Durham City Tourist Information

Situated thirteen miles to the southwest of Sunderland is the beautiful city of Durham, voted “Best City in the United Kingdom” by the readers of Condé Nast’s Traveller magazine. With arguably the most extraordinary cityscapes in the country, this picturesque city with its impressive Norman Cathedral, scenic riverside paths and meandering cobbled roads is undeniably one of the most attractive cultural destinations in the North of England.

A veritable haven for history buffs, Durham is home to over 560 listed conservation buildings, including the spectacular Durham Castle, home to the foundation college of Durham University since the 1800s. Originally commissioned by King William the Conqueror in the late 11th century, the castle building possesses a fascinating history and now houses a unique museum within the working college that is available to view by guided tour.

For museum lovers, the castle is not the only treat Durham has to offer. The renowned Oriental Museum, the only one of its kind in the North, showcases a fantastic collection of archaeology and art from Asia all the way to North Africa, and the Old Fulling Mill Museum of Archaeology displays items from across Europe and, particularly, the North-East of England, providing an introduction into the local and regional way of life.

The famous Crook Hall and Gardens, once visited by the likes of Wordsworth and Ruskin, is situated in four acres of delightful greenery, including an extensive orchard and a maze. Appreciators of flora would also love The World of Trees Arboretum and Houghall Gardens, used often in training horticulturists, and the Botanic Garden at Durham University, which houses plants from tropical and arid climes, set within eighteen acres of cultivated gardens.

For a more entertainment or activity based experience of Durham, visit the Gala Theatre and Cinema, a first-class theatre, seating up to five hundred and host to a wide range of dramas, musicals and comedy acts each year. Families and more active individuals can enjoy a day at the Durham Climbing Centre, which has over 6500 square feet of indoor adult and children rock climbing walls, guaranteeing an invigorating and fun-filled day regardless of the weather.

With something to entertain the whole family, Durham is also renowned for its bustling Victorian indoor market, offering a one-of-a-kind informal shopping experience alongside excellent goods from many local tradesmen. If the high street is more to your taste, Durham’s lively city centre also boasts many high-street fashion shops, local boutiques, cafes and eateries to satiate both your shopping and actual appetites.

Interesting fact: The city’s name is derived from Old English dun, and Old Norse holme, combining to mean “hilly island”, an apt name for the undulating Durham peninsula.

Things to see and do around Durham City:

Crook Hall and Gardens
DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery
Durham Castle
Durham Cathedral
Durham Climbing Centre
Durham Indoor Market
Durham University Botanic Garden
Gala Theatre and Cinema
Old Fulling Mill Museum of Archaeology
Oriental Museum
The World of Trees Arboretum and Houghall Gardens
Seaham Hall Hotel and Spa