Frequently Asked Questions

The most common questions about school visits are answered below. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do we need to book our visit?

Yes. All visits must be pre-booked to avoid arriving at a time when the cathedral is closed to groups. To have the best chance of ensuring the date of your choice please book half a term ahead and AT LEAST one month ahead. Please note that visits are available Monday to Wednesdays between 10am and 12.30pm (half day) or 2:30pm (full day). Other days/times may be possible by arrangement.

How do we book?

Please contact us with your requirements or alternatively fill in a booking form. This will go through our booking process and you will normally have an answer within 7-10 days. We will then send you additional information sheets.

Can you give me a choice of dates? Can I book at short notice?

Sometimes. Dates tend to get booked up very early. It is always worth telephoning us to see if we have dates available.

Why does it take so long to get a booking confirmed?

Guildford Cathedral is a focus for many activities over and above our regular services and your request will be discussed by our team responsible for the smooth running of the Cathedral. It is not always possible to agree the first choice of date, so please have two alternative dates in mind when you contact us.

What is the cost of our visit?

Charges for groups working with the Schools’ Department are reviewed annually and depend on the programme required. Please download our Primary or Secondary Schools’ Programme  for current costs of the trails, workshops and resources available to school groups or visit the Prices page

How do we pay?

You will be invoiced after your visit; please do not pay on the day. However, a non-refundable deposit is payable when booking. Please make cheques payable to “Guildford Cathedral”, or contact us for our bank details if you wish to make an online payment. Payment for special events may differ.

What happens if we have to cancel the visit?

Please provide as much notice as you can. Sometimes we are able to offer an alternative date. In the event of cancellations close to the date of the visit the following charges will be levied:-

  • Less than two weeks’ notice – 25% of the cost of the visit
  • Less than one weeks’ notice – 50%
  • Less than 48 hours’ notice or non-appearance of group – 100%

What do we need to bring with us?

If your pupils are using one of our trail sheets or participating in a workshop, then we will provide clipboards and pencils. So, you just need to bring what you normally require for a day out – a snack or a packed lunch, suitable clothing, cameras and a little pocket money if you would like to visit the shop. A designated teacher should also carry a first aid kit.

Where can we eat lunch?

If we have agreed that you can stay for lunch, then we can usually provide a small space. However, it may not hold an entire class, so you may have to eat lunch in shifts. We recommend you wear coats whilst eating as the areas inside the cathedral can prove a little chilly at times. If the weather is good, then we recommend you eat outside on the south side of the cathedral, away from the road. Please take all rubbish away with you.

What other facilities do you provide?

There are toilet facilities across the road next to the main Cathedral Office – we also have a small souvenir shop where children are welcome to visit in groups of ten accompanied by an adult. However, if you prefer, a team member from the shop can come to you with a selection of small items on sale. Please contact us for details. 

There is free parking available adjacent to the Cathedral. Disabled access to some public areas is restricted. See directions and map.

Where do we go when we arrive?

On arrival coaches can pull up directly in front of the Cathedral west doors for offloading, and then continue on round the side of the Cathedral green to the designated coach bay. Please enter the Marquee where one of the team will be waiting to greet you. If you are delayed for any significant period of time please contact us as soon as possible.

How long can we spend at the Cathedral?

It depends. Programmes led by the Schools’ Department are of varying length – please see the Primary or Secondary Schools’ Programme Booklet for further details. If your group wishes to stay for lunch or to have some free time in the cathedral once these programmes are completed, then please note this on your Booking Form, as approval is required from the Diary Management Team.

Can I make a pre-visit?

Yes. However, it is wise to telephone our office on +44 (0)1483 547880 beforehand to ensure there is nothing taking place in the cathedral at the time you wish to visit which would prevent you from having access to all parts of the building. If you need a member of the Schools’ Department to meet you, please arrange this beforehand. We chiefly work Tuesdays to Thursdays, 8.30am to 3.30pm. Our answer machine will record out-of-hours messages and we will return your call as soon as we can.

What is expected of teachers/accompanying adults during a visit? 

We ask for a minimum ratio of one adult to ten pupils (more adults will be required for pupils 7 years and under, or if the children have special needs). Teachers have the responsibility at all times for the welfare and safety of their pupils and for their supervision.

During enhanced guided visits or workshops, the Schools’ Department will be directing the group, but support from the teacher is very much appreciated, particularly in the event of misbehaviour by the pupils. While the groups are completing their activities they are under the direction and supervision of their teachers and accompanying adults. 

Teachers and/or accompanying adults are also responsible for first-aid requirements for pupils although, should the need arise, Cathedral staff would summon the necessary emergency services.

How should pupils behave in the Cathedral?

Before entering the cathedral, please remind pupils that they are coming into a place of worship. This means they should behave respectfully whilst in the Cathedral and not eat or drink, run round, use mobile phones or drop litter. They may take photos of the building. The only place this is not permitted is in the Treasury. We also ask that people keep all their valuables with them at all times. The Dean and Chapter cannot take responsibility for the loss of personal possessions in the Cathedral.

Are there any risks or hazards in the cathedral?

It is the responsibility of the leader of the group to make any risk assessment required but, provided sensible behaviour is observed, the Cathedral does not pose any great risk. There are candle stands that may have lighted candles in areas set aside for private prayer. We also display art work in the cathedral, which may include large/sharp pieces of sculpture unsuitable for children to touch.

Download a risk assessment template to complete if required.

Do we have to use your workbooks?

You may prefer to use your own workbook that is directed towards your own learning, but we strongly recommend that there is some form of directed learning whilst in the Cathedral, since just “wandering around” does not give a focus to the visit and may lead to pupils missing the best parts of the Cathedral. If you would like us to take a look at our own workbook and offer suggestions before you visit, we are happy to do so. You may wish to hire one of our Resource Boxes if you are organising a DIY visit.

What educational support do you give for teachers preparing a visit?

We have support material that you can view prior to your visit, including the workbook of your choice. The learning outcomes from a visit are much enhanced if some preparatory work is done before the visit and there are teachers' notes available for some of our workshops (see our Primary or Secondary Schools’ Programme Booklet). Support notes for several of our workshops will soon be available to download on the Activities and Resources page.

Do I have to book if I don’t require the services of the Education Department?

YES, prior booking is required for ALL VISITS. This is for two reasons. One is so the Cathedral is never overfull and retains an atmosphere of peace and spirituality. The second is because we often have events taking place in the Cathedral and group entry is not permitted during those times.

What if we want to do something that isn’t in your programme?

Please just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.