Land of the Prince Bishops: Durham Durham is arguably the jewel in the crown of the North East. It is an excellent example of a Norman City with an astonishingly beautiful cathedral, a castle and a top university. Here are a few tips to allow you to make the most of your time in the land of the Prince Bishops
At walking pace
The main sights are all situated within the city centre and easily walkable. If you intend to stay a little further afield, then taxis are available for a reasonable price. The train station is a 10 minute walk from the market place, and offers regional services, as well as direct trains to London and Manchester. If you are travelling by car, there is a convenient park and ride service situated just outside of town
The star attractions of the city
Durham is a city steeped in history, with its origin dating back to 900sADand the whole of the centre of the city is a conservation area. There are approximately 600 listed buildings in the city and plenty to see.
The World Heritage Site deserves its place, as the number 1 sight to see in Durham. This Norman cathedral is over 900 years old and is a wonder to behold. Not many cathedrals in Europe can compete with this fine specimen of architecture. Marvel at the vaulted ceilings, treasures of St Cuthbert and the exquisite cloisters. For the younger visitors, scenes from Harry Potter movies were also filmed here!
Durham Castle & University Buildings
Even though Durham Castle started its life as the Bishop’s Palace, it is now one of the many colleges of the university. Not a bad place to study! It is also a UNESCO heritage site, like the Cathedral, and the as a castle it has never been breached. There are many college buildings along The Bailey which is the street running alongside Palace Green. Wander along the cobble stones and then emerge onto the river banks and Prebends Bridge. Amble along the banks of the River Wear to catch some of the most breathtaking views of the Cathedral and Castle above.
Soak up some culture in the North East
There are many museums connected to the University, but in addition there are some great events throughout the year. The new complex Walkergate houses a cinema and theatre, which hosts some touring performances. Whether you wish to stay indoors or head outdoors, here are some recommendations of how to best spend your time in Durham
Brass: Durham International Festival
In the middle of July, the streets and parks of Durham are flooded with international Brass bands and groups. From classical to funk, traditional to ska, the whole city is brought to life with a diverse range of music! Programs are available from the tourist information.
The River Wear loops around the city, and there is also a lot of action on the water. In June, Durham Regatta is a date for the diary. Head down to the river banks to see rowers race. Even if you are not a rowing fan, there are stalls and entertainment that cater for all tastes and the atmosphere is great
Just outside of Durham is Beamish Museum. This living, working museum is a replica of life in the North East between 1820s and 1940s. Employees of the museum dress in traditional costume from the time and add to the magic of the 1940s farm, Pit Village and the Colliery. Tickets are £18.50 per adult, and the ticket is valid for 12 months
Fancy a sausage roll?
The North East has some local delicacies that are definitely worth trying. Most bakeries will sell a Sausge Roll
Zen UK Limited
Tucked away down a lane by The Court is Zen. This small restaurant speclialies in pan-asian food, with a hint of european influence. The dishes are perfect when dining along, or choose from the tapas-sized portions when eating with friends. The outside terrace is lovely in Summer or Winter. On chillier evenings, enjoy the heated lamps and a complimentary blanket. (Court Lane, County Durham, DH1 3JS)
This restaurant is situated approximately 15 minutes from the centre, but it is definitely worth the walk. This fine dining restaurant is an intimate affiar, with room for only 22 diners, in the beautiful premise, originally built in 1870. Choose 2 of 3 courses from the seasonal menu. (£32 for 2 courses, £40 for 3 courses). (The Avenue, Durham City, DH1 4DX)
Snooze in style
Here are a couple of recomendations for stylish hotels in the city centre:
Marriot Durham Royal County
The County, as the hotel is commonly referred, is the perfect location for a stay in Durham. The building itself is a classic with stunning features and some of the rooms, face onto the river. The decoration and interior is traditional and elegant. There is also a fitness room, swimming pool and sauna where you can unwind.
Radisson Blu Hotel
This hotel is one of the newer hotels in Durham, and is chic and stylish. Located just across the water from Walkergate and the great selection of bars and restaurants, the hotel retains it relaxed and tranquil feel. The hotel bar and gourmet Filini Restaurant is perfect for dining alone, or with friends/ colleagues. It has a modern feel and the staff are very attentive.