The 14th century Great Kitchen is one of the highlights of the Cathedral's award-winning museum experience, Open Treasure. Today, it houses the Treasures of St Cuthbert, but it has seen many changes over the centuries. This exhibition explores its history, how it was built, and gives an insight into the food and drink that would have been prepared there.
The latest temporary exhibition at Open Treasure, the award-winning museum experience at Durham Cathedral, illuminates the story of the food eaten by its inhabitants over the centuries. Read the rules dictating how the Benedictine monks of Durham Priory ate, and discover what was eaten at the Cathedral’s lavish banquets over the centuries.
The highlights of the exhibition are collections of recipes cooked in the Great Kitchen through the centuries. See the oldest known medieval recipe book, recipes from King Richard II’s cook, and the illustrated cookbook of John Thacker, cook to the Dean and Chapter between 1739-1758.
The octagonal Great Kitchen is one of only two surviving monastic kitchens, and was an active kitchen for over 570 years. Built by architect John Lewyn and completed in 1370, it provided those who lived and worked at the Cathedral facilities for everything from the preparation of everyday meals to sumptuous entertaining.
After learning the Great Kitchen’s fascinating history, continue your journey through Open Treasure to the kitchen itself, now the home of the anglo-saxon Treasures of St Cuthbert.
Open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm (last entry 4pm) and Sundays, 12.30pm – 5pm (last entry 4pm).