A cosmopolitan university community in a Medieval citadel
urham offers the best of both worlds, with a majestic skyline bringing together medieval heritage and urban innovation. Stroll along the banks of the River Wear and visit the iconic Cathedral, before heading out into the unspoilt countryside of the Durham Dales and Vale of Durham. It’s the perfect place for a life-affirming blast of fresh air.
History and Heritage
Durham’s dramatic landscape is studded with historic buildings, none more impressive than Raby Castle . Its Baron’s Hall was where the 700 Earls of the North plotted their unsuccessful Catholic uprising against Elizabeth I.
Arts and Culture
Set in a French-style chateau, the collection of art at Bowes Museum is just as impressive as the exterior, with works by Goya and El Greco on show. For a treat from the East, the Durham University Oriental Museum is dedicated to the art and archaeology of the Orient, including intricately carved rhinoceros horns from China.
The best Cathedral on Planet Earth.
Must See Attractions
Don’t miss the opportunity to feel the spray of the High Force Waterfall as the River Tees tumbles spectacularly into a plunge pool. Soak up the calming atmosphere at the medieval Crook Hall , or stroll around the exotic trees at Durham’s University Botanic Garden . Or go over to the dark side and descend the mine at the North of England Lead Mining Museum .
For mountain bike enthusiasts there’s a cracking downhill course at Hamsterley , as well as a skills section where you can perfect your tricks. Adrenaline junkies will also love parachuting or the ropes activity course available. And then there are incredible walks through the Durham Dales or along the Heritage Coast . This truly is one of the most picturesque parts of the country, so give yourself time to immerse yourself in the scenery and tranquil atmosphere.
In Durham, explore the atmospheric vennels and stylish boutiques off Silver Street and Saddler Street. For handmade crafts be sure to visit the artists’ studios at Fowlers Yard . Or head out into the county, where you’ll find lively market towns such as Barnard Castle , which is a great place to pick up antiques.
For a healthy blast of brass in July check out the international acts performing at the Brass: Durham International Festival . Streets of Summer Festivals sees the historic streets brought bang up-to-date with dance, folk music and street performers on display throughout August. The cream of literary talent also descends on the Durham Book Festival making it a must for all bookworms.
Take a trip to Hall Hill Farm and feed and pet the cuddly animals. For an altogether manlier experience visit Diggerland which is home to a great selection of monster machinery. Alternatively, bounce, zoom and climb your way around the Adventure Valley so they can burn off some of that excess energy.
Psst... Handy Hints
For a romantic excursion take a rowing boat along the River Wear.
Enjoy a glass of champers and strawberries along the old Tanfield Railway line near Causey Arch - always a perfect picnic spot.
Discover the legend of the Sanctuary Knocker that is displayed at the Treasures of St Cuthbert in the Cathedral .
Head to the Old Mill House for lunch and the ultimate view of the Cathedral.
Part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty...Durham Dales
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