In 1842, the Durham Union was founded to champion free speech.
Over 180 years later, the Society remains committed to this principle, supporting many outreach projects to make it widely accessible.
The Durham Union Schools Outreach Program allows visiting students to experience the formative role of debate in their personal and educational development. It also aims to answer any questions that students may have on applying to Durham, our student life, and the Union’s history.
Register your school’s interest in the program using the form below. We will do our best to accommodate individual schools’ needs, but please note that the final details of a planned visit will be dependent upon the availability of our student committees.
We hope to welcome your school to the Durham Union soon:
Is there a charge to visit the Union?
We do not charge for visits from state-funded schools. Independent/fee-charging schools are welcome to visit, but we kindly request a donation to go towards funding of our access schemes and community programmes, as well as the preservation of our listed buildings.
When will I have my place confirmed?
Visits are confirmed a week in advance. Applications cannot be made less than a week before the proposed visit.
What time should I arrive in Durham?
Depending on the type of visit (tour/workshop/event), arrival time will be discussed following your enquiry.
However, if you would like to attend a debate or address (subject to capacity and prior arrangement) then please arrive at the Debating Chamber no later than 20:15. Events end between 22:00-22:30 (but you are welcome to leave earlier). Students will have the opportunity to speak should they wish. Please specify in advance should you be interested in this, and browse this term’s upcoming events.
What does a visit involve?
Our visits usually involve a tour of Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle, and the Union buildings. We will aim to cater visits to the requests of individual schools. A short debating workshop may also be arranged, if time permits. Exact details on what your students would like from a visit, and whether there are any accessibility requirements, will be discussed upon receipt of an enquiry.