Built in the late 11th to early 12th centuries to honour the relics of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede, Durham Cathedral is truly a magnificent sight to behold. Standing over 218 feet tall, this imposing structure is one of the finest cathedrals in Britain and dominates the Durham skyline.
What is Durham Cathedral like?
Durham Cathedral is a superb example of Norman Romanesque architecture. The awe-inspiring exterior only hints at what wonders you can find inside! Amble around grand pillars in the Nave and admire spectacular stone-work and craftmanship. Keep your eyes up too, as the grand vaulted ceiling is the oldest of its kind in the world.
You can learn more about the Cathedral’s extensive history by joining a guided tour or by meandering through the on-site museum. The museum is brimming with spectacular artefacts and interactive exhibitions for you to enjoy!
Film buffs and Harry Potter fans may recognise the magnificent medieval Cloisters. Here you can follow in the footsteps of the Monks who once lived here and snap some fab shots. Other highlights include the Rose Window, the 13th-century Chapel of the Nine Altars and Prior Castell’s clock.
Following recent restoration works, you can now brave the climb up the central tower. You must buy a ticket to do so and clamber up 325 steps to reach the peak. Though the reward of panoramic views over the historic city of Durham makes it all worthwhile!
After a full-on day of exploring and learning, treat yourself to a tea and slice of cake in the Undercroft Restaurant. If you’d like some fresh air, you are allowed to bring your food outside to picnic in the well kept Monks Garden.
As the cathedral dates back thousands of years, it is not wholly accessible. However, measures have been introduced to make it as accessible as possible. For example, it is mostly level and there is ramped access to and within the Cathedral. Some areas are accessible only via steps. However, this can be bypassed by using the cathedral’s Stairclimber.
There is disabled lift access to the Cathedral shop and restaurant, and there are two sets of accessible toilets. The information desks for the cathedral and museum are both equipped with induction loops for people with hearing impairments.
The city of Durham can be quite tricky to navigate, with cobbled streets, steep hills and narrow passages. There is little to no parking available by Durham Cathedral itself. Therefore, to get here, we recommend you hop aboard the Durham Cathedral Bus, which is wheelchair and pushchair accessible.
Furthermore, some 400 staff members at Durham Cathedral have trained to become Dementia Friends. This ensures that staff understand how dementia affects people and how they can best assist visitors with dementia.
For further information, please look to Durham Cathedral’s accessibility statement.
Further points of interest
If you want to explore the area’s history further, why not pop in Durham Castle for a fascinating tour or peruse Durham Museum? Both sites are only a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral and are a perfect way to round off a trip to Durham.