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The Most Beautiful Buildings in Durham, England
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The Most Beautiful Buildings in Durham, England

Picture of Richard Franks
Freelance Travel & Music Writer
Updated: 1 November 2017
Durham is one of the most historical cities in England. This picturesque north east city is home to a wonderful array of beautiful buildings, including medieval castles and notable cathedrals. Read on to discover some of the most aesthetic architecture in the city.

Durham Cathedral

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Duke chapel in durham NC
Duke chapel in durham NC | © Arvind Balaraman / Shutterstock

Durham Cathedral

Standing proud since AD 1903, Durham’s Cathedral is one of the finest in the country and is globally regarded as one of the most impressive pieces of Norman architecture still standing today. In 1986, along with the nearby castle, the Cathedral became a World Heritage Site, further cementing its importance. Durham Cathedral was also once voted the best building in Britain by BBC Radio 4’s listeners.

The College, Durham, UK

Durham Cathedral | © hit thatswitch/Flickr

Durham Cathedral | © hit thatswitch/Flickr

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Durham Castle

Built over a four-year period from 1072 following a demand from William Conqueror, Durham Castle is another superb example of Norman architecture. The castle, which sits the other side of Palace Green to the Cathedral, is now owned by Durham University and guided tours are available.

Durham Castle, Durham, UK

Durham Castle

Durham Castle | © Carla Brain/Flickr

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Palace Green Library

A visit to Durham’s Palace Green Library is well recommended. Their exhibitions, packed with history and charm, tell stories of Durham’s past and houses University archives and early literature. The library itself is in fact a group of buildings that have been standing since the 15th-century, with each building having its own charm and character that should be explored.

Palace Green, Durham, UK

Palace Green Library, Durham

Palace Green Library, Durham | © Gareth Milner/Flickr

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Beamish Museum

One of the most famous museums in the country, Beamish tells the story of North East England life during the 1820s, 1900s & 1940s. Originally an army camp of huts, this museum gives a fascinating insight in to life as early as the 19th-century, with plenty of rebuilt buildings and monuments to explore.

Regional Resource Centre, Beamish, Durham, UK

Tram at the Beamish Museum | © Draco2008:Flickr

Beamish Museum buildings | © Draco2008/Flickr

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Raby Castle

Nestled amongst more than 200 acres of deer park, Raby Castle is a gem in County Durham’s countryside. Built in the late 14th century, this historic castle spans medieval, Victorian, Georgian and Regency periods, making it one of the most celebrated and finely preserved castles in the country. Though not in the city of Durham itself, this is definitely worth the trip across the county.

Staindrop, Darlington, County Durham, UK

Raby Castle, County Durham

Raby Castle, County Durham | © Jake Cook/Flickr

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Egglestone Abbey

An abandoned monestry, this charismatic set of ruins founded in the late 12th century sits proudly atop a small hill, on a bend in the River Tees. Though its historic elements are prevalent, most of the monastic features were removed when the Abbey was later turned in to a farmworkers’ dwellings. For those wishing to make a day of it, the beautiful Barnard Castle is a 40-minute walk from the Abbey.

Bowes, Durham, County Durham, UK

Eaglestone Abbey in England

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Bowes Museum

Bowes Museum is a French chateau-style building possessing mass grandiose, with its imposing renaissance style architecture. Standing proud in the County Durham town of Barnard Castle, Bowes Museum was built as a purpose-built art gallery in the 1890s for John Bowes and his wife, the Countess of Montalbo. The museum now houses a nationally renowned art collection.

Newgate, Barnard Castle, County Durham, UK

Bowes Museum, County Durham

Bowes Museum, County Durham | © Colin Gregory/Flickr