Travel & Tourism Tips

durham town centreDurham was born in 1090, after the Normans took over the city. The cathedral castle, which is now famous throughout the world, was created during that time. The cathedral was built to house the remains of St. Cuthbert, as well as to serve as a protective fortress against the Scots.
The Durham Castle has housed prince-bishops, who were in essence kings of the northern territories. It has also borne witness to a pilgrimage of Christians who want to pay tribute to St. Cuthbert.

Aside from the cathedral castle, Durham is now home to a university, which was built on the castle’s cornerstone. The university gives a spectacular view of the coast and is also a good starting point in exploring the rolling hills and Durham Dales waterfalls.

Getting To and Around Durham

durham streetYou can take the trains from the King’s Cross Station in London, which arrive every hour. The trip from King’s Cross to Durham will take three hours. Trains from York depart in 15-minute intervals and will arrive an hour after the King’s Cross trip.

The National Express bus will also take you to Durham from London. There are two trips in a day, and it takes five hours to get to Durham. If you decide to drive down on your own, go by way of A1 (M) north, and that will take you to the city.

Durham Attractions

Durham Cathedral

durham cathedralCompleted in the year 1133, this cathedral has undergone a forty-year renovation status. It is considered the best preserved Norman citadel and is also the largest in Britain. It is quite an amazing structure, one that never fails to astound many visitors. It boasts of an innovative architecture, very advanced during its time. It is the first English structure that possesses a ribbed vault type of construction. It also holds the title as Europe ‘s very first stone-roofed cathedral, done so due to the fact that it also served as a protective stronghold.

After marveling at its remarkable architecture, you can then explore the treasury, where you can find authentic relics, like the 12th century doorknocker, the St. Cuthbert’s final resting, and some ancient manuscripts. Christian devotees can attend mass in the sanctuary.

Exploring other areas of the cathedral, such as the tower, the treasury, and the Monk’s dormitory may require an additional fee. However, entrance to the cathedral is free of charge, but donations are accepted.

Durham Castle

Located across the Durham Cathedral, opposite the Palace Green, the Durham Castle was the official seat of prince-bishops in the olden days, serving this function for about 800 years. It was transformed into a local college in 1832, then was eventually turned into Durham University. The University College can still be found in this structure. When school is out, the castle functions as a quaint bed and breakfast for visitors and tourists.

Guided tours are offered, and admission prices may vary. There is a discount for children, and family tickets are also sold.

North of England Open Air Museum

This open-air museum is located west of Chester-le-Street, about 13 kilometers southwest of Newcastle, about 19 kilometers northwest of Durham. It features a lifelike recreation of an early 19 the century village, complete with staff in costumes, who act as the villagers would back in their day. In this village, you will find shops, pubs, houses, farms, a newspaper office, a Methodist chapel, a small village school, and a railway station.

It is best to visit this museum during summer, so you can explore the entire village, which will take about four hours. A winter visit will only last two hours, as it only includes the town and the railway station.

Oriental Museum

Located in Elvet Hill, just off South Road, this is the only museum in the country which focuses on Eastern art and culture. It features collections of relics from oriental countries such as China, Japan, and Tibet, as well as art from different periods from ancient Egypt and India.

Events

July holds one of the best festivals in Durham -the Durham Folk Festival. During the festivities, everybody is free to sing, or dance to the music,and almost all the events held do not require admission. This is also a great time to pack your camping gear and set up your tents at the River Wear, but make sure you arrive ahead of the others so you can pick your spot.

The Durham Regatta, meanwhile, is held in June, and hordes of people troop to the riverbank to cheer for their crew.

Important Durham Visitor Information

For any inquiries, you can head over to the Durham Tourist Office at Millenium Place. It stays open all year, from 930am to 530pm during Mondays to Saturdays, and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Useful Durham Links and Resources

For train/rail information
http://www.railtrack.co.uk

National Express Bus
http://www.nationalexpress.com

Durham Cathedral
http://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk

North of England Open Air Museum
http://www.beamish.org.uk

Durham University
http://www.dur.ac.uk

Durham County Council Information Service
http://www. durham .gov.uk

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