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 (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 please telephone the Learning Department on +44 (0)1634 810066 or email educationofficer@rochestercathedral.org 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. Your request will be discussed at our weekly diary meeting to ensure that clashes do not occur. 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 cost per pupil is £2 for up to an hour, £3.40 for up to two hours and £4.50 for a whole day. The charge guarantees a timeslot in the cathedral and is the same for guided / self-guided activities. Payment can be made by cheque (Payable to “Rochester Cathedral”), cash, card or by electronic transfer. We ask non-UK schools and language schools to pay in advance or on the day. Other groups will be invoiced after the visit. We do not accept vouchers without prior arrangement.

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. Please ensure that all adults in your party are wearing some form of identification to link them to your group (lanyard / sticker etc).

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. The rooms must be pre-booked. Access to the rooms is via a staircase. Please advise us on booking if you have students with mobility problems and we will endeavour to make alternative arrangements.

7. What other facilities do you provide?
There are limited toilet facilities in the cathedral. Additional public toilets are located within a short walk of the cathedral. The cathedral has a small shop selling affordable souvenirs.

8. Where do we park?
The cathedral does not have a public car park 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. 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 issues please let us 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 ensure that all accompanying adults wear identification that links them with your party.

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 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.

All of our learning programmes can be adapted to meet specific needs. Please let us know your 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 ask everyone to keep their belongings with them at all times. Unattended bags are attractive to opportunist thieves and also pose a security threat. 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 group leader to complete a risk assessment. It is worth remembering that the building is over 900 years old.  Steps and paving are worn in places. There are also candle stands that may have lighted candles in areas set aside for private prayer. Our Risk Assessment Guidelines can be downloaded for reference purposes.  PDF of RA Guidelines.

14. What support do you give for teachers preparing a visit?
The Learning Team is happy to discuss and help plan your visit. Send us your learning objectives and we will adapt the activity to match your requirements.

15. Do we have to use one of your workbooks?
No, but it is important to plan for some form of directed learning whilst in the cathedral. It is fine to use your own workbook or download and adapt one of ours.

16. What if I want to do something that isn't on your programme?
Please 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 events. Check the website for details. 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 Learning Department?
Yes, prior booking is required for ALL visits. This is for two reasons. Firstly, we need to ensure that the cathedral is never overfull and retains an atmosphere of peace and spirituality. Secondly, we often have events such as services, graduations and speech days taking place in the cathedral.  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 email educationofficer@rochestercathedral.org or call 01634 810066