Visiting the Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral has a tradition of visitor welcome that reaches back to the days of medieval pilgrimage. We continue this tradition today, and look forward to welcoming you.
We’ve introduced a range of new safety measures to ensure your wellbeing, including one-way routes, enhanced cleaning regimes, hand sanitiser stations, distanced seating, additional signage and floor markings, and PPE for our staff, volunteers and Constables as appropriate. We’ve also achieved the ‘We’re Good To Go’ official UK mark to signal that we follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and have a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.
- Opening times
- Entry prices
- Prepare for your visit:
- Book your visit
Visitor opening times (Cathedral and Precincts)
|Monday to Saturday||10.00 – 16.00hrs (Last admission at 15.00)|
|Sunday||12.30 – 16.00hrs (Last admission at 15.00)|
Opening times may change at short notice due to funerals, weddings, services or exceptional circumstances. Please check our website regularly prior to your visit. Services of worship take place outside of visiting hours.
Visitor entry prices
|Monday 13 July to Monday 31 August 2020||
|1 September 2020 onwards||Our normal entry pricing will be reinstated.|
Timed entry tickets must be pre-booked online via our website. This is to help us safely manage physical distancing and the number of people in the Cathedral and Precincts. At present, we are only accepting bookings up to two weeks in advance of when you intend to visit. Click here to book your tickets.
Prepare for your visit
Download a free guide
Download our free Guide to your phone to better enjoy and understand the significant spaces you’ll see during your visit:
- Click here to download our main visitor route leaflet (PDF)
- Click here to download our accessible route leaflet (PDF)
- Information for children visiting Canterbury Cathedral (PDF)
Do I need to book a ticket to visit?
Yes. Timed entry tickets must be pre-booked online via our website. This is to help us safely manage physical distancing and the number of people in the Cathedral and Precincts. At present, we are only accepting bookings up to two weeks in advance of when you intend to visit. Click here to book your tickets.
In line with Government guidance we will collect your personal details during the online booking process to keep a temporary record of our visitors for 21 days to assist NHS Test and Trace requests if required (see ‘NHS Test and Trace’ below).
As part of the booking process, you will also have the option to opt-in to receive Cathedral updates and marketing messages if you wish.
Will I need to choose when I want to visit the Cathedral and Precincts?
Yes. Timed entry tickets must be pre-booked online via our website. As part of the booking process, you will be asked to select the date and time you wish to visit. This is to help us safely manage physical distancing and the number of people in the Cathedral and Precincts.
If you arrive outside of your allotted time, you may be asked to wait until other visitors have left. We will do our best to get you into the Cathedral as quickly as possible, but the safety of our staff and visitors is paramount and will take priority. All tickets purchased for entry up to 31st August 2020 are for single-use entry only on the date and time specified. Click here to book your tickets.
I have a Precinct Pass, do I need to pre-book entry to the Precincts and/or Cathedral?
Yes, to help us safely manage physical distancing and the number of people in the Cathedral and the Precincts, all visitors – including Precinct Pass holders – must pre-book an entry ticket. Click here to book your tickets.
What safety measures are in place?
We have been working hard throughout lockdown to put in place measures to ensure your safety and that of our colleagues. These include:
- one-way routes. Leaflets with details and accessibility information – as well as some fun historical facts and figures – can be downloaded here:
- 2 metre physical distancing with 1metre+ distancing where this is not possible
- enhanced cleaning regimes
- hand sanitiser stations
- protective screens
- staff and volunteers to assist with the flow of visitors, prevent queues and ensure that everyone complies with safety guidelines
- distanced seating
- additional signage including floor markings and visual reminders of the need for physical distancing
- the removal of leaflets, books and other similar shared items to reduce transmission risk
- additional training for our staff
- PPE for our staff, volunteers and Cathedral Constables as appropriate
- Comprehensive Risk Assessments
- Our Visitor Centre and Shop were deep cleaned prior to reopening
Please respect our staff and other visitors. The restrictions are there to keep everyone safe so observe social distancing, barriers and use the hand sanitisers that are provided. Visitors accompanied by children are responsible for ensuring the child’s social distancing practices.
Should I wear a face mask?
From 8th August 2020, in line with government guidance, face coverings must be worn in places of worship.
Face coverings should be worn inside our Shop and Visitor Centre. All Cathedral staff, volunteers and contractors will wear face coverings inside the Cathedral, Visitor Centre and Shop.
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to): young children under the age of 11; not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability; if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress. For detailed guidance, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
NHS Test and Trace
In line with government guidance we are required to keep an accurate temporary record of our visitors and worshippers for 21 days to assist the NHS Test and Trace service with requests for data if needed for contact tracing and the investigation of local outbreaks. Your personal details will be captured securely during our booking process.
Where do I go when I arrive?
All visitors should enter through our Visitor Centre where a member of staff will check their timed-entry ticket and direct them through the Shop and into the Cathedral Precincts. Please speak to our staff if you require access to our lift. Once inside the Precincts, accessible/wheelchair entry to the Cathedral building is via the North Door and is clearly signed. Download our visitor leaflets for more details:
- Click here to download our main visitor route leaflet (PDF)
- Click here to download our accessible route leaflet (PDF)
- Click here to download the Entrances to Canterbury Cathedral map (PDF)
How long is my visit likely to last?
Your visit is likely to last one to two hours.
What will I be able to see during my visit? Will all areas of the Cathedral be open?
Areas including The Precincts, The Nave, Quire, Martyrdom, Trinity Chapel, Crypt and Cloisters will be open. To ensure safe physical distancing and that one-way visitor routes can be maintained, a few parts of the Cathedral will remain closed. Any closures or restrictions on entry will be clearly signed.
Some areas are very popular and some places are quite narrow and may only allow 1 metre+ distancing. Please be aware of other people around you.
Will audio tours be available?
No. To reduce the risks of coronavirus transmission from shared items, our audio guides will not be available. Our Cathedral Stories audio podcast gives you the chance to learn more of the Cathedral’s fascinating history before you arrive. Click here to listen to the episodes.
Will guided tours be available?
No. To reduce the risks of coronavirus transmission we are not able to offer guided tours at present.
Will services of worship be taking place?
Will the choir be performing?
No. At this stage, it is not yet safe for live performances, including musical performances, to take place in front of a live audience. This is because of the increased risk of transmission associated with these types of activities.
Will I be able to light a candle?
Yes. Candle stands have been provided in a safe way that complies with Government and Church of England advice. A prayer meditation is also available (text and audio) on our website to help guide your prayer.
Will the visitor toilets be open?
Yes, the toilets are open during visitor hours (10.00-16.00 each day). The facilities are supervised by an attendant member of staff at all times when open to the public. In order to maintain safe physical distancing, one-way routes and gender-inclusive toilets will be in operation.
Can I buy refreshments?
Yes. A range of bottled drinks and pre-packaged snacks will be available from our open-air kiosk in the Precincts during the following hours:
- Monday – Saturday: 10.00 – 15.30hrs
- Sunday: 12.30 – 15.30hrs
A full Risk Assessment has been completed and signed-off for the kiosk, including social distancing measures.
Will the Visitor Centre be open?
Yes. Visitors enter and exit the Precincts through clearly signed one-way routes and our Visits team are on hand if you need any assistance.
Will the Cathedral Shop be open?
Yes. Our Shop in the Visitor Centre will be open. We also offer a Click & Collect service so you can pre-order items online before you arrive. Visit our online shop to find out more.
Will the Cathedral Lodge be open?
Yes. See the Cathedral Lodge website for details.
Is visitor parking available?
Parking is available for Blue Badge holders only. No other parking on site is possible. Please use the public car parks within the City.
Can I donate to support the Cathedral?
Yes, we welcome any support for our ministry and the stewardship of the Cathedral. You can donate online, give at one of the contactless donation stands in the Cathedral, or or make a cash donation into one of our collection boxes.
People who are symptomatic
Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not visit the Cathedral due to the risk that they pose to others; they should self-isolate at home immediately with other members of their household. Remote participation should be considered, for example by watching our daily online videos.
Archives and Libraries
We currently anticipate that our Archives and Library will remain closed for public access until September 2020. There are complex requirements for providing access to unique written collections in ways which are safe for staff, users and the collections, and professional best practice is still emerging. The situation will be kept under review. In the meantime, we are able to offer our usual remote services, although only in-stock digital images can be provided; catalogues to our collections are available online.
Please note that bag searches may be carried out upon arrival by our Cathedral Constables. To keep delays to a minimum, visitors are asked to avoid bringing large bags or backpacks. The searches are not in response to intelligence of any particular threat relating to Canterbury Cathedral, but we take the security of staff, volunteers, visitors and worshippers very seriously, and we hope this will help reassure all who come to the Cathedral.
Who can I contact with any other questions?
Our Visits team are happy to help with any queries you have. Email them at email@example.com.
One of the great treasurers in the Cathedral’s Archives and Library is a book about animals called a ‘bestiary’. This lovely book was written in Latin and decorated over 700 years ago, all by hand. The book was never finished: some animals were never illustrated, and some of the illustrations were never coloured. Help us by adding some colour to these images, as well as those from Gerard’s ‘Herbal’, Gessner’s work on animals and Dart’s ‘History and Antiquities’. Click here to download the colouring sheets (PDF).
Podcasts: ‘Cathedral Stories’
An ideal way to prepare for your visit, our Cathedral Stories podcast series gives you an insight into the events and people who have helped to shape and mould the Cathedral, the moments it has witnessed, and how what you see at the Cathedral today reflects all the people and ideas that have gone before. Click here to listen to the episodes to learn more of the Cathedral’s fascinating history before you arrive.
Take a virtual tour of Canterbury Cathedral and enjoy a 360 degree view of the magnificent building, including a unique opportunity to explore the views from Bell Harry tower. Click here to launch the tour.
Conservation and restoration work
The Canterbury Journey is addressing urgent restoration and conservation needs. This means that scaffolding and sounds of construction will be noticeable when you visit us. You will still find peace and beauty today within vast spaces unaffected by the works.
The Cathedral was in a similar position when Chaucer’s Pilgrims left Southwark for Canterbury, with construction in the Nave and the sound of masons’ chisels hammering on stone. Visiting now gives a once in a lifetime chance to appreciate how amazing it is that such a huge building was constructed without our modern equipment and army of craftspeople, engineers, architects and consultants.