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Making the Most of UK Study Tours to Durham Cathedral

Desiree Michels

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Steeped in British history and religious significance, Durham Cathedral is a great addition to the itinerary of UK study tours. Built in the twelfth century, this stunning Norman church offers an insight into medieval architecture and construction as well as the artisan trades of stained glass making and decorative design. History will come alive for students studying medieval life as they discover how the monks would have lived and worked here 900 years ago.

What makes a trip to the Cathedral so enriching for students of all ages is the hard work and dedication put in by its Educational Team. Made up of qualified teachers and highly informed volunteers, the team is able to offer a fascinating array of talks, tours and workshops which span the national curriculum. And if you’re looking for something specific for your class, just let them know and they will tailor your experienced exactly to your needs.

Here are just some of the wonderful curriculum-based tours and experiences available to your students.

A Guided Tour

It is, of course, up to you whether you want to take advantage of the church’s qualified guides or would rather go it alone with an educational self-guide booklet (complete with teacher notes). But if you choose the guided option the well-informed guides will tailor your experience specifically to your class and the area of study they are interested in. With subjects including the history of St Cuthbert, monastic life, stained glass and architecture, you’re bound to find something to capture the imagination of your students.

Maths for Key Stage 3

Maths is a subject that is often overlooked on UK study tours but at Durham Cathedral they have worked hard to make it part of their educational offering. In partnership with Northern Architecture the team has created a session and workbook in which pupils are challenged by real life maths problems (suitable to Key Stage 3) around the site. Topics covered include ratio, geometrical properties and measuring. It’s a fun full-day activity which will bring maths to life for your students.

Step into The Middle Ages

For classes learning about the Middle Ages, the Cathedral offers a unique opportunity for pupils to discover what life was like in medieval Britain. The session starts with an examination of artefacts and reproduction clothing from daily life and discussions about what people’s lives would have been like. It then moves on to hands-on activities of the day, including coin striking, cookery, dancing and script writing. This is a wonderfully immersive experience for Key Stage 3 pupils.

GCSE History

Based around the AQA scheme of work, the site runs a specialist guided tour designed to focus on the GCSE history course. Choose from a half-day tour or a full day, which includes a tour and workshop; this will help bring history off the page and into the experience of your Key Stage 4 students.

This is just a quick snapshot of all the wonderful educational opportunities this historic site offers. If you are looking for something for your class for future UK study tours, you should contact a specialist educational tour operator who will ensure you get the most out of your trip to this fascinating cathedral.

Author Plate

John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational travel for school and youth groups. Whether you’re planning UK study tours , Iceland geography trips or trekking expeditions to India, you can trust both the educational and economic value of their itineraries, whether ready-made or specifically designed to suit the needs of your group.


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