Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do we need to book our visit?
Yes. All visits must be pre-booked to avoid arriving at a time when the cathedral is not available for visits (e.g. during services) or when the cathedral is already busy with other booked groups. To have the best chance of ensuring the date of your choice please book AT LEAST one month ahead, and for the period between March and August even earlier booking is strongly advised.
2. How do we book?
Having chosen your date/s and selected a preferred programme (see our Education Programme Leaflet) please telephone the Education Officer on +44 (0)1634 810066 or click here to send an email with the requested dates. This will then go through our booking process and you will normally have an answer within a week.
3. Why does it take so long to get a booking confirmed?
Rochester 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 an alternative date in mind when you contact us.
4. What is the cost of our visit and how do we pay?
The basic cost for a one-hour long visit is £2 per student. This includes a workbook of your choice (or you may wish to use your own). Workshops led by the Education Team are available for classes of up to 35 at an additional charge of £1.40 per student. Payment may be made on the day of the visit by cash or cheque (made payable to ROCHESTER CATHEDRAL ENTERPRISES) or an invoice can be sent to the school after the visit.
5. What do we need to bring with us?
If your students are using a workbook they will need pencils or pens. Other than that you just need what you normally require for a day out - packed lunches, suitable clothing, cameras and a little pocket money. A designated teacher should also carry a first-aid kit.
6. Where can we eat lunch?
There are two rooms which can be booked for lunches for groups of up to 30 students. The rooms cost £15 per half-hour session booked. Please note - the rooms are on the first floor and there is no access for physically disabled. Sorry.
7. What other facilities do you provide?
There are toilet facilities in the garden adjacent to the cathedral (and a toilet for the disabled in the Cathedral Tea Rooms). There is also a small shop for souvenirs in the cathedral.
8. Where do we park?
There is no parking right by the cathedral but there is an excellent coach drop-off point on Corporation Street at the rear of the Tourist Information centre. Coaches may then park in the designated coach park (with facilities for drivers) at Acorn Wharf on the other side of Corporation Street. For those arriving by car there are car-parks on Corporation Street, Northgate and Boley Hill. See Map and directions. If a member of your group has mobility difficulties please let up know in advance and we will try to arrange a suitable parking space for your car / minibus.
9. Where do we go when we arrive?
Please enter the cathedral by the North Door and report to the Welcome Desk. See Map and parking information.
10. What is expected of teachers during the visit?
We ask for a minimum ratio of 1 adult to 10 students (more adults may be required if the group is very young or has special requirements). Teachers have the responsibility at all times for the welfare and safety of their students and for their supervision. So that we can find an adult relating to the correct school in an emergency please would each adult wear identification that links them with their school (a sticky label works well).
During workshops the workshop leader will be directing the group but support from the teacher is very much appreciated, particularly in the event of misbehaviour by the students. While the groups are completing their worksheets 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 students, although, should the need arise, cathedral staff would summon the necessary emergency services.
11. What arrangements are there for people with special needs?
In a building as old as Rochester Cathedral it is difficult to meet all special needs but, if you let us know prior to your visit what special requirements you have, we will do our best to ensure that a good visit is enjoyed by everyone.
For those with special learning needs we can tailor our programme as required. Please let us know your specific requirements when booking.
12. How should students behave in the cathedral?
Before entering the cathedral please remind the students that they are coming into a place of worship. This means they should behave respectfully whilst in the cathedral, and not eat, drink, use mobile phones or drop litter. They may take photos. We also ask that people keep all their belongings with them at all times. Opportunist thieves have been known to pilfer from unattended bags, and they also pose security problems. The Dean and Chapter cannot take any responsibility for the loss of personal possessions in the cathedral.
13. 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. It is worth remembering that it is a building over 900 years old, and steps and paving are worn in places.
There are also candle stands that may have lighted candles in areas set aside for private prayer.
14. What educational support do you give for teachers preparing a visit?
We have Support Material that you can download 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 Education Programme Leaflet). Support notes for several of our workbooks are also on the website.
15. Do we have to use one of your workbooks?
You may prefer to use your own workbook that is directed towards your own learning needs, but we do 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 students missing the best parts of the cathedral. If you would like us to take a look at your own workbook and offer suggestions before your visit we are happy to do so.
We are developing shorter trails and picture trails which you may choose to use for pupils of differing abilities. As these are developed they will be posted on the Support Material page.
16. What if I want to do something that isn't on your programme?
Please just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
17. Do you ever run any special events?
Yes, from time to time we do run special whole day activities, such as AspiRE Days and Creation Disco Days (see our Education Programme Leaflet). Please contact us if you would like to know more.
18. 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 that the cathedral is never overfull and retains an atmosphere of peace and spirituality. The second is because we often have events such as services, graduations and speech days taking place in the cathedral and group entry is not permitted at those times.
19. Why do we have to pay to go into a church?
The cathedral costs over £10,000 per week to maintain and function (remember, it is over 900 years old) and there is no subsidy from national or local government. In order that the valuable historic and spiritual heritage of our cathedral is available for all we make a small charge to groups and ask for a voluntary donation from individuals who are visiting the cathedral for any purpose other than worship.
If you have any questions which are not answered here please click here to send an email or call 01634 810066.