On the day

Your graduation day will be one of the most memorable days of your life. Make sure you are well prepared for the whole experience so you can make the most of this momentous occasion.

Arriving on campus

Free parking (including accessible parking) is available for everyone in our main car parks. Accessible parking is also available at the Cathedral. We recommend booking this online in advance.

When you drive onto campus there will be clear signage and marshals guiding you to the car parks and to the check-in marquee.

If you are travelling via public transport or walking then simply head to the Austin Pearce Piazza to check-in with your guests.

Follow signage to the check-in marquee where you will be greeted by our friendly team to get your graduation day started. You'll be given your wristbands and your ceremony seat number (applicable to graduands only) and if you have indicated a member of your party will have difficulty making their way to the Cathedral on foot, a Cathedral car park permit.

Left luggage facility

If you have any luggage or items that can't be taken into the Cathedral, then head to the information point on the Austin Pearce Piazza and a member of staff will help store it for you.


We will have a florist based on the Piazza for all your flower needs, so you don't have to travel with bouquets.

After check-in

You will be directed to the Austin Pearce Building where you will be able to collect your robes and take part in studio photography.

Our partners Ede and Ravenscroft will be on hand to assist you with robing. All robes should be pre-booked to avoid disappointment on the day.  However, some spare robes will be available to hire on the day but this supply is limited in number.

After robing you can visit the photography studios for those all-important graduation snaps.

You and your guests should then make your way to the Cathedral for the ceremony via the flight of steps adjacent to Wates House. If you have been given a Cathedral parking permit then you should make your way back to the car park and drive up to the Cathedral.

At the Cathedral

The entrance to the Cathedral is via the main doors and is by wristband only.

To help keep everyone safe bag checks will be in progress so please be prepared to open small bags for a quick bag search just before you enter the Cathedral.

The following items are not permitted in the Cathedral but you can make use of the left luggage facility at the Austin Pearce Piazza:

  • Large bags and suitcases
  • Selfie sticks
  • Helium balloons
  • Food and drink (water is allowed).

You'll be able to leave any flowers on a table in the Cathedral.

Toilets are available in the Cathedral refectory building.

Mobile phones should be switched to silent during the ceremony.

Doors open to the Cathedral  approximately 1 hour before each ceremony is due to start.

All graduands must be seated 30 minutes before the start of your ceremony

All guests must be seated 15 minutes before the start of your ceremony

The walk from the Austin Pearce piazza takes approximately 10 minutes and there will be bag checks at the Cathedral which can take a further 10 to 15 minutes.  We strongly advise that you leave the piazza at least 30 minutes before you need to be seated.


  • Guests are not generally allocated a seat number so are advised to arrive early in the Cathedral to choose their seats. 
  • Guests are asked to remain seated and not block the view of others for the duration of the ceremony.
  • Graduands are allocated a seat and are seated in the block to the back right of the Cathedral and should approach their seats using the right hand aisle. They should show their wristband to the steward at the end of their row who will direct them to the correct seat and register their attendance. Please ensure that you are in the correct seat at least 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony.
  • There is limited seating in the West Gallery (upstairs) which will be used if the ceremony is particularly full.  This will be opened once the main body of the Cathedral has been filled.  Some seats upstairs do have a restricted view.

Cathedral helpdesk

There is a helpdesk located inside the Cathedral if you have any questions. Please note that this desk is manned for 1 hour before each ceremony is due to commence and we will only be able to deal with enquiries relating to that ceremony. This desk will not have any payment facilities.

During the ceremony

If you are one of the first two graduands to be presented, a member of staff will show you the route you need to take before the ceremony begins.

When the fanfare commences and the academic procession begins to walk down the central aisle, you should stand until the Presiding Officer has taken their seat.

Once the Presiding Officer has taken their seat the congregation may sit. The Dean or Residentiary Canon of Guildford Cathedral will welcome everyone.  Following this welcome the President and Vice-Chancellor or nominated deputy will make a welcome speech.  After this speech, there will be the presentation of Graduands.

Graduands are presented by Faculty/Institution and alphabetically within each course. A member of staff will signal to graduands when to move from their seats and will regulate the flow of the procession to the platform. Graduands will proceed to the platform by the right-hand aisle.

Names will be checked by staff at the foot of the platform steps, and, as their name is called, each graduand will mount the steps and walk across the platform, stopping to shake hands with the Presiding Officer, pausing briefly for a photograph, and the Dean of Faculty/Institution. The Presiding Officer should be addressed as “Sir” or “Madam”.

A photograph will be taken of you as you cross the stage.

Graduands walk off the platform and return to their seats via the left-hand aisle, pausing to have a second photograph taken in the aisle.

Halfway through the Graduand presentation there will be a pause in proceeding where there will either be the presentation and conferment of an Honorary Graduand, or an address from a guest speaker. Following this the presentation of Graduands will continue.

Following the presentation of Graduands there may be a speech from a graduate of the ceremony. This will precede the closing address from the Presiding Officer.

After a closing address by the Presiding Officer, the platform party will process up the centre aisle, followed by academic staff and then a double file of new graduates who leave the cathedral by the main doors.

Once the graduates have processed out of the Cathedral their guests should follow them out.

Celebratory reception

The Greatest Show continues in The Marquee with all graduands invited to attend a free vintage circus-themed reception. Guests can look forward to a delicious afternoon tea with champagne, unlimited refreshments, complimentary candy floss and pick 'n' mix, as well as brilliant photo opportunities, live entertainment and a fantastic atmosphere.

This takes place immediately after your ceremony, so please arrive promptly to make sure that you and your guests have plenty of time to enjoy the reception.

All those entering the celebratory marquee must have a valid wristband. You can book your wristbands and tickets online.

Graduation programme

Download or view a copy of your graduation programme and programme supplement:

More about the day

Find out everything you need to know about your graduation.