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Attendance Information

Graduate in academic dress posing for a photo

Information on the arrangements for attending Winter Congregation 2024 are published below.

The What to Expect on the Day (pdf document) provides a printable version of the important details for students and guests. (This document is also accessible for students from the Congregation and Parchment Registration system).

Venue, Travel and Parking

Congregation ceremonies are held in Durham Cathedral with related activities - robing, photography and the Congregation Fair taking place in the Teaching and Learning Centre (approximately 20 minute walk from the Cathedral) for graduands and guests to visit before and after the ceremony.

  • Graduands must arrive at least 2.5 hours before the time of their ceremony and it would be helpful to bring their campus card, if they have one, to assist with registration on the day. If graduands do not arrive on time they will be excluded from the ceremony.
  • Guests will be directed to enter the Cathedral from approximately 45 minutes before the ceremony start time and should take advantage the facilities at the Congregation Fair beforehand.

View the map and directions to Durham.

Please allow plenty of time for arrival, remembering that Durham city centre will be busy on Congregation days. There are various car parks situated around Durham, including Durham's Park and Ride service, and the metered on-street parking which is available all over the city.

Please note that there is no public parking on Palace Green. Graduands and guests with mobility issues can be dropped off by car or taxi at the top of Owengate (the road that leads up to Palace Green).

Note that Palace Green lies within the city congestion charge zone.

Congregation Information Point

A Congregation Information Point will be located on Palace Green outside of the Music Building and on the ground floor of the Teaching and Learning Centre for general enquiries.

Guest Tickets

View information on how to collect Tickets.

The Ceremony Day

  • Graduands collect robes from the first floor of the Teaching and Learning Centre. Due to limited capacity, only graduands are allowed access to the robing area.
  • Guests or graduands collect tickets from the Guest Ticket desk in the Teaching and Learning Centre.
  • Graduands give tickets and belongings to guests before going to the Great Hall.
  • Graduands report to the Great Hall of University College (Castle) 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to the ceremony to be put into procession order. Graduands must arrive by this time so that various checks can be undertaken, names will be scored off the list if students do not arrive on time.
  • Guests, with tickets, to be directed into the Cathedral from the Information Point approximately 45 minutes before the ceremony start time to be seated separately from graduands.
  • Graduands process from Great Hall to the Cathedral approximately 30 minutes before the ceremony.
  • On entering the Cathedral, graduands will be seated in order. Names will be checked multiple times as it is vital that graduands remain in order for the ceremony.
  • During the ceremony graduands will be called to the stage individually to shake hands with the Presiding Officer.
  • The ceremony lasts approximately 1 hour.
  • The use of cameras and recording devices is not permitted during ceremonies, and flash photography is not allowed within the Cathedral.
  • Ceremonies are professionally filmed and photographed with USBs/photos available to purchase afterwards.
  • Ceremonies will also be streamed live on the Ceremonies website and to a lecture theatre in the Teaching and Learning Centre, which is open to guests without tickets.
  • After the ceremony, graduates and guests can visit the Congregation Fair in the Teaching and Learning Centre, including Zing Cafe.
  • Graduates must return robes to the Teaching and Learning Centre before 5:30pm on the day of the ceremony.

Guest Entrance Information

Entrance to the Cathedral will only be allowed from 45 minutes before the ceremony start time. Guests arriving before the entrance time are advised to wait in the Teaching and Learning Centre as there is no shelter outside the Cathedral for guests to wait and it can be extremely cold in winter.

Guests will be directed from the Information Point on Palace Green to the Galilee Chapel entrance before being guided into the main body of the Cathedral. Guests may have to wait at the Galilee Chapel for a short period until the venue is ready. Guests must show tickets to be allowed entrance to the Cathedral.

On entering the main body of the Cathedral, guests will be guided by University marshals to fill all seats from the front to the back, in the Nave and then in the Side Aisles. Guests wishing to sit together must arrive together. The view of the stage in the Side Aisles is restricted due to the Cathedral architecture, however television monitors, are installed throughout the Cathedral to enhance the viewing of the ceremony.

Graduands and Guests with Special Requirements

View information for graduands and guests with special arrangements for the ceremony.

Guests with Children

The ceremony is a formal occasion and can involve a lot of waiting around. Please consider this before bringing a small child along. Tickets are required for children over the age of 2, under 2's can sit on a guest’s lap. Pushchairs can be accommodated inside the Cathedral. Children and babies cannot be seated with the graduand, they must be seated with an adult guest in the guest section of the Cathedral. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult in compliance with our Safeguarding Policy

The ceremony will also be streamed live to a lecture theatre in the Teaching and Learning Centre which may be more comfortable for guests with small children, but please note all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Personal Belongings

Graduands are advised to keep personal belongings to a minimum which should be left with guests prior to the ceremony.

Please do not bring any large bags/rucksacks or luggage as they are not permitted inside the Cathedral and cannot be left unattended. You may be subjected to a bag search on entry to the Cathedral. There will be a supervised luggage drop in the Teaching and Learning Centre for graduands and guests to use during the ceremony. Please leave your luggage here before attempting to enter the Cathedral. Please note, although this is a supervised area, bags are left at the owner's risk.

Congregation Fair

Learn more about our Congregation Fair at the Teaching and Learning Centre.

Lost Property

Lost property will be held at the Police Office on Palace Green or at the Teaching and Learning Centre.

Dress Code

Graduands must hire graduation robes by 13 December and view guidance on what to wear on the day.

Graduands and guests are advised to dress warmly as they will be outside at certain times of the day and it can be cold inside the Cathedral.

Guests are recommended to dress smartly but without hats which can restrict the view for other guests.

Other Activities

Find out what celebration events your college and department are holding during Congregation and view What's On and other attractions to visit during your time in Durham.