November & December 2023 – Before planning your visit, please check our ‘Visitor Notices’ for accessibility updates and one-off changes to opening times. Click here to view.
A BEACON OF LIGHT
Most areas of Newcastle Cathedral are wheelchair accessible with the aid of wheelchair lifts, except the Crypt and Lantern Tower, which have narrow staircases.
There is a new Braille and tactile (touch) floor plan as part of the orientation table near the West Entrance and some resources to support visits.
If you have any access concerns ahead of your visit, please don’t hesitate to contact us and one of the team will be happy to advise you. We hope that the following accessibility information will provide you with greater detail of access throughout the building.
Newcastle Cathedral has four entrances; however, because of their age, some of these offer varying degrees of access. Level access into the Cathedral is via the West Entrance (on St Nicholas Street, opposite the Old Post Office and Tup Tup Palace nightclub). There is a manually activated automatic door at this entrance which is wheelchair accessible.
The East Entrance has level access, but entry is via a steep cobbled lane from St Nicholas Square to the north of the building.
The North Entrance, on St Nicholas Square, and South Entrance, leading to Amen Corner and the Castle, have stepped access only. The north door is stepped external and again internal, while the south door leading has seven external steps and a central handrail.
The west end of the Cathedral (the Nave) now has a new paved floor, which is mostly flat. The historic memorial grave covers known as ledger stones have been grouped and placed to the north and south aisles of the Nave and have some uneven surfaces; however, these can be easily viewed from the adjoining flat surfaces. There are also ledger stones across the building adjacent to the pulpit which will also be uneven.
The floor can be uneven at the east end, as in many historic buildings. There is a ramp/stair lift if you are unable to climb the small staircases in the east and north side aisles to traverse the building.
St George’s Chapel
There is ramped access followed by two steps and then a shallow step (approx. 10cm) at the top of the ramp into St George’s Chapel (which is laid out with pews). There are handrails on either side of the entrance steps.
There is ramped access into the Quire to view the Quire stalls, Cathedra and reredos, with a closer inspection involving a step up or down.
The Crypt is not part of the main visitor route but may be included in tours. This space has multiple steps at varying heights in a narrow corridor. Access is not always possible, but please do ask the Welcome Team who will be happy to provide some information and answer questions.
The Lantern Tower
The Lantern Tower is not included within standard entry to the Cathedral. Bookable tours take place throughout the year (sign up for the Newcastle Cathedral e-newsletter to be notified when tickets are available). The tower should only be tackled by the adventurous, fit and healthy, and is only possible in good weather as it can be slippery up on the top. There is a tight and steep spiral staircase.
For those who are unable to access the tower, we will be able to offer a Virtual Lantern Tower Experience.
Our Education Centre is located on the first floor of Cathedral Hall and is generally used for pre-booked schools and groups’ sessions. An accessible lift will take you up/down if you are unable to climb the stairs.
Cathedral Hall and Café 16
Level access to Cathedral Hall (a 20th-century annex to the Cathedral, home to the Education Centre and Café 16) can be gained via the Courtyard Entrance. Alternatively, entering via the main body of the Cathedral, a fully accessible lift provides access to Cathedral Hall and Café 16.
Our Volunteer Centre is downstairs into the basement of Cathedral Hall and has a fully accessible lift.
Public Toilets and Baby Changing
An accessible toilet with baby changing facilities can be reached on level ground via the main Cathedral’s north nave door. An emergency alarm pull cord is available if required. There are also two unisex toilets in the location.
We also have fully accessible toilet downstairs below Cathedral Hall, along with female and male toilets, all accessible by stairs or lift. The former also has baby changing facilities and a shower, should these be required.
If you require any assistance during your visit, please get in touch with us beforehand, and we’ll do our best to facilitate.
There are self-operating lifts in the Cathedral. If you require any assistance in using them, please ask a member of the Welcome Team. In the lifts to the Education Centre and Basement, the operator needs to continue to press the destination button throughout their journey.
Newcastle Cathedral is within easy reach of many public transport links. Click here for more information.
Accessible parking (two Blue Badge parking bays) is available adjacent to St Nicholas Building on St Nicholas Street. The nearest major public car park can be found on Dean Street.
There are numerous other parking facilities, including multi-storey facilities and 47 surface car parks operated by Newcastle City Council. Please refer to the Newcastle City Council website for more information.
Volunteer welcomers will greet you on arrival at the Cathedral. Please let them know if you have particular requirements during your visit. We recommend that you get in touch beforehand if you would like a personal guide to tour the building with you.
Assistance dogs are welcome with their owners. We can provide water on request and the external churchyard and nearby Castle Garth (the area surrounding Newcastle Castle’s Black Gate) offer green space and opportunities for short walks.
Hearing Loop System
This operates in the Nave, including the retail area, as well as the Quire. If you are attending a service, concert or other event, please switch your hearing aid to the ‘T’ position.
The fire alarms have loud evacuation alarms around Newcastle Cathedral. The lift cannot be used in the event of a fire. The Welcome Team assist people unable to exit the building and safe fire refuge point to await evacuation which is clearly signposted. If you will require assistance exiting the building in the event of a fire alarm, please inform the Welcome Team on your arrival at the Cathedral.
Resources to support your visit
The following resources are available to borrow for free from our Welcome team for D(d)eaf, blind and partially sighted people to support their visit:
- A large print of the audio recording for the Ledger Stone sound and light show, Stories in the Stones
- A large print detailed guide of Newcastle Cathedral interpretative graphic panels
- Large print site map
We are seeking to work with local groups to improve our overall accessibility and have an ongoing programme of consultations with a range of local groups to advise us of future improvements we can make.
If you would like to arrange a visit for you or your group, please contact us.