Perched atop a hill in the city centre, you’ll find Durham Cathedral, dating back to 1133. You’ll find a wealth of places to stay in its shadows, among the university buildings and cosy student cafes. And if you’re willing to take a short trip out of the city, luxury and splendour await. Check out our pick of the best hotels near Durham Cathedral and book with Culture Trip.
Durham may be on the petite side for an English city, but it punches well above its weight when it comes to historic charm. Its ancient cathedral and castle are easily reached by following your nose through the city’s network of age-old alleyways and cobblestone lanes. After a day exploring this World Heritage site, retire to one of our favourite hotels to put your feet up and relax.
Hotel Indigo has brought its brand of buzzy cool to this grand Victorian civic building. Not that it’s done away with the period charm: decorative columns, original tiling and the domed ceiling of the Rotunda Bar all add splendour to the hip design. You’ll also find a Marco Pierre White restaurant on-site, serving English and French classics in the circular former council chamber. You’re away from the tourist hubbub, but a mere 10-minute walk from the cathedral.
Tucked between pretty Wharton Park and Flass Vale woodland reserve, this historic pub with rooms sits in a quiet spot, just a 15-minute stroll from Durham Cathedral. Find a table in the friendly bar or beer garden, and tuck into a generous plate of seasonal pub grub. The choice of comfortable, unfussy rooms includes family options with a king and sofa bed. Make the most of the free on-site parking, a rarity in central Durham.
There’s a modern opulence about this Georgian townhouse hotel, a short walk along Old Elvet to Durham city centre. The striking rooms are all individually themed: some have generous bespoke baths, while others boast private covered hot tubs overlooking the city’s perfectly manicured cricket ground. The lavish hotel restaurant serves American-style smokehouse food, as well as afternoon teas and hearty Sunday roasts.
Forty Winks Guest House and Residence
Courtesy of Forty Winks Guest House and Residence / Expedia
Eccentric elegance is the order of the day at this family-run Edwardian guesthouse. From its extravagant suites to its stylish doubles, all the rooms have king-sized beds and crisp white linen. Book one of those at the front for splendid cathedral views. Downstairs, you’ll find the dining room, decorated with a theatrical mix of kooky collectables and ruby-red wallpaper. Pull up an antique upholstered chair and devour a breakfast of poached eggs with zingy avocado smash.
Wrapped in a 350-acre (141ha) estate, just over 3mi (4.8km) east of Durham Cathedral, Ramside Hall spoils guests with abundant distractions. Practise your shots at one of its two golf courses, or unwind in the spa’s large hydrotherapy pool before dining in one of four restaurants. Rooms are generously sized, although staying in one of the three-bedroomed stilted treehouses – with their wraparound balconies and free-standing copper bathtubs – makes for an indulgent escape.
It’s only a couple of minutes’ walk across the Medieval, stone-arched Elvet Bridge from here to the heart of the city. The Marriott’s signature contemporary style is warmed by smudgy greys and pinks in the bedrooms, some of which look over historic rooftops to the cathedral beyond. There’s a fitness centre on site, as well as a stylish coffee shop and restaurant. The terrace, meanwhile, is the perfect spot for a craft beer after a day’s exploring.
Want to escape the city but still stay close to the action? This Grade II-listed hall is now a fetching hotel with well-proportioned rooms, a self-catering apartment and a four-bed villa. Outside, the 18 acres (7ha) of gardens and woodland merge with the estate farmland, meaning you can stride across swathes of scenic countryside. Rise for a cooked breakfast made from local produce, served in the elegant dining room or brought to your bedroom door. From here, it’s a 15-minute drive to Durham’s historic centre.
A picture-book Medieval castle with towering battlements and thick stone walls, Lumley Castle is set aside tranquil parkland. The exterior splendour is matched inside, where you’ll find bedrooms adorned with opulent wallpapers and rich, dark fabrics. Indulge in a spot of afternoon tea in the cosy Library Bar or save yourself for a candlelit dinner in the atmospheric Knight’s Restaurant. Durham is a 15-minute drive away.