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 Durham

Destinations > UK > North East > Durham guide

Set in the unspoiled scenery of the Durham Dales, Durham City is also visually stunning. For 900 years the Norman Cathedral and castle has dominated the dramatic skyline. At the foot of the Castle and Cathedral, the city's medieval layout is still evident today. It is great fun exploring the narrow winding streets and alleys. If this is all to much hustle and bustle you can escape to the wooded riverbanks for a leisurely stroll or a boat trip.
Not only does Durham offer some exceptional Heritage and history, the surrounding area is also rich in Heritage and history. There are many medieval castles built to defend the north, which are dotted over the landscape, yet this history of defense goes back centuries to the Romans who saw the potential of this area to defend themselves from the north. Hadrian's Wall is one of the most famous walls in the world. This dramatic wall stretches the entire length of the country from Wallsend in the east to Bowness in the west. It originally stood 5 meters high, today its remains are still impressive, and its ruins are a must visit while you are in the area.
The countryside of the Durham Dales is an awarded area for outstanding natural beauty. There is so much beautiful scenery, wildlife and places to enjoy, take a picnic, a drive, a cycle or a walk. Why not visit some of the pleasant country villages all set in some of the highest and finest country in England.
There is something for everyone to enjoy whatever you age or interest.

 
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 Arts

Durham University Oriental Museum
This unique museum is devoted entirely to Oriental Art, covering all major cultures and periods of the East, form ancient Egypt, India, Tibet, China and Japan.
Location: Elvert Hill, near Trevelyan Collages off South Road A177
Telephone: 0191 374 7911

Hadrian's Wall Museum
Location: On the B6318, 3 Miles North East of Bardon Mill
Telephone: 01434 344 363

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 Attractions

Durham Cathedral
An impressive example of a Norman Cathedral, it was founded in 1093 and is the shrine of St Cuthbert.
Location: Off North Bailey on the bank of the river Wear.
Telephone: 0191 386 4266

Durham Castle
This is on eof the largest Norman Castles in England and dates from 1072.
Telephone: 0191 374 3800

Cook Hall and Gardens
Set in 4 acres of garden this magnificent house has a restored Mediaeval Hall and a Jacobean drawing room, plus much more.
Location: Sidegate, half mile North of Durham City Centre.
Telephone: 0191 384 8028

Beamish Museum
This is simply an excellent museum and a great day out. It is one of the leading tourist attractions in the area. Beamish is a large open-air museum that recreates life in the north of England in the 1800's and 1900's. Visit the turn of the century Town with shops, houses, pub, newspaper office, garage, sweet shop, plus much more. Visit the real 'drift' mine in the colliery village and visit the train station. There is also more to see at Beamish like the Manor House and farmhouse kitchen. There are costumed staff waiting for you to come and explore.
Location: On the A693, signposted from the A1 (M), Chester-le-Street exit, junction 63.
Telephone: 01207 231 811

Durham Heritage Centre and Museum
Housed in a Mediaeval Church see exhibit of the cities and surrounding areas history.
Location: St Mary le Bow Church, North Bailey
Telephone: 0191 386 8719

Durham University Botanic Garden
A Beautiful an ore inspiring 18 acre garden, wonder around the exotic trees from America and the Himalayas.
Location: Hollingside Lane, off South Road A177 (near Collingwood Collage)
Telephone: 0191 374 7971

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 History

Durham has a unique history perhaps the most unique in England. In 1072 William The Conqueror gave a special blend of civil and religious authority to the Bishops of Durham. For many years they held ecclesiastical and political sovereignty over Durham. This strong political force was designed to deter Scottish invasion into the border country. The Bishops had their own armies, own taxes, own courts and coined their own money, in all but name they were kings. The power of the Bishops was so extensive that even the Doomsday Survey stopped at the County boundary.
Today the massive impact that the Prince Bishops of Durham had on the area is still evident. Their power is ever present in Castles, parks, villages, towns, place names and churches, and of course Durham City itself. Durham Cathedral and castle are still imposing symbols of the power of the Bishops, leaving little doubt were the center of this almost independent kingdom lay in earlier years.
Durham Castle and Cathedral are world heritage sites and have dominated the city skyline for nine centuries. The castle is one of the largest preserved Norman strongholds in England. The Cathedral is widely acclaimed as one of the finest buildings in the world and is certainly visually stunning.
Coupled with this Durham is home to the third oldest university after Oxford and Cambridge.

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 Leisure

There are many sports and leisure activities to pursue in Durham and the surrounding area. There is walking and cycling in the surrounding countryside of the Durham Dales, which are simply stunning, or take a country drive. Why not visit one of the most famous walls in the world. Just a short Drive North and you will be able to visit the remains of Hadrian's Wall. There are many good places to see stretches and remains of the old Roman Wall. One of the best is on the B6318, three miles north east of Bardon Mill, from here you can see a good stretch of the wall, the remains of granaries, barracks, hospital and the ingenious latrines. Here you will see not only the Roman fort but there is a great museum as well.
Durham itself offers everything from a swimming pool complex, boating on the river Wear, to a more relaxed stroll around the Botanic Gardens.Weardale Mountain Bikes
Offers Guided Tours, Hire & sale
Location: Frosterley, County Durham
Telephone: 01388 528 129

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 Restaurants


Chinese

Hong Sing
Location: 92 Claypath
Telephone: 0191 386 1799

New Kwailam
Location: 32A Saddler Street
Telephone: 0191 386 4726

The New Dragon
Location: 72 Claypath
Telephone: 0191 384 8683


Indian

Shaheen's Indian Bistro
Location: 48 North Bailey
Telephone: 0191 386 0960

Millennium
Location: 30 Front Street, Framwellgate Moor, (A couple of miles from the city center)
Telephone: 0191 384 3672

Rajpooth Tandoori
Location: 80 Claypath
Telephone: 0191 386 1496


Italian

Sorrento's
Location: 16 Elvet Bridge
Telephone: 0191 386 4618

Ristorante Rossellini
Location: 70 Claypath
Telephone: 0191 386 1643

Ricardo's
Location: 17 Hallgarth Street
Telephone: 0191 384 4007

Emilio's
Location: 96 Elvet Bridge
Telephone: 0191 384 0096


Mexican

El Molino's
Location: St Nicholas Cottage, Durham Markets
Telephone: 0191 383 9444

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 Shopping

Durham is excellent for shopping there are plenty of facilities and loads of shops. There is everything from small unique shop with everything from unusual clothes to great crafts. There are big named stores, high street names, department stores and boutiques. All of the shops are set in wonderful surroundings, why not take a break from shopping and wonder round the Cathedral and castle or take a stroll down by the river. There are also plenty of coffee shops and cafes to rest in. Durham also has a pedestrianised area making it extra safe when you are wondering around looking at the great architecture that is around every corner. For the essential all weather shopping Durham has the Millburngate indoor shopping center and the historical market is a must to visit.

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 Transport


Air

Newcastle International Airport is the nearest airport to Durham.


Car

Durham is only 20 minutes drive from Newcastle, and is easily accessed by car from the A1M, A68 and A69. Ones in the center there are many car parks to choice from in different parts of the city, all of which are sign posted.


Coach

Durham's bus station is in the center of the city on North Road. Here there are regular services to the local area. If you are planning to travel to Durham by coach National Express Coach services run all over the U.K. offering a good service from a wide range of pick up points and destinations.
Telephone: National Express - 0990 80 80 80


Rail

Durham's Train Station is in the city center, if you are walking there it is just off Millburngate Bridge Roundabout, here you take the footpath that takes you over and across the road. By car it is off the same roundabout onto Framwellgate Peth. There are services to Durham from all over the U.K. if not direct with good connections.
Telephone: 0345 48 49 50

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