Durham

Has anyone traveled to Durham? I happened across the website for the Cathedral at Durham and then began reading about the area and thought it sounded like a great place to visit. I would be interested in learning about the experience of others who have visited Durham. Also, suggestions for places to stay would be welcomed.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3314 posts

I loved Durham Cathedral. I didn't spend a lot of time there, but I could have. It's beautifully situated. My great grandfather went to university there and it still is a university town, Pam

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1057 posts

If you like Bill Bryson, he has written glowingly about the cathedral and he used to be chancellor at the university there.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2391 posts

LOVE Durham! Probably the most picturesque cathedral views in Europe. The cathedral itself is not as stunning and majestic as some others, but the views from along the river paths below are wonderful. The town is small and has little else major to offer a tourist. You can easily spend a half day there and see everything, or spend a night if you wish.

Posted by Kathleen
Camano Island, WA, usa
331 posts

I loved the Cathedral at Durham. Each column of the Nave has a different design. Both St. Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede are interned there in a side chapel. The Venerable Bede is credited with being the first English Historian.
He wrote up the "miracles" of St. Cuthbert so he could become a saint. Read these before you go;they are quite entertaining. The Cathedral was also featured in the film "Elizabeth" (tho not as it's self). Durham is pretty close to one end of Hadrian's Wall which is well worth your time.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
674 posts

We loved Durham, spent four nights there a year ago. The cathedral is mostly Norman but with some Perpendicular (late) Gothic in the apse, remarkable architecture, one of the oldest in England. Our guide (tour highly recommended) showed us the new Millenium window and pointed out that it was installed not to commemorate the year 2000 but the cathedral's own millenium (996-1996 I think). Beautiful cloister and we were lucky enough to hear a Bach concert one evening in the chapter house, which isn't normally open. Only drawback is no interior photography but that's a drawback for photographers and perhaps a blessing to everyone else. The building sits on a bluff overlooking a horseshoe bend of the River Wear and next to the oldest college of Durham University (also worth a student-led tour), surrounded by parks and university buildings. The old town, inside the river bend, is charming and full of pubs and good food, with an outdoor market. We stayed at the Radisson Blu hotel just across the river and to the north, a few minutes' walk charmless but very comfortable (food not recommended though) and overlooking the river. Durham is a good base for exploring Hadrian's Wall, an easy day trip to places like Housesteads and Vindolanda. Nearby Hexham has a very interesting old church with Roman work in the crypt. Durham is also close to Newcastle with easy trains, though we didn't go there. The city, cathedral, and Hadrian's Wall were probably our favorite sights in the north of England.