Durham Cathedral is commonly referred to as 'the greatest example of Romanesque architecture in Europe' or as author Bill Bryson puts it 'the best Cathedral on planet earth.'
Its origins date back to the first millennium when the Community of St Cuthbert settled in Durham. The current building was started in 1093 and took forty years to complete. It existed as a Benedictine Cathedral Priory until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 when it was designated as a Church of England cathedral. In 1986 it was inscribed as part of the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Architectural features include what is believed to be the world’s first structural pointed arch in the Nave. It houses the Shrine of St Cuthbert and the Tomb of the Venerable Bede. There is stunning stained glass, a number of significant contemporary pieces of religious art around the Cathedral. Chapel spaces include the Galilee Chapel at the west end, the Gregory Chapel in the North Transept and the Durham Light Infantry Chapel in the South Transept. The Chapel of Nine Altars is a 13th century addition, built to accommodate pilgrims in medieval times as they queued to enter the Shrine of St Cuthbert, which continues to be a focus of pilgrimage today. The Cathedral’s origins predate the Norman conquest of Britain going back to the first millennium when the Community of St Cuthbert settled in Durham. It continues to be a living place for worship and spiritual discovery.
Regular guided tours are offered most days.
Please enquire at the Information Desk at the West End.