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Durham Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History of Durham

    Durham is one of England's oldest cities and can trace its origins back as far as the 10th century when a group of monks decided to settle after being forced from their homes in Lindisfarne by Viking raiders. Situated on the scenic river Wear, the literal translation from old English of the name Durham is "hill on an island". From the very beginning Durham has been somewhat of...Read more a tourist hotspot, when the monks moved to Durham they brought with them the body of St Cuthbert. After his death in 687 people claimed that miracles were occurring near his grave. According to legend when his body was exhumed two years later there were no signs of decomposition. When the monks fled Lindisfarne a shrine was erected to St Cuthbert in Durham and attracted pilgrims from the length and breadth of the country until its destruction at the hands of Henry VIII in 1538. Durham's iconic Cathedral was constructed by the Normans in the late 11th and early 12th centuries and has played a part in many important historical events in UK's history. During the Civil war for example the Cathedral was used to imprison around 3,000 prisoners. Read less

  • 2. Now in Durham

    Durham today is a modern city but still very much in touch with its rustic origins. It plays host to both eccentric independent shops as well as top name brands. In 2001 Durham Cathedral was voted Britain's favourite building in a BBC poll that covered the whole country. Durham University is considered to be one of the top centres of higher education in the UK and regularly pl...Read moreaces in the top five in both the Times and the Guardian annual surveys. Durham's castle is now a college of the University and houses many students today. Read less

  • 3. Events in Durham

    Durham hosts a variety of events annually that really add to the city's character. Such events include the Durham Regatta, the Book Festival, matches and performances at Durham's County Cricket Club grounds, the Miner's Gala and the "Streets Of" Festival.

  • 4. Attractions in Durham

    Whether to worship or to just simply see one of Britain's most iconic buildings the Cathedral is not to be missed and is a must see on any trip to Durham. The building is open to members of the public all year round except on occasions when the Cathedral is used to hold events. Durham also has many museums and art galleries as well as the country's only museum specifically dedi...Read morecated to Oriental artefacts and antiquities. Durham is situated in one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of the UK and the surrounding countryside includes the Low Barns and Hedleyhope nature reserves which are home to many birds, insects and mammals. Although Durham castle is used by the University to house students, it can be still experienced by the public through informative guided tours that are affordable and run throughout the week. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do in Durham

    As well as the events hosted at Durham's many attractions there are many other activities to be done around the city. The Prince Bishop River cruiser offers sightseeing tours from the river Wear and can be hired for private functions. For those who want a more "hands on experience" boats can be hired from April to October. Water visitors can take in the best views of the Cath...Read moreedral and Castle and really experience Durham for themselves. As well as seeing Durham from the water, city guides are available to give visitors in depth tours and insights into Durham's rich history. These can be experienced either on foot or by coach. Durham also has two golf courses, Mount Oswald and Cocken Lodge both of which are brilliantly maintained by their respective clubs and allow members and visitors alike a great golfing experience. Read less

  • 6. Business in Durham

    As well as modern shops, Durham also has an indoor market which was recently voted as the UKs best privately owned market in a national awards ceremony. Caffeine lovers should definitely visit the Merry Monk coffee shop which serves a wide variety of rare coffee bean blends from across the globe as well as quality souvenirs. Durham has many fine restaurants and pubs not to men...Read moretion some very nice takeaways! Those who enjoy fine wine and food are catered for by the city's extensive choice of luxurious dining establishments. Read less

  • 7. Transport in Durham

    Durham train station is situated on the East Coast main line one stop after Newcastle and as a result is accessible from many other train stations directly without need for transfer. Durham also has a bus station and the city centre is a mere two miles from the A1 motorway. The city does not have an airport but the nearest airport in Newcastle is only a half hours drive away.

  • 8. Entertainment in Durham

    Durham's Gala theatre and cinema is one of the city's most entertaining establishments and boasts a five hundred seat capacity theatre as well as two cinema screens. In nearby Sedgefield is a racecourse that is bound to get visitors' adrenaline pumping. Who knows it might be your lucky day!

  • 9. Famous Landmarks in Durham

    As previously mentioned Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle are perhaps the two most famous features of the city, however as Durham is such a culturally and historically rich city you don't have to look far to be immersed in one of England's oldest cities.

  • 10. Interesting Facts about Durham

    The invention of mustard powder is attributed to a Mrs Clements of Durham, who made a great deal of money producing it in a mill in the 18th century. Mustard flour that is prepared in this way is still known as Durham Mustard to this day.


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