.  Where a permit is given, the following conditions apply:
- A fee of £15.00 (including VAT) per day is payable in advance for each photography permit
- Students will be charged £7.50 (including VAT) on production of a valid student ID Card
- The permit is for a designated day only
- No flash photography is permitted at any time
- Additional lighting can be used only by prior agreement and arrangement
- No children may be photographed unless the express permission of their parents or guardians has been obtained
- Photographers should make every effort not to include visitors, volunteers or Chapter staff in their photographs unless their express permission has been sought and received
- Photographers must ensure that their equipment does not impede visitor or staff access nor pose a threat to the health and safety of others in the Cathedral
- Photographers will be given a permit (a brightly coloured ‘sash’) and should wear this at all times
- There is to be no photography of worship, except by prior agreement, in order to protect the privacy of worshippers
- In order to comply with copyright and performing rights legislation, no sound recording may be made in conjunction with photography
- Photography must be for personal research use only, and these images cannot be published or used commercially in any medium including print, online and social media.

There is to be no commercial use of photographs taken in Durham Cathedral without a separate licence. See below for information about commercial photography. 

Stewards, Bedesmen and Vergers are responsible for ensuring that all visitors are aware of and abide by the Chapter’s policy and their instructions should be adhered to at all times. Their decision is final, even where this limits the scope of what is permitted.

Appropriate, non-commercial photography is permitted in the Cathedral Cloister. Please respect the fact that the Cathedral precincts are part of the church buildings and do not treat them merely as a backdrop for posed photographs.
Photographers should respect the privacy of others in the Cathedral precincts and must not include any children in their images without the express permission of the adult responsible for their care.

This is by prior permission only, including the taking of wedding photographs. Please contact the Marketing and Events team at
These can be obtained from in the form of postcards and illustrated guide books.  Please visit the Shop in person of contact  
Guide books are also sold at the Visitor Desk at the West End of the Cathedral. 

The Cathedral Library:  the Library has postcards of some of the Cathedral’s manuscripts and a large collection of master slides and photographs of buildings, artefacts and other specialist items, from which copies may be ordered. 
Some of the images are not held in stock and may need to be ordered. The Library is normally open from 10.00am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 4.00pm Monday to Friday except for Christmas and Easter.


Permits may be bought in advance and requests for all photography and filming should be made to: The Cathedral Office, The College, Durham, DH1 3EH (0191 386 4266) or
The Cathedral Library may be contacted on 0191 386 2489 or
The Chapter of Durham Cathedral reserves the right to deny or withdraw a photography permit at any time, or to withdraw general permission to photograph in the precincts.