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The Observatory building is just a five minute walk away from Sheraton Park.

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Footpath from Sheraton Park to the Observatory (yellow line). The yellow dotted line indicates the footpath leading further up to Observatory Hill. Please avoid using the asphalt road marked in pink if possible, as the residents by that road do not appreciate through traffic.

The building is almost 200 years old and boasts the second longest unbroken meteorological record of any university in the UK [Source]. Please be mindful of the instruments that continue to collect meteorological data in front of the building and do not disturb them.

Durham Observatory

Observatory Access & Rooms

The key for the observatory and the rooms within in can be borrowed from the Sheraton House reception in exchange for your student ID. Only members of the GCR (Ustinov students who paid the GCR levy) can borrow the keys. The person who signed out the keys is responsible for leaving the rooms in the state they found them in and for returning the keys. The building may be accessed between 10am and 10pm daily – please make sure to leave the building by the curfew. University Security will check the observatory after 10pm to ensure that it has been vacated.

Inside the observatory, the Ustinov GCR has access to two rooms on the ground floor, as well as a bathroom and small kitchen. The rooms will be heated in winter, but there is no WiFi.

The room immediately to your left as you enter the building is Fisher Room, a multi-purpose common room. It contains comfortable sofas and a pool table, making it the perfect spot to relax with your friends.

The room in the back of the building is the Music Room. Here you can practice on the GCR-owned pianos, guitars, and drumset, or bring your own instruments to play without disturbing anyone.

Music Room

Observatory Rules

  1. Access to the Observatory is limited to GCR members and members of GCR-affiliated societies when these use the rooms within the Observatory.
  2. The key to the Observatory can be borrowed from the Sheraton porters. Whoever signs out the key is responsible for leaving the Observatory rooms in the state they found them in (tidy up after yourselves!) and for returning the key as quickly as possible.
  3. If the path is muddy, please wipe off your shoes thoroughly upon entering the building.
  4. You may use the toilets and the small kitchen in the Observatory, but please leave both in the state you found them in.
  5. All rooms apart from Fisher Room, the Music Room, the kitchen, and the toilet are out of bounds. Please do not attempt to enter any of the storage rooms downstairs or the upper floor.
  6. Usage times are from 8am to 11pm every day. You must vacate the building by the curfew. University Security will come to check!
  7. Please ensure that all curtains are closed, and all lights are off when you leave the building.
  8. In case of emergencies, please contact the Ustinov porters: 07521 004069 or 07824 131678
  9. Observatory rooms can be booked on the website https://ustinovgcr.com/observatory/, where existing bookings can also be viewed.
  10. GCR members can book Fisher Room and the Music Room up to one week in advance. There is no restriction on how long you can book them for, just please be reasonable.
  11. GCR-affiliated societies can book the rooms as far in advance as they wish and are welcome to submit regular weekly bookings.
  12. Wipe down all surfaces and touch points of the instruments you used after you’re finished. Wipes are in the dispensers by the door.
  13. Use the hand sanitiser by the observatory entrance before entering any room.
Fisher Room

Observatory Room Booking

The following calendar shows you current bookings of the rooms within the Observatory. Blue are Music Room bookings, pink are Fisher Room bookings. Please scroll down to the form below to submit a booking!

To book the Music Room or Fisher Room, please fill in the form below. Please keep your bookings to a reasonable duration!