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Destination: Durham Tours

Description: Delightful university city packed with history and glorious countryside
Region: North East England
Pronounced: du-ram
Time to spend here: 3 hours - 1 day
Historical TownHistory loversWalking fanatics
Durham, North East England

Near the end of the 10th century monks on the island of Lindisfarne fled from Viking invaders and eventually settled in the area on which the city of Durham now stands. A short time later the Normans invaded England and eventually took control of Durham from the Saxons. In 1072 The Normans built a castle in the city so they could keep its inhabitants in order. In 1093 the Norman Bishop William of Calais began a Cathedral.

Today both castle and Cathedral form one of the most stunning city panoramas in Europe and have been given World Heritage Site status,  which along with the city’s winding cobbled streets and cosmopolitan cafes, make it one of the finest cultural and historic destinations in the UK.

Local Activities
Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral, Durham
Durham CathedralDurham Cathedral is one of the few cathedrals in England to retain almost all of its Norman craftsmanship and original design.  Even as you walk along Durham’s medieval streets, the Cathedral’s imposing beauty cannot be missed. Once inside the interior is striking. 
Durham Castle
Durham Castle, Durham
Durham CathedralDurham Castle is now part of Durham University (England’s 3rd oldest university after Oxford and Cambridge). The castle was commisioned by William the Conqueror but has undergone adaptations over the centuries and can be visited by guided tour only.
Oriental Museum
Oriental Museum, Durham
Durham CathedralInside the castle the Oriental Museum is dedicated to the art and archaeology of the Orient. Highlights include one of the largest and finest collections of Chinese artefacts in Europe and an ancient Egyptian collection
Crook Hall and Gardens
Crook Hall and Gardens, Durham
Durham CathedralCrook Hall & Gardens are just a short walk from the city's bustling market place. With the 13th century medieval hall as a backdrop, you can enjoy wandering through the beautiful gardens and admiring the sculptures along the way.
What can I see in the area?
Beamish Open Air Museum
Beamish Open Air Museum
Durham CathedralBeamish Open Air Museum, set in 300 acres of beautiful countryside, tells the story of how the industrial revolution and the coming of the railways impacted the people of North-East England. Period trams and buses help you move between the different museum locations. You can also take a ride on a mine train. 
Barnard Castle
Barnard Castle, Durham
Durham CathedralBarnard Castle, 25 miles from Durham is both castle and town.  Set on a high rock above the River Tees, the ruined Castle takes it name from its 12th-century founder, Bernard de Balliol. It was subsequently used to keep out the Scots.  The town itself has a number of atmospheric old pubs and quaint old shops.
Bowes Museum
The Bowes Museum, Durham
Durham CathedralThe Bowes Museum in French style chateaux,  in a serene gardens and parkland setting has 3 floors worth of European fine and decorative arts going back as far as the middle ages plus the museum’s most popular exhibit a  life size mechanical silver swan, which operates at 12.30pm and 3.30pm.  
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Durham CathedralNewcastle-upon-Tyne is a lively and friendly city 15 miles north of Durham, with a wide appeal and a pleasing array of attractions.  See Newcastle page for more details.
Multi-attraction Passes Recommended for this destination:
English Heritage Pass

English Heritage pass
Hudson Heritage Explorer Pass

Hudson Heritage Explorer Pass
This is a great base for exploring: Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Yorkshire Moors, Northumberland
Transport options in this area: Durham can be reached by train and navigated comfortably on foot. The local countryside is best seen with a car,
Did you know:

A resident of Durham, a Mrs Clements, produced the worlds first paste mustard in 1720.
"It's wonderful, a perfect little city.... If you have never been to Durham, go there at once. Take my car. It's wonderful."
Bill Bryson
Newcastle Newcastle Yorkshire Dales Yorkshire Dales
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