“ The present Cathedral has stood on this spot as a place of prayer and pilgrimage for over 900 years. „
"I paused upon the bridge, and admired and wondered at the beauty and glory of this scene...it was grand, venerable, and sweet, all at once; I never saw so lovely and magnificent a scene, nor, being content with this, do I care to see a better." -- Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne pretty much sums up my thoughts on the wonderful Durham Cathedral. He speaks of seeing a magnificent scene upon crossing a bridge, but the wonderful thing is that given Durham cathedral's size it is visible from pretty much the entire city. This constant view of the cathedral makes it feel like a privilege to be living in such a wonderful city.
This world heritage site is the home of the Anglican Bishop of Durham and the current building has been situated here since 1093. Its architecture is purely stunning and is oft regarded as the finest example of Norman architecture in the world. The elaborate architecture means that every visit will reveal something previously unnoticed and undiscovered, and it is this fact that makes it a pleasure to sit in.
There are daily services in the cathedral, but the highlight is almost certainly the annual Christmas carol service which sees some 4000 people filling the building. Even if you are not religious there is still plenty of history to marvel at and architecture to admire. Students of the university have access to a quaint library stacked high with leather clad volumes. Tourists can pay a small fee to climb the tower and experience 360 degree panoramas of the surrounding city. There is also a little cafe in the vaults where you can enjoy a bite to eat.
Having travelled the world and seen many cathedrals I can safely say that Durham cathedral is my favourite cathedral in the world.
The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, otherwise known simply as Durham Cathedral is in the city of Durham, in North East England. The cathedral is thought to be one of the finest examples of Norman architecture and because of this has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the Castle which is opposite the Cathedral just cross Palace Green.
The Cathedral was built on a peninsula of land created by a loop in the meandering River Wear and the west end towers over the gorge. The northern front of the Cathedral faces onto Palace green and from here you can get a view of the entire 143 metres of this building which is an imposing sight. The view from the air shows this view to perfection but I only experienced this in a postcard as we did not have access to a small plane or helicopter!
Because of this it is now a major tourist attraction (over 600,000 visitors every year) for people visiting the North east of England but as well as being a tourist attraction this is also a working church with almost 1,700 services and events each year, it is also a Cathedral, which means it is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Durham Diocese. However, you don't have to be a Christian to visit and enjoy this wonderful Cathedral, anyone is welcome to enjoy and experience the magnificence of this historic building.
OPENING TIMES AND PRICES
Opening hours: Mon - Sat 9.30am - 5pm
Sun 12.30 - 5.30pm (evening opening is extended to 8pm from Sat 18th July to Mon 31Aug )
The Cathedral is open most days but occasionally services and events may close the Cathedral to visitors so they do suggest if you are coming from a long distance away specifically to visit the Cathedral that you check directly with them that the cathedral is open on that day and time. The day we visited there were a lot of boxes everywhere and recording equipment was being set up for a recording session with Sting. It did detract a little from some parts of the building but we warned of this when we contacted them.
Entry to the Cathedral is free but they do ask that you contribute something in the various collection boxes as it does cost £60,000 a week to maintain the Cathedral and other buildings as well as their ministry and missions and the Cathedral receives no financial contribution from the state for these expenses.
A POTTED HISTORY
The building of Durham Cathedral was started in 1093 and virtually completed in 40 years, which when you consider the craftsmanship and lack of JCBs and other heavy lifting equipment at the time is a stunning achievement . It is the only cathedral in England to still have intact almost all of its Norman craftsmanship, and it also still has virtually the same shape and size as its original design which is also quite unusual for cathedrals because of the turbulent history of the church over the years.
The cathedral was built as a place of worship; it was the home of a Benedictine monastery until 1540 and also held the shrine Saint Cuthbert, which pilgrims came to Durham to visit from all over England. St Cuthbert was a monk and an inspirational leader of the monastery on Lindisfarne (Holy Island) where he died in 687.
In 875, the monks of Lindisfarne fled the island because of Viking raiders taking with them their most precious treasures, including St. Cuthbert's miraculously preserved body and the illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels. In 995, the Lindisfarne monks found a safe, easily defended position above the River Wear, in Durham and the rest is history, as they say.
Like all English cathedrals Durham had periods of history when things were quite turbulent and parts of the building were destroyed or damaged. During the Civil War in 1650 the Cathedral was closed and used by Cromwell to hold 3,000 Scottish prisoners. However with the Restoration in 1660, the new bishop of Durham, John Cosin, refurbished a lot of the damaged cathedral which included the carved woodwork in the quire ( choir area).
There was further destruction and rebuilding in the 18th century and in the nineteenth century many of the beautiful stained glass windows were added as well as the Scott screen in the crossing.
One of the most influential changes or introductions to the Durham was in 1832 when the Bishop of Durham and the Cathedral Chapter founded Durham University .
In the twentieth and twenty first centuries no major building changes have taken place as they have concentrated on conservation and the purchase of some contemporary art.
OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO ME:
The building as a whole is particularly beautiful in its setting on the river Wear near the castle.
The Sanctuary knocker:
The great bronze lion knocker on the door is actually a replica and the original is in the Cathedral treasury but it was used by those seeking sanctuary in the church to awaken the watchmen who slept in a room above the north door entry. OnCe through these huge doors you are in nave and here you can find a number of helpful guides or leaflets and guide books should you want one.
The nave :
Here you can see massive carved stone pillars which are almost 900 years and are 6.6 meters around and 6.6 meters high. They are quite imposing and interestingly Durham was the first cathedral in Europe to be fitted with this stone rib vaulting and it has the earliest pointed transverse arches in England. This has a very traditional cathedral feel about it because of the huge stone pillars and arches it just gives off an aura of strength and majesty.
There is a long, narrow slab of stone in the floor which apparently shows the point where women had to stay behind up until the mid-16th century I had no idea that churches were segregated in this way in the Christian religion until we were told this on our visit.
There are some lovely, mainly Victorian stained glass windows in the nave including an abstract one of the Last Supper and one known as the Daily Bread window but my personal favourite was the Rose Window which was a bit like the famous Rose Window in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I think it is a combination of the round shape and colours that I find so appealing.
The Quire (Choir):
These stalls are beautifully, finely carved and made of wood and they were built in the 1660s and replaced the original medieval ones. Daily services take place in this area as well as being used for choirs in bigger events and services.
The Bishop's throne:
The Bishop of Durham uses this 14th Century seat the first time he comes to the cathedral, but after this he sits near the chancel screen.
The Shrine of St. Cuthbert:
This sacred shrine which is behind the high altar was in the Middle Ages a place of interest visited by pilgrims and remains a sacred site today as it is the shrine of St Cuthbert who I mentioned earlier was the inspirational leader of the monastery of Lindisfarne and is the most popular saint in the North of England.
In medieval times the shrine was ," made of beautiful, costly green marble, and gilded with gold. There were four seats or places, below the shrine, where pilgrims and others, especially the sick or lame, might lean or rest as they knelt and made their devout offerings and fervent prayers to God and holy St. Cuthbert for his miraculous relief and help. "
Prior Castell's Clock:
In the south transept there is a very unusual clock which has 48 minute markings and originally only had one hand. This wonderfully original clock was the only wooden item in the cathedral to survive the Civil War when the Scottish prisoners were held in the cathedral. It is said that the Scots left it unharmed as it has a thistle as part of its decoration but no-one will know if this is true or just a story as it was so long ago and I doubt that it was recorded in writing at the time.
The Central Tower :
This tower was rebuilt between 1465 and 1490 and can be climbed for an extra cost both financial and in expenditure of energy. There are 325 steps and the price is £3.00 for adults and half that for children. My friend was not keen so we did not get to experience the views that were the reward for the climb which is a shame but maybe on another visit I will be able to enjoy this experience.
My daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan and so I was especially interested in seeing the cloisters of this cathedral as they were used in the Harry Potter films as part of Hogwarts School. I really enjoy finding places that have been used in films so this was a bit of a bonus. They are indeed very beautiful in their own right and surround a green lawned area and within this area you can find the Bookshop which itself it quite charming and used to be the Great Kitchen with an unusual octagonal vaulted stone ceiling and the shop is worth a visit just to see this ceiling.
The Undercroft Restaurant and cafe is quite a nice atmospheric cafe as it is in the Undercroft but caters for a reasonable number of visitors. We were there in September 2009 but I'm not sure how crowded it would get in the summer around lunch time. We enjoyed a coffee and while sipping our coffee I enjoyed looking at the Bookcrossing shelf and found another book (recently reviewed 'Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro ) to read which was great as I had just finished the book I had taken with me.
The gift shop which was next to the cafe and also in the under croft sold the usual postcards and various gifts. It did have a couple of nice jigsaws of the cathedral but as we have about ten still to do I resisted the temptation and only bought a few postcards as you are not allowed to take photos of the inside of the cathedral. You have to go through a very narrow corridor to get from one part of the shop to the other, the setting of the shop I found more interesting than the things it was selling but that is probably just me as I am not a souvenir buyer or big collector of things.
The Treasury Museum for which there is an admission price is just opposite the cafe but we did not go in here so I am not sure what treasures lie within. The prices however are: Adults - £2.50, Children - £0.70p, Family ticket - £6.00, Concessions/groups - £2.00 and the opening times are Monday to Saturday 10.00 - 4.30 and Sundays 2.00 - 4.30.
The cathedral library and Monk's Dormitory:
This is part of the cathedral complex in the original monk's sleeping quarters and houses a huge number of original and ancient texts and manuscripts. The library is used by students and scholars and is looked after by employees of the university. It also has a collection of Anglo Saxon crosses and parts thereof from various churches in the North east of England. I enjoyed just looking at the wonderful high wooden beamed ceiling and absorbing the atmosphere of texts that were hundreds of years old.
The times of opening are different from the main cathedral and are Monday to Friday from 9.00am - 1.00pm then again 2.00pm - 5.00pm. We did pay a bit extra upstairs in the library area but it was not much and I can't remember as my husband paid as I was busy admiring the ceiling at the time.
We drove to Durham and stayed at the Marriott hotel where we parked our car and after that we walked everywhere. There is a train and bus station and also a park and ride for the city. There are car parks but you do have to pay. If you are disabled then it is possible to drive up to the cathedral area but otherwise although it is an uphill climb I would suggest walking as there didn't seem to be anywhere to park near the cathedral.
SUMMARY OF MY THOUGHTS
I think the thing that struck me when visiting this cathedral was how friendly and helpful the volunteer staff were. One chap had recently retired and was doing the voluntary work as an interest and to get him out of the house and he told us that he had seen Sting the day before as he had come to check on the setting up of all the recording stuff for his recording session in the cathedral. We discussed the fact these huge lorries and all the equipment had all been sent over from Switzerland and how it was strange that this was a cheaper option than using equipment from the UK. We did not have a guide but at every place of interest there was someone who would tell you about the item or some interesting story about the artefact so we did not really need an official guide.
If you need help with mobility then they suggest contacting the cathedral before your visit and they will offer any help they can.
As with all churches and cathedrals there is just so much to look at and I find I can get information overload and really just enjoy looking and experiencing the atmosphere.
There was the recording equipment being set up and huge boxes as well as wires being draped around the cathedral which did detract a little from the building but I suspect a lot of money was being donated towards the cathedral in exchange for using it for this purpose and we did know that this was taking place when chose to visit at this time.
It is a beautiful building and I am not surprised it is in the UNESCO world heritage site as it a well preserved original building in a unique setting.
I would urge anybody who has not been to visit this cathedral to make the effort to see it as it very special and was referred to by Bill Bryson as "the Best Cathedral on Planet Earth". I'm not sure whether I agree entirely with this statement as there are so many beautiful cathedrals in the world but it is certainly one of the nicest I have seen.
I do not pretend to have covered every place and item or artefact of interest these were just the things that I found interesting but there is a wealth of fascinating history and art work to explore within this historical building. I just hope that I have tempted someone to venture up northwards to visit one of our most beautiful buildings a UNESCO world heritage site we should be proud of.
Thanks for reading my thoughts on the wonderfully English building. This review may be published under my name on other sites.
I do like cathedrals and churches, and have visited quite a few, but I do consider myself lucky enough to live here in the north-east and not far from what I consider to be the best cathedral I have ever seen!
The cathedral I am talking about is Durham Cathedral, built high on a peninsula of land, created by a loop in the River Wear, it can be seen from miles around.
I remember from childhood, when being away from the north-east on holiday or a day trip, returning home up the A1 I would look for Durham Cathedral, and when spotting it in the distance, know I would soon be 'home'. I still think that way to this day!
One of my favourite views of the cathedral is at sunset, there is no better scene than this, the central and western towers dark against a yellow-red skyline is breath-taking.
Bill Bryson described Durham Cathedral as 'the best Cathedral on planet Earth, a sentiment which has been echoed by many people from all over the world. It was also voted Britain's best-loved building in a nationwide BBC poll.
It is popular not only for it's architecture, but also for it's amazing setting which I mentioned above. Far better landmark than the Angel of the North in my opinion!
Durham cathedral has also became very popular with children, as the cloisters area featured in the Harry Potter films, as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The cathedral is a master-piece of Norman 'Romanesque' architecture, and is the only cathedral in England to retain it's Norman craftmanship. Building began in 1093 and was completed within 40 years.
Built as a place of worship and also to house the shrine of St Cuthbert, it was also the home of a Benedictine monastic community.
The nave, quire and transepts are all Norman. At the west end is the Norman style 12th century Galilee Chapel ,and at the east end is the 13th century Gothic style Chapel of the Nine Altars. The central tower dates from the 15th century which displays perpendicular Gothic detailing.
The cloisters on the south side contain work from the 15th century and later. Cathedral Close is a quiet area also on the south side and known as 'The College'. It is home to the clergy and also the Chorister School.
Walking around this magnificent building you are in awe of the architecture, and find yourself thinking of it being constructed all those years ago, and the work and craftmanship of the people involved. It does take a while to walk around it as very large.
Entry is gained by the North door, which housed the famous gothic Sanctuary Knocker. Folk who banged on this, would receive sanctuary for 37 days and given the choice of trial or exile. A replica sits in it's place now, but the original can still be seen on display inside the cathedral in St Cuthbert's Treasury.
There are some beautiful stained glass windows, particularly in the Galilee Chapel, which is also home to the tomb of The Venerable Bede.
Entrance to the cathedral is free, however you can give a contribution to the upkeep of the cathedral as it does cost over £60,000 a week to maintain the cathedral, buildings and ministry. There is a separate charge for admission to the Tower, the Monk's Dormitory and St Cuthbert's Treasury .
The central tower stands 66 metres high and I have climbed the stone spiral steps many times to the top, where you will have amazing views of Durham and beyond. I would recommend it to anyone fit and able, but bear in mind the climb up the tower becomes quite narrow towards the top. There is also a minimum height restriction of 4 feet 3 inches. Please note that if you are wearing high or stilletto heels, backless sandals or mules, you will not be allowed to climb the tower.
Climbing the tower is £3.00 for adults and £1.50 for children under 16. Family tickets are available at £8.00. The tower is open every day except Sunday and will be closed during services or bad weather.
The treasures of St Cuthbert houses objects which date back to Cuthbert himself, including his cross and his coffin. Other items tell the story of the cathedral and community right up to recent times.
It is open daily and entry is £2.50 for adults and 70p for children. Family tickets are available at £6.00.
The Monk's Dormitory, with its oak-beamed roof,now houses part of the cathedral library, but used to be the place where the Monk's slept, and there are many items on display. It is open daily and entry is £1.00 for adults and 30p for children. A family ticket is £2.00.
There is also a 'Building the Church' exhibition which shows the many crafts and skills the builders used when constructing the cathedral, and an audio visual display of ' Saint Cuthbert and Durham Cathedral'. Entry to this is priced the same as the Monk's Dormitory.
There is a book and gift shop and also a restaurant, which is open daily serving home-made scones, cakes and biscuits at all times, and meals, soups and salads at lunchitmes. The restaurant can also be hired for private functions.
The cathedral does have 1317 services each year, and thousands of people regularly attend the Christmas carol services every year. Although the cathedral is open to the public every day, occasionally some of the services and events mean that visitors may be restricted, so it may be worth checking before you go.
If visiting the cathedral you may also wish to visit the castle nearby and Durham City with it's cobbled streets and shops are all within easy walking distance. It is also nice to walk along the river or go on a boat.
A great city to visit and great day out!
General enquiries about the cathedral, services and times etc can be emailed to - firstname.lastname@example.org
"I unhesitatingly gave Durham my vote for best cathedral on planet Earth." - ( Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island.)
Durham Cathedral is one of Britains most revered buildings. It has been voted Britains best loved building in a poll of Radio Four listeners, but don't let that put you off as it's well worth a visit. I should know as I have visited it on several occasions which makes me an expert authority on the subject.
~A Little History~
To begin with, there was a simple church on the site built in 998 AD, but dismantled about 100 years later. Following the Norman invasion work began in 1093 on the construction of the present day Cathedral, and the result is now acknowledged as the finest example in existence of Norman Cathedral architecture. It was to be a final resting place for the body of St Cuthbert, whose poor old, (but allegedly perfectly preserved), body had been moved around the North East since his death in 687. There were five main stages during which the building was completed and these range between 1093 and 1490. It is a building of huge architectural importance, built in large part from locally quarried sandstone in the architectural style often called Romanesque.
The Cathedral sits next to Durham Castle on a World Heritage Site overlooking the river Wear, (Not the Tyne as Roger Whittaker famously sang incorrectly in 'Old Durham Town'). It makes a wonderful skyline for this little city. Lit up at night the scene is very striking and, oddly now I come to think of it, it is one of the reasons I was attracted to Durham as a place to study and live. The path to the Cathedral takes you by Palace Green, (a grassy area between Castle and Cathedral), through small cemetery grounds to the North Door.
~The North Door~
The first thing that strikes you about the door is its famous knocker which looks a bit like a spooky lion. It's known as The Sanctuary Knocker. This is because fugitives who banged on it received sanctuary for up to thirty seven days and were given the choice of trial or exile. No-one bangs the knocker these days, although the one on the door now is actually a copy of the original, which is far too valuable to be left lying around outside and can be found instead in the Cathedral's museum. If you wanted to bang your own knocker but can't get to the giftshop, I've discovered you can buy a copy of it at www.snobsknobs.co.uk, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you like tat. The door dates back to 1140 and is surrounded by a carved stone doorway. Upon entering you will often find guides around, ready to greet and assist visitors and there is a helpdesk at the rear of the Nave surrounded by a host of - leaflets. If you walk through any of the doors behind this desk you will find yourself , (no double meaning intended), in The Galilee Chapel.
~The Galilee Chapel~
Also known as The Lady Chapel, this is home to some beautiful windows containing mediaeval stained glass. There are wall paintings of St Cuthbert and St Oswald which are amongst the few surviving examples of twelfth century wall painting in Britain. There are several arches supported by clusters of pillars. The chapel has its own feel which to me is one of separateness from the rest of the cathedral. It is quite wide but short in length and inscribed tombstones are laid into the floor. Here also is the stately tomb of St Bede, often called The Venerable Bede; he was a monk and a scholar credited with the accolade 'Father of English History'. A sculptured quotation from one of his prayers hangs on the wall above his tomb. There are a couple of modern wooden sculptures in here; 'Statue of the Annunciation' and 'The Last Supper Table' which was made by an ex artist in residence from 500 year old oak removed from the bell tower. Originally a chapel was started closer to the tomb of St Cuthbert but cracks appeared in the walls and were taken as a sign that the Saint did not want a Lady Chapel so close to him, so it was moved. The old misogynist.
Leaving the chapel brings you back into The Nave.
Massive beautifully decorated pillars support the huge arched roof which is 22 metres high. The roof of stone ribbed vaulting was an innovation which later became widely used in Gothic cathedrals. The Nave is 900 years old and retains much of its original appearance today. To stand in this area is to take in something of the sheer majesty of the building which, at 400 feet in length, can feel quite overpowering.
An intricate font canopy will catch your eye at the west end of the Nave. It dates back to 1663 and is over 12 metres high. There are several altars but sadly many were destroyed during the reformation along with most of the stained glass. Much of the present stained glass in Nave windows was installed relatively recently and some is very modern.The Scots army, who occupied the Cathedral and used it as a barracks in 1640, also caused a lot of destruction and more was to come ten years later as nearly all the woodwork was burnt when Scots prisoners were held in the Cathedral. Interestingly, the only wooden structure to survive this period was the magnificent Prior Castell's Clock which is in the South Transept, and happens to have a Scottish thistle on top of its case.
There are various tributes to Lords and other well to do folk dotted around, but I prefer the touch of The Miners Memorial, a tribute to the local workforce placed here in 1947. A seventeenth century frieze surrounds it with some pudgy looking cherubs and foliage n' stuff.
In mediaeval times the Nave was for the use of the public and a huge stone screen carved with pictures of kings and bishops seperated much of the rest of the cathedral which was for the use of the Bishop, Benedictine Monks and other clergy. Standing in the Nave today you can see straight down the centre aisle to the High Altar and the Neville Screen.
~The Neville Screen~
This exquisite gothic screen was built in the fourteenth century by The Neville Family. It was adorned with over a hundred statues said to be removed before they could be destroyed during the reformation. It stands behind the High Altar and behind it lies St Cuthberts Tomb.
~St Cuthberts Tomb~
This is in a powerfully peaceful shrine. A wooden plaque at the entrance reads:
"Borne by his faithful friends from his loved home of Lindisfarne here, after long wanderings, rests the body of St Cuthbert in whose honour William of St Carileph built this cathedral church and at his side lies buried the head of St Oswald King of Northumbria and martyr, slain in battle by the heathen whom he so long defied."
A statue of Cuthbert holding the head of St Oswald stands in the corner. Unfortunately on my last very recent visit to the cathedral this area was inaccessible for 'safety reasons'. This leads to the only negative comment I am going to make; such an ancient structure obviously requires a huge amount of maintenance and for long stretches parts of the building can be marred by scaffolding. In recent years the area mainly affected has been the Cathedral's east end. A walk around this area will take in the thirteenth century Chapel of the Nine Altars, the Choir Aisles and The Vibrant Millenium Window.
Back in front of the High Altar, stand in front of the glorious pulpit and look up. Arch stands upon arch upon arch in high up areas now inaccessible to the public. From here you can see the fine ribbed vaulting of the central tower.
~The Central Tower~
This was the last part of the building to be completed. It was rebuilt between 1465 and1490. You can climb it but you need to be healthy to manage the 325 step spiral staircase. The cathedral website states that it is not recommended to those who are infirm or whose heart is not as strong as it might be. I would add that it is also not recommended to those who have a severe hangover and do not wish to collapse in a heap having turned an attractive bright purple colour when they reach the top. There is a little corridor about half way up where you can take a slight breather, but for the rest it's very steep and narrow and you have to squeeze past other visitors and keep the pace moving. Maybe the hangover was a contributary factor, but I had never experienced claustrophobia until I climbed up here and whilst it's a fantastic view, it's a climb I can't see myself repeating. There is an admission charge of £3.00 for adults, £1.50 for children under 16 or a family ticket for £8.00. Opening times are 10am to 3pm in Winter and until 4pm between April and September. It is closed on Sundays, during services and events, and bad weather.
Step out of the Cathedral through either the Monks door or the Priors door and you will step into the Cloisters.
This area will be familliar to Harry Potter fans as it pretended to be some of Hogwarts corridors in the films. It surrounds a green and was heavily rebuilt in the early 19th century so little of the original work remains, except for the ornate wooden roof. At the western end there is a plaque dedicated to a 15th century prior at the cathedral called John Washington; 'whose family has won an everlasting name in lands to him unknown.' George Washingtons family originated from Washington near Sunderland, although I presume it was called something else in those days. Also on the west side is The Monks' Dormitory which apparently charges an entry fee, but I haven't been in here and I couldn't find any evidence of fee prices last time I was there. There is an original Norman undercroft beneath the refectory on the south side of the Cloisters which is thought to be the oldest part of the building. There is an entrance here to what used to be the Great Kitchen with a unique octagonal vaulted stone roof which has now been converted into the Cathedral bookshop; certainly the most impressive roof I have ever seen in a bookshop. There is also an entrance to the restaurant, the giftshop, which sells some lovely jewellery amongst other items, and the Treasury Museum.
~The Treasury Museum~
Exhibits here include the seventh century coffin of St Cuthbert, the original door knocker, manuscripts, embroideries, etcetera. I haven't been in here but I can tell you the prices: Adults - £2.50, Children - £0.70p, Family ticket - £6.00, Concessions/groups - £2.00. Opening times are Monday to Saturday 10.00 - 4.30 and Sundays 2.00 - 4.30.
This is free, but a donation of £4.00 is suggested and there are fees charged for entry to the Tower, Monk's Dormitory and St. Cuthbert's Treasury.
~Getting There ~ Parking~
To get anywhere in Durham you always have to climb a hill. Mercifully for some there are little touristy buses; the number 40 operates every 20 minutes every day. Personally I think it's a pretty lazy and not very environmentally friendly way of going about things, but if you must, you can catch it from the bus station in North Rd and it links the Cathedral, Rail Station and Car and Coach Parks. For further information Tel Traveline 0870 608 2 608. There are limited parking spaces around the Palace Green which cost £5 per visit, this is on top of the £2 you will have paid on the toll road through Durham Market Place. I would advise parking elsewhere or using the local park and ride scheme. Tourist Information can give more details if you ring them on 0191 384 3720. If you are on foot, head for Durham Market Place then go up Saddler Street until you come to Owensgate where a right turn will bring you out on Palace Green. Durham City is pretty small, so once you're there you shouldn't really have any problem finding the cathedral.
A review such as this can't really explain enough about the Cathedral as it's something that needs to be experienced. I haven't described all of the altars, statues, architectural features etc, because that would have required me to write a book, but I hope I've managed to convey some of the flavour of the building to anyone who's interested. Thankyou for reading.