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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.