Durham

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Durham is a stunning cathedral city in the heart of the north east of England.  Not only does this city boast a beautiful cathedral there is also a fabulous castle and some amazing old university buildings. With the river running lazily through its centre it is a modern city with a very firm grasp on the past. The pretty cobbled streets are a reminder of the city’s medieval past, and from atop the steep hill the cathedral and the castle stands proud against the skyline. The city of Durham has been billed as one of the very best cultural and historic destination in the whole of the UK, and with the castle being designated a World Heritage Site things should stay just as perfect as they are for some time to come.

Photo by Glen Bowman
Photo by Glen Bowman

A Timeless City

As you stand on the old stone bridge that crosses the river you will see rowers from the university teams, and those in search of some fun on the water sharing their route with the ducks and swans that live along the riverbank. There are some very interesting and pretty walks that take you along the riverside, through shaded tree lined pathways where you can see the old stonework of the Cathedral and the other ancient buildings that line the river.

For all this is an ancient town, it also has a youthfulness to it, due in part to the students from the university that make the city their home.  There are plenty of cafes and bars that overlook the river where you can spend a lazy hour or two between wandering around the winding streets exploring some truly unique shops and boutiques and there is also a purpose built indoor shopping arcade featuring all of the usual high street stores, so there is plenty to keep you occupied in between visiting the galleries and museums.

A Wealth of Experiences

As you walk up to the quadrangle to visit the cathedral you can almost feel the atmosphere change around you.  With the imposing cathedral taking up the whole of one side of the square, ancient university buildings lining either side and the castle on the final side of the square, the air here is somehow still and you automatically assume hushed tones as you enter the quad. The sounds of the city seem to disappear and everything is peaceful.

The cathedral itself is spectacular, with its iconic door knocker that was used by those seeking sanctuary across the centuries. The castle is open to the public, although it does close occasionally in part to hold private functions. Durham university has an incredible oriental Museum that is worthy of a visit too, and if the calm of the quad is just a little too peaceful, you may enjoy the relaxing ambience of Crook Hall and its wonderful gardens.

Diverse Entertainment

After a day exploring the city and its wonderful artisan stores and gourmet food outlets you may be in the mood for some entertainment. Within the city and in reasonably close proximity to each other you are offered the choice of theatre shows and comedy venues, fabulous restaurants that offer intimate dining experiences, trendy bars and traditional public houses as well as an art house cinema. Durham is a city of history, culture and entertainment that outshines many other places in the UK. Of course should you just wish to relax of an evening the city boasts some incredible hotels offering wonderful river views, many of them having been converted from some of the original houses that line the streets here, some of them Jacobean in origin.

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