DurhamCopyright: Dave Head/Shutterstock.com
DurhamNot without reason, Durham is regarded as a historical city with a fascinating history. With its numerous Heritage sites, Durham is considered, by many, the spiritual capital of northern England as well as one of its most beautiful and unspoilt medieval centres. The medieval city sits atop a craggy hill encircled on three sides by the River Wear. Its panoramic view of the Cathedral and Castle is a relict of the Norman conquest and described as "one of the finest architectural experiences of Europe".
The CityShrouded in mystery and intrigue, Durham is a captivating place with a rich if not slightly turbulent history. The prosperity of the city naturally developed around the Norman Cathedral, St Cuthbert’s Shrine, which has been attracting pilgrims for the past 900 years and has been used as a venue for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. No less spectacular is Durham Castle. Built during the Norman invasion, it is now used as a college of Durham University. With its picturesque view of these ancient sites, Durham is the perfect location for a stroll along the river to delve into its history. The Industrial Age gave prominence to County Durham at the heart of the vital coal fields, and saw the creation of the world’s first passenger railway in 1825. Step back in time into the Industrial Revolution and visit the Railway or Mining Museum during your stay. Today, the city of Durham serves not only as a major tourist venue, but also as a centre for culture, education (The University of Durham is England’s third oldest behind Oxford and Cambridge), spirituality and commerce. Boasting a striking coastal scenery and countryside, Durham also has a lot to offer beautiful nature and landscape. Explore the country's beauty by walking or cycling in one of the numerous National Parks or along the coastline.
Do & See
Only a short journey away there’s plenty of interest in this compact region that’s bursting with activity, visual drama and history. A dramatic coastline of sandy beaches and towering cliffs, gentle and untamed countryside sprinkled heavily with pretty villages, grand castles and some of the most unique and wonderful collections of museums and heritage sites in all England.
Durham is a university city attracting students from across the globe, so the restaurant scene has adapted and found itself in a position to boast culinary fare from most corners of the planet. This is not to say that local delicacies from the nearby sea ports and farming land have been ignored. After years of scorn at both home and abroad British cooking and ingredients have found a new respect and recognition.
In true English spirit, you can find a great number of cosy places to indulge in an Afternoon tea. Of course, there are several alternatives if tea is not really your passion, such as delicious cakes and biscuits or tasteful sandwiches.
Bars & Nightlife
Like all major towns and cities, Durham has a lively and kaleidoscopic bar scene. New fashionable and trendy bars are opening all the time, while the more traditional and quintessential British drinking house, the pubs, remain ever popular with locals, students and tourists. With its cobbles, centuries of spiritual heritage and old-world feel, Durham is perhaps not normally associated with a lively up to the minute nocturnal scene. However, the nightclubs do what they do very well, particularly those around the North Road district of the city.
Despite its compactness, Durham offers a wide range of shopping options amongst the intimate lanes and atmospheric narrow streets, much of which is closed to traffic making for a pleasant and relaxed experience. Its Victorian Market, monthly Farmer’s Market add additional colour and life on selected days throughout the week while The Prince Bishop’s Centre and Gates’ Centre offer all the high street and designer brands one could wish for. Unique to the city is the Fowler’s Yards, where artists and craftspeople create and sell their specialities such as glass, metal and textile work. There is even a micro brewery.