There are four areas to explore in Durham City, and not all of them are museum-packed destinations – and there is so much more to see here.
Along with its world-famous museums, UNESCO-listed castles and cathedrals, the city of Durham offers much more than it seems. In fact, some tourists may surprise that Durham is not just a city, but an entire region divided into four areas, namely Durham City, The Durham Coast, Vales of Durham and Durham Dales.
This makes Durham City a true hidden gem in Europe that most tourists only pass by by mistake. But if you can manage to stop and stay a bit longer, you’ll find that Durham City is more than just museums, which is why it’s worth it.
8 Durham City
Yes, the city itself is already a treat for those who want to take a break from Durham as the places to see are just close to each other and can be walked around. It boasts of a great bar scene and fantastic restaurants aimed at the college population that stays here. Plus, if you’re short on time, the city’s UNESCO attractions will already fill a few days of your itinerary.
The banks of Durham are also the perfect place to stroll, boating and having a coffee, as the town is located next to River Wear.
7 Durham Cathedral
UNESCO has added new sites to its World Heritage list. Among one of UNESCO’s World Heritage lists is Durham Cathedral – and it should be because they are arguably the largest cathedrals you’ll ever see. What is more astonishing is that this cathedral, as grand as it is, was only built 40 years ago, and is still proud today. Durham Cathedral also serves as the burial place of Saint Cuthbert to whom the building was dedicated.
The cathedral is made up of many divisions – the side rooms (which are now a museum), the main hall, the tower, and many beautiful cloisters that can be seen in films such as Harry Potter.
6 Durham Castle
This palace once transformed into a university is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Built in 1072 by King William the Conqueror, it has a long and diverse history and has also been home to many popular figures such as the Prince Bishops of Durham.
Inside you’ll find the Great Dining Room, extravagant suites used by bishops, a decorative chapel, underground sculptures, and an artifact museum that lines the hallways. But probably the best thing you can do when visiting Durham Castle is that during student vacations you can rent not only the dormitories but also the lavish castle rooms.
Beamish, also known as the Living Museum of the North, is possibly the best museum you’ll ever set foot in. It is home to many interactive experiences, which will make your visit here worth the effort. Immersing yourself completely in the history of England will not be a problem in the Beamish as you will see it come to life in front of you. realistic experience, the actors act out in the stages with interactive elements that make this museum a place to be enjoyed for adults and children alike.
4 Raby Castle
What makes Raby Castle unique compared to other castles in Durham is that it is privately owned, meaning it is not part of English heritage run by the government. Set in the rolling green hills of Durham Dales, the place will remind you of Scotland for its lochs and greenery. Add to that a large lake that reflects the entirety of the castle like in a mirror and deer trotting in the garden, Raby’s castle will surely be hard to miss.
3 The Bowes Museum
The Bowes Museum can often be confused by first-time tourists with a palace or castle. Built in the 19th century by John Bowes, this building is actually a gift to his wife Joséphine who is a French actress. The couple are the product of a long distance relationship and due to their busy lives, unfortunately, both did not see the museum completed in their lifetime.
Inside the Bowes Museum you will find a large collection of the bride and groom as their art collections, personal treasures and some exhibits, the most popular being the Silver Swan, which is one of the few 18th century automata still in use. every 14 hours every day.
2 Barnard Castle Old Market Town
If you are coming from the Bowes Museum in the direction of Raby Castle, you can stop briefly in the old market town of Barnard Castle. The walk will take you back to the past, as the city is full of old-fashioned pubs, hungry cafes and brick-built shops. Behind the town you’ll see the ruins of Barnard Castle or what’s left of it.
1 Bishop Auckland
Named after the Bishop of Durham, this beautiful Old Town market is home to an old-fashioned cafe named The Auckland Cupcake Co. which is still frequented by foodie holidaymakers. Local produce can also be found here through the small shops that surround the area. Bishop Auckland is managed by the Auckland Project, tasked with transforming the city into the tourist destination it once was.
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