Places to Visit: Durham Cathedral.

Places to visit:


Durham Cathedral. Directions and how to get to the cathedral can be found by clicking here.

Durham Cathedral is a Christian Church of the Anglican Communion, the shrine of St Cuthbert, the seat of the Bishop of Durham and a focus of pilgrimage and spirituality in North East England. We inhabit a treasured sacred space set in the natural and human landscape of the World Heritage Site.

Durham Cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in the North of England. It has a visible presence which is felt when approaching the city, and from every angle. Opening times for the cathedral, with times when it is open for prayer can be found here. The Historical Examiner has visited the cathedral numerous times, however, each visit stills inspires us. The cathedral’s importance for Durham is felt in every corner and section of this magnificant building.

Around the cathedral are many volunteers who are ready and willing to help those requiring information and guidance. They are easy to spot wearing their purple volunteer robes. Before visiting the cathedral it is well worth a look at the cathedral website as it offers a wealth of information about the history of the cathedral.

Originally built as a monastic cathedral for a community of Benedictine monks, Durham Cathedral boasts some of the most intact surviving monastic buildings in England. The Cathedral holds an annual Benedictine Week when there is an opportunity to explore in more depth the historical and living tradition of St Benedict, focusing on its expression at Durham Cathedral in the past and present. The Cathedral also served a political and military function by reinforcing the authority of the prince-bishops over England’s northern border. The Prince Bishops effectively ruled the Diocese of Durham from 1080 until 1836 when the Palatinate of Durham was abolished.

A recent addition to the cathedral complex and things to do and see at Durham Cathedral is the Open Treasure Exhibition. The cathedral claims that  Open Treasure gives visitors access to previously hidden spaces within the Cathedral’s magnificent Claustral buildings, showcasing the Cathedral’s collections so that they can be discovered and enjoyed by many more people of all ages. More information on the exhibition can be found here, and admission prices for the Open Treasure exhibition here.

Our verdict:

Durham Cathedral is well worth a visit. There are different exhibitions and plenty to see. We would advise those who are unstable on their feet or cannot walk too far to access the Cathedral bus that stops at the Market Place. The walk to the Cathedral is up steep hills and not for the faint hearted. However, once at Palace Green the view is like no other. The Cathedral complex is next to the Durham University’s Palace Green Library, and Durham Castle can be accessed from Palace Green. There are a number of rather pleasant  eating places, and cafe’s around Place Green, included the Undercroft in Durham Cathedral. These can get very busy at times. There is a well stocked shop next to the Undercroft restaurant in Durham Cathedral offering the usual selection of gifts and plenty of unique Durham Cathedral and local merchandise.

Parking in Durham can be an issue, however our suggestion is to use one of the three Park and Ride facilities around the city. They are cheap and easiest for access. Parking for any length of time in the city centre is expensive. Durham is a tourist city, but also a university city. During term-time the city is extremely busy so get to the cathedral early and you will have time to spend without too many people around. Allowing yourself two to three hours to do justice to the cathedral, although it can be done quicker, but you could miss some of the treasures, and the shrines of St. Cuthbert and Bede.

Images from the day:

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For more articles by Jane Scott click here.