When visiting a new city, sometimes the rigid tour guides just don’t cut it. Why not take the city of Durham
into your own hands and explore its nature, history and culture? Read on to discover some of the top attractions in this north-eastern city.
The River Wear
Stretching 96km, the River Wear rises through the Pennines and flows through County Durham, looping through the city, lacing it with natural beauty. Thanks to community support and river conservationists, the River Wear is thriving, allowing this stretch of water to sustain wildlife and support the community. Why not follow the River Wear through Durham City Centre, and see where it takes you?
A great day out for the whole family, Wharton Park has more than 4.3 hectares of lush greens, exciting play areas, community gardens and so much more. Just north of the city centre, this park is a breath of fresh air form the hustle and bustle of the city. Having recently undergone a £3 million renovation, there’s no better time to visit!
Wharton Park, Framwellgate Peth, Durham DH1 4RR, United Kingdom
In 1072, under the instruction of William the Conqueror, Durham Castle was constructed after the Norman Conquest of England, and it still stands today. It is now the home of University College, but visitors can also take tours. Durham Castle is the centre point of the county’s history, making this World Heritage site a must see.
Durham Castle, Durham University, Old Elvet, Durham, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 191 334 2000
This space is for those who love the charm of independent venues and who enjoy supporting local art and music. Empty Shop has seen 130,000 visitors, 2,500 artists and 750 events since opening in 2008. The organisation provides a platform for local artists to exhibit and produce works whilst encouraging visitors to also engage with art. Be sure to check their website for upcoming events.
Empty Shop, 35c, Framwellgate Bridge, Durham, United Kingdom
Old Cinema Launderette
One of the very few places where you can wash your clothes, grab a drink and watch a musician perform! The Old Cinema Launderette keeps in line with the trendy 50s theme, a living tribute to its former function as a cinema during 1928-1958. For upcoming gigs, be sure to check their website.
Old Cinema Launderette, 38 Marshall Terrace, Gielsgate Moor, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 191 384 1412
Step back in time at this highly interactive and immersive museum that gives visitors insight into north-east England in the early 19th and 20th centuries, with a featured exhibit on life in the 1950s. Beamish Museum has preserved the revolution of industry throughout this time, allowing visitors to explore a whole village, colliery, a farm and train station with insightful talks with townsfolk along the way.
Beamish Museum, Beamish, Durham DH9 0RG, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 191 370 4000
Museum of Archaeology
Ranging from the prehistoric to the post-medieval, the Museum of Archaeology focuses on items from north-east England, excavated by Durham University’s Department of Archaeology. Since moving to the Palace Green Library from Durham University in 2014, the collection has grown and is better preserved—even more reason to uncover some of Durham’s history.
Museum of Archaeology, Palace Green Library, Durham, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 191 334 2932
A focal point of Durham, the cathedral played an important part in its history. Durham Cathedral was the final resting place of St Cuthbert, who died in 687 AD, making it grounds for religious pilgrimage in medieval England. Guests can now discover the treasures of St Cuthbert, explore its breath-taking architecture and take part in seasonal events.
Durham Cathedral, The College, Durham, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 191 386 4266