During last weekends glorious February sunshine we decided to once again visit our magnificent Durham Cathedral to take a look at the latest “Open Treasure” Exhibition.
We took advantage of the excellent Park & Ride bus service which drops you just a few yards from the historic Market Place. I have rarely seen the Market Place so full of visitors, especially so early in the year. Someone suggested that it was a combination of the last days of half term and the unusually warm weather.
It’s quite a climb from the Market Place to the Cathedral Green, but thankfully there is another special bus which runs every 20 minutes there and back from the Market Place.
After taking lunch outside the small café opposite the Cathedral, we continued into the Cathedral’s visitor desk to purchase our tickets (£7.50 for Adults). Having sampled the delights of the Cathedral many times over the last 50 years, we decided on this occasion to go straight to the Weston Gallery in the Monk’s Dormitory. A very impressive space which we had never seen before.
The Open Treasure Rolling Exhibition Programme has been running since early 2018 and explores the story of the building, the people, history and Christian message.
The Weston Gallery contains a permanent exhibition exploring the spread of the Christian faith in the region, the extraordinary life and sainthood of Saint Cuthbert and the story of the Cathedral.
From here you currently proceed on to the 14th century Great Kitchen, which is one of only two surviving medieval monastic kitchens in England.This stunning space houses the Treasures of St. Cuthbert, from his magnificent gold and garnet pectoral cross to his original 7th century wooden coffin. These treasures are some of the most significant Anglo Saxon artefacts in the country.
Later this summer the exhibition traces the history of the Vikings in the region; the devastating raid on Lindisfarne in 793, the community search for a safe home for the saint after repeated attacks along the North East coast, and how the invaders later became settlers. In the Autumn the Collections Gallery will be showcasing the rare and exquisite maps, charts and atlases from the Cathedral Library.
It doesn’t matter how many times you visit Durham Cathedral. There is always something different that catches your eye, or something new to learn.