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Tourist Places To Visit In Durham

Planning A Trip To Durham? Here's our list of top tourist places to visit in Durham

Durham’s historic past has transformed a little over the last 200 years. The city is made of a promontory that includes the palace green, cathedral, earlier administrative structures for the Durham Castle and the Palatine. The old marketable part of the city embraces the peninsula on three sides in line with the River Wear, and after extensive refurbishment and alterations by the Victorians, the castle walls were taken down. The remote commercial section of Durham, witnessed a lot of changes in the 1960s, especially around the North Road area, with just a few age-old buildings that remain, that include Gregorian structures on the Bailey and the Old Elvet, which makes for colleges in the Durham University. Here’s a list of tourist places to visit, when you visit Durham.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://www.flickr.com

Usually referred to as the Durham Cathedral and St. Cuthbert’s shrine, this church is located in Durham City and seats the Bishop of Durham, who’s the 4th ranked cardinal in Church of England’s hierarchy. Durham Cathedral’s set on a rugged peninsula with the medieval city clustered below, making it a dominating site to travelers on the East Coast’s rail line and one of the most stunning sights in Europe. Inside the cathedral, the nave, which is a long rectangular space, was built by stonemasons and is known to being the world’s first physical arch, created to resolve the engineering challenges of safely constructing a stone domed ceiling across a large space. The Norman Pillars are gigantic carved columns with the same height and circumference that support the gorgeous nave.


The Quire is the core of the Cathedral, which has been used in reverence every day for the last 900 years! The High Alter is the highlight and the most sacred place in the entire cathedral, where only the ordained ministry’s allowed, before the Neville Screen. The cathedral’s a lovely place to pray, revere or indulge in quiet reflection. Near the Cathedral, the Palace Green Library exhibits treasures from across the globe and ancient eras.

Durham Castle

Durham Castle:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://www.flickr.com/alanhowe

A Norman castle in the city of Durham, which has been occupied by the University College since 1840, the Durham Castle is open to visitors only through guided tours, on account of its ongoing constructions and residence to over 100 students. Built at William the Conqueror’s behest in the 1070s, the Castle began its journey as a motte & bailey citadel and soon transformed into a palace that showcased the wealth of the Prince-Bishops.


Through its guided tours, you’d discover the Castle Collections that highlight the castle, Durham’s Prince-Bishops and the University of Durham with specific reference to the University College. Most of the collection includes fine art with sculptures, engravings and oil paintings, decorative art that has a variety of silverware, woodwork & furniture, ceramics and glass items and some other essential parts of the castle’s architecture.

Durham University Botanic Garden

Durham University Botanic Garden:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://www.flickr.com/kendo1938

Spanning 25 acres of ripe woodlands in the southern outskirts of Durham City is the Durham University Botanic Garden which offers a wide selection of landscapes to sightsee and explore with its alpine garden, bamboo grove, winter garden, the wildflower meadow, glass houses and the recently established woodland garden. A guided tour of the Botanic Garden will introduce you to the history behind it, become familiar with the flora and fauna, the varied wildlife and its conservation, in addition to the different ongoing scientific projects and research in the garden. 

Crook Hall & Gardens

Crook Hall & Gardens:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk

With a rich history and a fascinating legacy, Crook Hall’s structure is adorned with awe-inspiring characters that include romantic poets, infamous ghosts, medieval knights and ale merchants. The 13th-century hall provides a stunning backdrop to some of the most picturesque gardens that have visitors from across the globe spell-bound and captivated in its tranquil English Gardens. Enjoy homemade tea with cream in the gorgeous courtyard or in the Gregorian dining room in front of a log fire. All the gardens here have their own past and personalities, with some of them in existence for over several decades, and some being relatively new.

Finchale Priory

Finchale Priory:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://www.flickr.com

Also known as the Finchale Abbey, the Finchale Priory is a 13th century Benedictine Monastery, the remnants of which lie by the River Wear, 4 miles from the city of Durham. Founded in 1196, established in a beautiful wooded setting, the priory was a station for the Durham Cathedral and then operated as a vacation sanctuary for Durham’s monks till its overthrow in 1538.

Oriental Museum

Oriental Museum:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com

A gallery for the University of Durham, and earlier known as the Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art & Architecture, the Oriental Museum holds more than 23,500 artifacts from Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, Japanese, Korean and other far east countries. It is the only gallery in North England that houses artifacts and archeological treasures from Asia and North Africa.


The Oriental Museum enjoys international associations and holds multiple projects with universities and museums across Asia at Durham University. Over the last 50 years, the objective of the museum has changed from just working on archeology to anthropology, conducting teaching and research on geography or theology, to meeting the needs of visitors that include over 33,000 people each year. 

Palace Green

Palace Green:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com

Originally a city market and now an area of grass at the heart of Durham, bordered by Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, the Palace Green was added to the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. You’ll find a variety of structures from different eras, most of which are an essential part of the legacy and privileges of the Durham Prince Bishops and include Cosin’s Hall, Cosin’s Almshouse, the Music School, the Palace Green Library and the Moneyer’s Garth. 

Durham Museum & Heritage Center

Durham Museum & Heritage Center:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://www.flickr.com//gittav

The Durham Museum and Heritage Center are symbolic of Durham City’s history from the medieval era to the present day, situated in an unwanted church in close proximity to the Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle. The museum exhibits the origins and evolution of the city of Durham with a display of some fascinating objects, illustrating the routine life, social environment and lost trade practices and industries from Durham’s history. A new addition to the collection is a pair of panels in stained glass that highlight Cecily de Neville and Richard Duke of York (Parents of Richard III) from the Brancepeth Castle. 

Prebends Bridge

Prebends Bridge:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://i.pinimg.com

In addition to the Framwellgate and Elvet bridges, the Prebends Bridge is one of the 3 stone arch bridges at the heart of Durham, over the River Wear. Considered one of Durham’s most visited location, on account of the picturesque sights it has to offer of the wooded riverbank and Durham Cathedral, the Prebends Bridge was built during 1772-1778, and was once a private road for the Chapter & Dean of Durham, through the Watergate between South Bailey and Quarryheads Lane. 

Bishop Middleham Quarry

Bishop Middleham Quarry:  Tourist Places To Visit In Durham
Photograph by https://www.flickr.com/16155010@N04

An abandoned mine, 4 km from the North-West side of Sedgefield, the Bishop Middleham Quarry is a site of significant scientific concern, popular nationally for the vegetation it supports. The quarry invites both forest bird species and farmland birds and is renowned for the breeding of European Bee-eaters in 2002. With a variety of some unusual species that thrive on the thin limestone soil, there is an assortment of orchard species that include common spotted, fragrant & bee orchid, pyramidal, dark red helleborines of the rare category, blue moor grass, fairy flax and autumn gentian. The Quarry also attracts a considerable number of butterflies of varied kinds.

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