Days out in Durham
Admire Britain’s finest Norman architecture in this ancient and beautiful university city
Durham, in the north east of England, is a city with
'wow!'-factor. Visitors cannot fail to be impressed upon their
first viewing: Durham is beautiful. It was founded at the end of
the first century when monks from the 'holy island' of Lindisfarne
chose an elevated peninsula on the River Wear to establish their
new church; a resting place for the body of Saint Cuthbert.
By the eleventh century Durham was regarded as one of the holiest sites in England, but the invading Norman's recognised the strategic importance of the city's elevated position and in 1072 furthered their conquest of England by building a castle and subsequently replacing the existing 'modest' church with a magnificent cathedral in 1093. Today, Durham's Castle and Cathedral complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is recognised for its historic importance and as some of the finest surviving Norman architecture in Europe.
Whilst Durham's castle and cathedral are undoubtedly unmissable, the cobbled streets of its compact city centre - a designated conservation area - are lined with historic and listed buildings.
There's more to Durham than fine architecture, however. This vibrant university city offers many attractions including an excellent indoor market; a selection of unique speciality shops; a diversity of art galleries and museums and some delightful public gardens in which to relax and enjoy the views of this remarkable city.