Tour & Tea


A Spread of Tea and Biscuits

Enjoy an in-depth Cathedral tour followed by traditional English tea with sandwiches, scones, and a scenic view of Washington.

Tour and Tea is offered every Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:30 pm, with the occasional holiday exception. The tour begins inside the nave, directly through the west entrance on Wisconsin Avenue. Tea follows at 2:45 pm in the Pilgrim Observation Gallery. The cost is $30 per person (no Cathedral admission fee is required), and reservations with payment are required in advance. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards are accepted.

Co-sponsored by Cathedral Visitor Programs and the All Hallows Guild.

Click ‘Register Now’
to see available dates
and to start your reservation.

March 2015

  • Tuesday 31 Cherry Blossom Tea

April 2015

  • Wednesday 1 Cherry Blossom Tea
  • Tuesday 7 Cherry Blossom Tea
  • Wednesday 8 Cherry Blossom Tea
  • Tuesday 14 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 15 Gothic Architecture
  • Tuesday 21 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 22 Cathedral Highlights
  • Tuesday 28 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 29 Cathedral Highlights

May 2015

  • Tuesday 5 Garden Tour
  • Wednesday 6 Cathedral Highlights
  • Tuesday 12 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 13 Cathedral Highlights
  • Tuesday 19 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 20 Cathedral Highlights
  • Tuesday 26 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 27 Cathedral Highlights

June 2015

  • Tuesday 2 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 3 Cathedral Highlights
  • Tuesday 9 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 10 Cathedral Highlights
  • Tuesday 16 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 17 Patriots in the Cathedral
  • Tuesday 23 Cathedral Highlights
  • Wednesday 24 Angels High and Low

Tour descriptions

Cathedral Highlights Tours

Cathedral Highlights includes all of the must-see features of the Cathedral, and provides the perfect introduction to the history, architecture, and artwork of the Washington National Cathedral for first-time visitors and returning friends.


Angels have been represented in art, literature, and film for centuries. These “messengers” have intrigued artists and viewers throughout history. This tour seeks angels in the myriad ways they appear throughout the Cathedral. See angels expressed in the Cathedral arts—stained glass, needlepoint, woodcarving, and stonecarving.

Cherry Blossom Tea

Experience springtime in our nation’s capital with a regular Cathedral Highlights tour followed by a special and festive tea in the tower to celebrate the beauty of cherry blossoms in bloom.

Garden Tour

The Cathedral Gardens comprise thirty of the fifty-nine acres of the close and reflect the Gothic style of cloister gardens from the Middle Ages. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the Cathedral gardens serve as home to countless perennials, herbs, and native plants. In case of inclement weather, a garden slide presentation is available inside, and the gardens can be viewed from the vantage point of the Pilgrim Observation Gallery.

Gothic Architecture

What are the basic elements shared by any Gothic building? Why is Gothic so well suited to religious structures? Through the Cathedral’s soaring walls and exquisite carvings, visitors explore the Gothic style and its unique characteristics, purposes, and building methods.

Healing Arts

Throughout the Cathedral, people practicing the healing arts are depicted in needlework, bronze, stained glass, and carved stone. From Jesus performing miracles to Florence Nightingale’s transformation of the nursing profession, tour participants explore the fascinating stories told in these varied works of art.

Holy Family

Celebrate the Christmas season with this special nativity tour. Focusing on depictions of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus throughout the Cathedral, you’ll see the Christmas story told in stone, wood, needlepoint, and stained glass. The tour culminates in a visit to Bethlehem Chapel, the oldest part of Washington National Cathedral.

Needlework (AKA Painting with Yarn)

There are over 1,500 pieces of needlework in the Cathedral, portraying historic Americans, floral patterns, baby animals, and many other work painstakingly done “for the Glory of God.” This tour reveals how the exquisite treasures of needlepoint convey messages throughout the Cathedral.

Olmsted Woods Tour

Native Plants—In the Woods and in Your Garden. Join us as we learn more about the native plants growing in the Olmsted Woods and how you can use them in your own garden.

Patriots at the Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is unique among the great cathedrals of the world in that it tells stories from American history and speaks of the American perspective. Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush have visited the Cathedral and it reaches out through its mission as a national house of prayer for all people. “Patriots at the Cathedral” explores depictions of patriots, statesmen, and heroes from George Washington to the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.

Service and Sacrifice

Examine iconography in Cathedral sculpture, stained glass, and needlework that pays tribute to many significant events in our nation’s history and honors those who have served and sacrificed for their country. The tour also chronicles members of the military who were instrumental in the planning and creation of the Cathedral.

Stained Glass

Join us for an introduction to the Cathedral’s brilliant stained glass windows. Learn how the windows tell their stories, and what stories they tell (you might be surprised!).

Women in Glass and Stone

Where else can you see Joan of Arc and Eleanor Roosevelt in one place? Women of great influence are to be found in the statuary, needlepoint, and stained glass of the Cathedral. Hear their tales and look upon the faces and symbols of these revolutionary thinkers, visionaries and saints.

Wrought Iron

Master blacksmith Samuel Yellin called wrought iron the “salt and pepper of architecture.” Explore the magic of wrought iron in the Cathedral—from fantastic creatures to stunning flowers, all unique and made by skilled hands. A wrought iron expert will explain techniques and talk about some of the master smiths who have contributed to the decoration of this great building.

Parking at the Cathedral

Parking in the Cathedral’s underground garage is free on Sundays for services and organ recitals; parking for concerts and programs is available for an event-parking fee. Learn more about parking options for individuals and groups.