Plan Your School Visit
We pride ourselves on offering a well organised education service, and aim to make all aspects of your visit as easy and straightforward as we can.
Visits are planned, delivered and organised by Diana Ives (Education Officer) with Matt Hustwayte (Education Administrator) supported by our dedicated team of volunteers.
You will need to book your visit via the Education Office.
- For Year 6 Days and Time Travelling, you can request or download a booking form.
- For all other visits, please email or phone using our contact details at the bottom of this page to check availability. It is useful if you can be flexible or have 2 or 3 possible dates in mind.
- We can make a provisional booking, but all dates have to go to our weekly diary meeting (the Minster is a very busy place!), so you may have to wait several days before you receive a confirmation form.
- You will need to check and sign the confirmation form before we plan your visit.
- For most visits we ask for a donation of £3.50 for half a day and £4.50 per child for a full day. Accompanying adults are free. This includes permission to photograph the building.
We aim to be as inclusive as possible and will do all we can to support you and your students whatever their needs. Please aim to tell us in advance of any specific needs so that we can plan ahead and help ensure all students have a positive and memorable learning experience. Activity sessions can be adapted for groups of students with SEND.
Pre visits are welcome at any time.
There is step-free access to the site from Church Street, where we ask schools to drop off, just next to the Cathedral shop / Refectory.
The main body of the Cathedral is wheelchair accessible, but due to the age and nature of the building, there are a couple of spaces which are not fully accessible. The Pilgrim’s Chapel has 4 steps with a handrail, the Chapter House has 3 steps and there are 3 steps up to the high altar rail. We can plan a route for you which avoids these spaces, but if a child is particularly interested in the Chapter House, we have photos and a replica stone carving to show, and our education team will be happy to talk to them about it. As part of our National Lottery Heritage fund, the access issues into the Chapter House are being addressed.
The north and south entrances have low level power buttons to open the doors, and the access is level. The path around the Minster is paved and mainly level, with a few uneven areas, and there is a ramp into the Education Garden, where school groups love to eat lunch in the summer months.
Our classroom is on the ground floor, and the State Chamber at the Archbishop’s Palace, which we often use for activities, has a lifting platform. An adult from the school should accompany children into the lift, and ideally a member of Cathedral staff will also accompany you. Trebeck Hall has a ramp if needed, (although as it has no accessible toilet we try to avoid using it for groups with a wheelchair user).
There is an accessible toilet in the Archbishop’s Palace near the south door and also at the Refectory. We are sorry neither is equipped with a hoist. Should you need more space to change a child, we can offer our classroom as a private area on request. If in doubt, we recommend staff make a pre visit.
Staff accompanying a child with SEN should feel free to do whatever is necessary to ensure that they are able to access the learning offered. We are developing a sensory trail pack which will be available from January 2020 on request, which will enable staff to offer an alternative experience to children with sensory sensitivities or other needs. The Education Department has ear defenders which are available to borrow.
Within the Minster, the quietest spaces are the Chapter House (where there is currently no artificial lighting) and the Pilgrim’s Chapel which has a door and lights can be turned off. We cannot guarantee the availability of these spaces during all school visits. Our classroom may also be available to retreat to, where we can provide toys or activities if necessary. Please ask us if this would help.
Useful Information for your Visit
We will provide you with somewhere to leave these during activities, but it will be in a public space so we suggest that you keep valuables with you at all times.
There are toilets for school groups to use at the Archbishop’s Palace, just next door to the Minster. School staff are responsible for loo trips – but they are close and there are plenty of them. If you use our other hall for your lunch, there are toilets there too.
If attending a large event (eg Time Travelling or a Year 6 day) you may share a lunch venue with other schools, so it’s a good idea to stagger loo trips to avoid queues.
We have 2 accessible toilets – at the Palace and at the Refectory. Adults may also use the Refectory loos.
In summer or warm, dry weather we ask schools to picnic in the grounds or Education Garden and we have large tarpaulins for you to borrow.
In inclement weather we provide an indoor lunch venue, and ask schools to remove rubbish and sweep the floor after use. Thank you for your help with this.
Tea, coffee and biscuits are normally available for staff all morning and throughout lunchtime in return for a donation (proceeds go directly to the Education Department).
You can visit the Minster shop in supervised groups of no more than 10. However, we suggest that if children would like to bring pocket money, you let us know in advance and we can organise a ‘pop up’ shop for you at lunchtime with a selection of small items.
At Time Travelling and Year 6 days, there will be a ‘pop up’ shop available each day. Souvenir packs may be pre-ordered at £2 each.
We have beautiful grounds for picnics or outdoor games. We have a parachute available to borrow on request.
Southwell is a small town with a one-way system. We will send you a map to ensure you park on the MINSTER side of Church Street in order to avoid the need for road crossing. There is a free car park for cars and minibuses at the VERY bottom of Bishop’s Drive by the scout hut. You can park a car or minibus in the Church Street car park for 2 hours for free, and then charges apply. Coach drivers will need to find their own spaces to park – during Time Travelling we are sometimes able to suggest parking at the Minster School, which has bus spaces.
Suggested drop off information
We suggest that you ask the driver to drop you on the Minster side of the road on Church Street, which avoids the need to cross a busy road or for the coach to turn around. Download a PDF of the map (shown above) which indicates suggested routes which will bring you to the Minster side of Church Street, avoiding the small, congested town centre which may be difficult for buses.