Durham, a delightful university city
surrounded on three sides by the River Wear and dominated by its cathedral, offers a wide range of facilities for visitors to enjoy. Durham has a fascinating past and a rich heritage; it is a great place to visit and makes a good base for exploring regional attractions.
Work on the cathedral began towards the end of the 11th century and completed in 1133 it is one of the finest examples of a Norman Church structure in Britain. Some of the main interior features include the vast nave, the rib vaulting, is of architectural importance.
The Chapel of the Nine Altars dates from the 13th century, at the west end of the cathedral is the Galilee Chapel, work began on the chapel in 1170 the interesting decoration inspired by the Mosque of Cordoba in Spain. The Cathedral contains the Shrines of St. Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede.
Durham Castle begun in 1072 once the home of the Prince Bishops, it became part of the University of Durham in 1832. You can visit the castle and take the guided tour which lasts around 45 minutes and takes in the enormous oak staircase, the 15th century kitchen and the Norman Chapel. You should check the times before your planned visit as the castle sometimes closes for private functions. The Cathedral and the Castle are both World Heritage Sites.
Durham has plenty of cafes, tea-rooms and restaurants, in the summer you can relax in the cobbled market place and watch the street entertainers. There are also guided walking tours around the city in the summer months which are informative and enjoyable.
Much of the shopping area is closed to traffic and you will find pathways leading to the river, some of you might like to take the lovely circular footpath walk it takes around 35 minutes and is very enjoyable. If you are looking for some stunning views take a relaxing pleasurable trip on the river.
A short walk from the city centre is the Museum of Archaeology which has displays of relics from local excavations plus temporary exhibitions. The University of Durham’s Botanic Garden is a popular attraction set in 18 acres and features exotic trees, a Tropical House, Prince Bishops Garden, butterflies and insects.
There is also a visitor centre and a café if you want refreshments. Approximately a ten minute walk from the train station will bring you to the Durham Light Infantry Museum & Art Gallery; the Art Gallery has a range of temporary exhibitions while the museum tells the story of WW1 and the men of the Durham Light Infantry who lost their lives and the proud history of the regiment.
Other museums which may interest you include the Oriental Museum with exhibits from Egypt, China and Tibet to mention just a few. Durham Heritage Centre & Museum in St. Mary le Bow Church is a local history museum telling the history of the city, on view a cell from Durham Jail and the Black Chair! This museum is closed in the winter months. There are a wide variety of shops including the well-known high street names if you feel like a little retail therapy!
Nightlife can be spent in a restaurant at the theatre or cinema; there are plenty of pubs, wine-bars and nightclubs if you want to stay out late! There should be a venue to appeal to you.
With guest houses and hotels, and in the student holidays, university rooms to rent there are various accommodation options, and about two miles north-east of the city you will find a camp site. Newcastle & Teeside airports are around 30minutes drive away and by rail from London
it takes about 3 hours to Durham city.