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Travel / Tours / England / Durham
Photos of Durham
  Durham Cathedral
  Durham Castle
  Durham University
  Oriental Museum
  Durham School
  Riverside walk
  Other attractions
  Further information


Durham is a small city with a population of about 89,000. It is a historic location, with both a cathedral and castle. The river and green spaces make it a very attractive place to live or to visit, with many lovely views. Express trains from London King's Cross take about 3 hours to reach Durham.

Railway bridge into Durham

North-east England train company

Map of Durham city centre

Durham City Guide
Publisher: Jarrold Publishing
Date: May 2001
Durham Cathedral
Publisher: Jarrold Publishing
Date: February 2001
City of Durham (map)
Publisher: Geographers' A-Z Map Company
Date: August 2004

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Durham Cathedral is built on a hill, so there are beautiful views of it from many parts of the city. Its construction was started in 1093. The building is the first one in the world to use vaulting (large stone arches). The cloisters were used during the filming of the Harry Potter films (local schoolchildren were also used in the film). If you are energetic you can pay a small amount to climb the 364 steps to the top of the clock tower, for excellent views of the city. For further information, see:


View from the south

View from the west

View from the top of the cathedral tower

Cathedral window

Crest of Saint Cuthbert

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After William the Conqueror invaded England, he wanted to create a strong defence against the Scots in the north. He therefore created the title of Prince Bishop, with this person being chosen by agreement between the king and by the local monks. The Prince Bishop was allowed to raise local taxes, to keep a local army and to make some of his own laws. He lived in Durham Castle. The last Prince Bishop was appointed in 1833. Because England was at peace with Scotland by this time, it was decided that he could no longer have the right to raise local taxes. He could not afford to live in the castle, so decided to give it to Durham University. It is still part of the university today. To go inside the castle you need to pay for one of the guided tours which are offered, or you can enjoy a virtual tour of Durham Castle at the following website:

The gatehouse (entrance) of the castle

Arms of Prince Bishop Tunstal,
engraved on walls in the castle
(the symbols on the right
are sheep combs)

Guided tours inside the castle

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Durham University was founded in 1832 and today has about 12,000 students and 11 colleges.

St Mary's College, Durham University

Durham Students' Union

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The Oriental Museum is part of Durham University. It includes art and archaeology from cultures in Asia, the Near East and the Islamic cultures of North Africa. There is a small admission charge. The website is:

Museum entrance

Japanese kite (Noshiro style)

Tomb figures of the Tang Dynasty

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Durham School is an independent boarding school, located not far from Durham Cathedral:

Entrance to Durham School

Rugby game

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In addition to the cathedral, there are many attractive churches within Durham.

St Nicholas' Church
(Market Place)

St Oswald's Church
(Church Street)

St Godrics' Church
(Roman Catholic)

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There are attractive walks along the River Wear, south of Framwelgate Bridge and Elvet Bridge.

Framwelgate Bridge

Path along the River Wear

At the southern entrance to Prebends Bridge is an inscription of words written by the famous poet Sir Walter Scott about the town: "Grey towers of Durham, Yet well I love thy mixed and massive piles, Half church of God half castle against the Scot, And long to roam these venerable aisles, With records stored of deeds long since forgot".

Prebends Bridge

Poem by Sir Walter Scott

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Crook Hall is a 14th century manor house with attractive gardens. See:
The Botanic Gardens belong to the university and can be visited:

Crook Hall

Botanic Gardens

Between Durham and Newcastle is an open air museum called Beamish. This is a recreation of a village in North England in 1913, and of a manor house and railway in 1825.

(c) Beamish, The North of England Open Air Museum
Sweet shop (1913)
(c) Beamish, The North of England Open Air Museum
Mine (1913)
(c) Beamish, The North of England Open Air Museum
Omnibus (1913)

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* Visitor information
Durham Tourism:
Discover County Durham:

* Transportation
Train timetables and tickets to Durham: Shop/Company/TheTrainline
Coach timetables and tickets to Durham: Shop/Company/NationalExpress

* Weather forecast
BBC weather forecast for Durham:

* More photos
360 degree panoramic pictures:

Lonely Planet verdict: Durham
"Durham is a dramatic surprise of a city. It's beautiful, occupying hilly, wooded land cut by the River Wear, and dominated by an extraordinary hill-top Norman cathedral ... Durham has remained small and neat, with steep, pretty streets and profusely leafy riverbanks unmarred by development ... Since 1832 Durham has been home to a university ... Durham is centred around this rich institution and the constant flow of secular and religious pilgrims, who mingle with students along the lovely river paths, in gentle pubs and attractive restaurants"
(extracts from "Lonely Planet Great Britain - 2003 edition", used with permission)
Lonely Planet Great Britain
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Date: May 2009
Lonely Planet England
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Date: March 2009
Other Lonely Planet publications

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Places in this region:
Newcastle: Travel/Tours/England/Newcastle
Carlisle: Travel/Tours/England/Carlisle
Scarborough: Travel/Tours/England/Scarborough

Cathedral cities:
Canterbury: Travel/Tours/England/Canterbury
Lincoln: Travel/Tours/England/Lincoln
Winchester: Travel/Tours/England/Winchester
York: Travel/Tours/England/York

Other topics related to this page:
University courses: Course/University

Home page: Home

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