Construction of Durham’s world-famous cathedral began over 1,000 years ago and took 40 years to complete. The result is a magnificent Romanesque building which has witnessed great moments in British history, even doubling as a prison for 3,000 Scots during the Civil War.
Home to the shrine of St Cuthbert, the cathedral’s stunning arches and beautiful stained glass windows are truly awe-inspiring. This is a simply unmissable destination and for good reason is considered Durham’s top attraction, which should be a top priority on your list of things to do when visiting the city.
The frequent trains to Durham allow tourists to be dropped off nearby to all the top attractions. Durham’s 13th century Crook Hall located just a few minutes’ walk from the station, feels to all the world like a countryside hideaway. The hall itself is a pretty, listed building, but the gardens are the star attraction. Transforming with the seasons and playing host to a range of events from simple guided tours to fairytale adventures, they hold many secrets including secluded corners, a maze, Shakespeare Garden and a nice spot for an afternoon tea. Crook Hall and gardens is wonderfully tranquil destination.
Durham’s Castle is a world heritage site and possibly the grandest student halls of residence on the planet. As its home to University College undergraduates, the only way to see beyond the ramparts is by taking a guided tour of this top attraction. These take place regularly during university term times with the frequency upped when students are away.
The Castle’s stunning halls, chapel and courtyard are well worth a look. Plus this is a great place to grab another vantage point over a beautiful, historic city.
Image credit: © Robert Harding World Imagery / Alamy
At the heart of a £15m development overlooking the river Wear, the Gala Theatre offers a range of things to do from live performances and cinema screenings all year round. With turns ranging from visiting ballets to guest talks by TV historian David Starkey reflecting Durham’s rich heritage, be sure you check out the venue’s eclectic listings guide next time you are in town.
Nearby are a clutch of eateries and meeting places including Ebony champagne bar where the bubbly flows as the river winds below.
Trains to Durham, together with a short bus ride, or 30 minute hilly walk, allow tourists to easily visit the Botanic Garden on the southern edge of Durham.It's a mixed zone of learning, research and relaxation. One of many working attractions owned and run by the city’s internationally renowned university, this garden is a home to scientists working in fields as diverse as botany and experimental archaeology.
Families can enjoy crafts, minibeast hunts, teddy bears’ picnics and face-painting, with plenty of seasonal events for visitors of all ages.
Image credit: © Louisa E Taylor / Alamy
Durham City Golf Club
Durham city golf Club is one of England's oldest inland clubs having been inaugurated in the historic cathedral city in 1887. It is a traditional golf club with modern standards, taking a relaxed and welcoming stance to all members and visitors. The course offers a challenge for golfers of all abilities; the subtly sloped greens and gentle terrain make it a testing but always enjoyable challenge.
Top Gear Indoor Karting
Based on the edge of the city, Top Gear Indoor Karting can be reached by a 2 minute taxi ride, or by a 20 minute walk from the city centre. This is a great activity for anyone from 8 years and above. An enjoyable and reasonably priced day out whenever you choose to go. Frequented by students and families in the week, and by hen and stag dos at the weekend; Top Gear Indoor Karting is never a dull day out.
Take a trip to the oldest Brewery in Durham and learn about beer history, beer culture and the way they make and perfect their Beer. Tours of Durham Brewery can be arranged and take around 2 hours.
Durham Climbing Centre
Durham Climbing Centre is a modern, vibrant venue for rock climbing in Durham City. The Centre has over 6500sq ft of climbing under one roof. The climbing areas are suitable for age 3 years upwards and cater for beginners to very advanced. Spectators and climbers can relax in the comfortable coffee lounge and viewing gallery or have a game of table tennis in between climbing the various challenges on offer.
Durham City AFC
Football fans should pay a visit to the New Ferens Park stadium to catch a match by Northern Football League Division One team Durham City AFC. Visit the website for details of upcoming fixtures: www.durhamcityafc.com
Fury Events Multi Activity Centre
Located just 2 miles from Durham City Centre, Fury Events offer a host of adrenaline pumping activities including Quad Biking, Clay Pigeon Shooting, 4x4 Off Roading, Archery, and Mud Buggying. With so many activities, Fury Events will keep even the most hardened Adrenaline Junkies a run for their money.
Prince Bishop River Cruiser
Luxury river cruiser seating 150. One hour cruises giving views of cathedral, castle and 5 bridges. The commentary includes history, natural history and geography.
North of England Trike Tours
North of England trike tours offer guests the chance to experience the North's best countryside, coastline and cities on board their 1400 cc 3-seater chauffeured trike. Taking a chauffeured trike tour with North of England trike tours is an experience like no other. Since 2012, Trike Tours have also started hotel pick up's from Durham city, and can offer you tours of the highest pub in England, Local Breweries, Hadrians Wall, The Durham Dales, Durham City, and many many more places. Just find a place in the North, and Trike Tours will take you there providing their unrivalled local knowledge on the way.Buy tickets